Oklahoma City Thunder

Stop Leaving Joe Ingles Wide Open…And Two Other Things Oklahoma City Needs To Do

M. Hofeld

matthofeld

Something has happened with Joe Ingles since the first two games of Oklahoma City’s playoff series against Utah. Oh yeah….the Thunder have quit guarding him for some reason.

Utah’s sharp-shooting small forward has caught fire as of late, blistering OKC for an average of 20.5 points in games three and four…mostly because he was left wide open in the corner in both games.

Ingles sparked Utah’s offense in Game Three, helping the Jazz to outscore Oklahoma City 36-23 in the second quarter. You’d would think that would be enough to put him on Utah’s defensive radar, assuming they have one, but it absolutely wasn’t.

Utah turned a 30-24 first quarter deficit into a 58-52 halftime lead in Game Four thanks to a 34-22  second quarter advantage. Ingles was once again the catalysts in the Jazz making a run, ultimately finishing with 20 points on 5-11 shooting from 3-point range.

Here’s the problem with Ingles. Donovan Mitchell has been an unstoppable force, Rudy Gobert has been dominating inside, and Derek Favors is getting the best of Carmelo Anthony. That makes Joe Ingles the forgotten man, and possibly the biggest key to the Jazz taking control of the series.

It’s a pick your poison type of situation. Paul George has been required multiple times to help on defense and, in doing so, he’s losing sight of Ingles. The Thunder must find a way to keep better tabs on the Aussie, even if it means less help from George.

Figure Out The Pick And Roll

The Thunder need to both figure out how to run it and how to defend it. Running it requires a little patience and, to this point, Russell Westbrook has shown any.

Rudy Gobert chasing Adams down the lane is a part of the hindrance for Westbrook to pull the trigger on the pick and roll but, as I’ve been saying since Game One, the Thunder must attack Utah at the rim.

Defending the pick and roll has been even more difficult for Oklahoma City. It literally looks too easy when the Jazz run it.  Look how far Derrick Favors get under the basket before getting fed the ball.

Maintain Composure

Composure

I think we can leave this one here without further comment.

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