The Jazz got off to a rough start offensively this season. They still haven’t figured out everything.
But when this shot is falling, it feels a lot better.
During its win over the Warriors last night, Utah had a pass deflected into the backcourt. That left Mike Conley only a couple seconds to make something happen, and he delivered by sinking a 50-footer.
Best I can tell (shot-distance data is unreliable), this was the first made backcourt shot that wasn’t an end-of-quarter heave since Kyrie Irving in 2015:
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry touches live ball (video)
This hasn’t been a great year for NBA coaches staying out of the way.
First, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra – mistakenly believing a timeout had been called – went onto the court during play. He tried to run off, but he wasn’t quick enough to avoid a technical foul.
Then, last night, Rockets forward P.J. Tucker threw an off-target pass past James Harden. The ball rolled all the way to the backcourt and was headed out of bounds… when Pelicans coach Gentry stepped onto the court to scoop it up.
With 9:04 left in the game Monday night in Boston, Kristaps Porzingis picked up his fifth personal foul. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle subbed him out.
Porzingis never saw the floor again.
After a 1-of-11 shooting night when Porzingis had more fouls (five) than points (four), Carlisle went with what was working better against the Celtics and gave his team a chance to win. After the game, Porzingis was asked about being benched for crunch time and he was not blaming his coach. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
“Of course I want to be out there, but can’t blame him,” Porzingis said. “I wasn’t having a great game. I’m all-in for whatever’s best for the team. If the coach thinks he’d rather have me out and have someone else in that’s having a better game, let’s do it if we can win a basketball game. That’s the most important thing, but going forward, I want to make sure I’m out there.”
Porzingis has struggled to find his form to start the season — something that shouldn’t be a surprise for a guy who went 19 months without playing competitive basketball following his torn ACL. He’s averaging 18.3 points per game but is shooting just 40.1 percent overall (but 37.5 percent from three).
The issue has been consistency — he’s had nights like the 32 against Portland, but in games where Luka Doncic is dominating the ball, Porzingis has faded away rather than asserted himself into the contest. When he’s had smaller players switched onto him, he has not been an overpowering force, but rather has settled for jumpers over them (and he can shoot a jumper over almost anyone). He’s being a bit passive.
It’s far too early to have serious concerns about Porzingis — again, he just missed 19 months of competitive basketball. And development. Of course this was going to take time. However, if things don’t improve as the season moves along then Mavericks fans should start to worry a little. The Mavericks have gone all-in on the Doncic/Porzingis combo and need it to work.