Game Preview: Utah Jazz preparing for potential NBA Finals preview? – The J Notes - Techy Hunters


Saturday, November 6, 2021

Game Preview: Utah Jazz preparing for potential NBA Finals preview? – The J Notes

At 7-1, the Utah Jazz boast the NBA’s highest winning percentage (87.5), and they show no signs of slowing down. Last night, the team pulled out an impressive victory over the Atlanta Hawks in the absence of star guard Donovan Mitchell.

They’ll face one of their biggest tests of the season to-date tomorrow night in a contest with the Miami Heat. For their part, the Heat sputtered against a motivated Boston Celtics last night, losing 95-78 and dropping to 6-2 on the season. Utah Jazz fans would be doing themselves a disservice to overreact to a single outcome: this Heat team is dangerous.

Utah Jazz vs Miami Heat by the numbers

Both of these teams have built success so far this season on the back of strong two-way play. The Utah Jazz rank second in the NBA in Offensive Rating at 114.16, with the Heat finishing fifth in that category at 112.43. That number is particularly frightening when considering that the team posted a 78-point dud last night.

On the defensive end, it’s the Heat that claim a moderate advantage in this matchup. They have the second best Defensive Rating in the NBA at 100.09. The Jazz placed right behind them at third in Defensive Rating with an 101.17 mark.

Placing within the top 5 in both Offensive and Defensive Rating is a time-tested hallmark of NBA Finals participants. That’s what makes Saturday night’s matchup a potential Finals preview. This will not be a contest that sees one team leaning into any particular advantage or another: instead, we’ll see two veterans teams trying to execute as sharply as possible for 48 minutes.

The Utah Jazz need to initiate a three-point shootout vs Heat

If there is a significant advantage that the Utah Jazz boast over the Miami Heat, it begins 23.75 feet away from the basket. The Jazz have one of the most three-point dominant attacks in the NBA. This season, they’re second in the league in attempts per game at 42.3. The Heat prefer a more moderate approach to three-point volume, as they rank 23rd in attempts per game at 32.8 per contest.

In terms of accuracy, the Heat shoot a 14th ranked 34.4% from three-point range, and the Utah Jazz are shooting a 22nd ranked 33.1%. The Jazz’s modest accuracy hasn’t stopped them from unloading their three-point clip, and it shouldn’t on Saturday either. With the second best Offensive Rating in the NBA, the Jazz are putting the principle that three-point volume begets efficiency into good practice.

The Heat are a proficient squad when it comes to guarding the three-point line. Opponents are shooting 31.7% against them from deep, which is the fourth best mark in the league. Inconveniently for Heat fans, the Utah Jazz pace the entire NBA in that category at 26.5%. When crunching the numbers on both ends of the floor, it’s clear that the Jazz have every incentive to incite a three-point war with the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Utah Jazz vs Miami Heat: A marquee matchup at the 5

Both of these teams boast a deep cast of extremely talented NBA players. When it comes to assessing the key positional matchup, however, fans should look directly at the 5.

Bam Adebayo is one of the most interesting players in the NBA. At 6’9 and 255 pounds, he has the mobility to guard multiple positions for the Miami Heat while also adequately protecting the rim. He’s averaging 19.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game in 2021-22.

Surprisingly, the Heat big man is averaging a mere 1.9 assists per contest thus far, a significant drop-off from the 5.4 helpers per game he earned last season. Nonetheless, we know he’s capable of functioning as a playmaker. Will he try to leverage his superior quickness to attack Gobert from the perimeter, freeing up the paint for his Heat teammates?

On the other hand, Gobert has a clear advantage over Adebayo in length. While we’ve just advocated for the Jazz to unleash a flurry of three-point attempts, they must also be sure to look for Gobert inside out of pick-and-roll sets: Bam Adebayo doesn’t have the length to stop him inside, and neither does any rotation player on the Miami Heat.

The center position in Saturday night’s matchup will provide fans with a clash between two vastly different NBA stars.

This contest between the Utah Jazz and the Miami Heat is an inter conference matchup between two of the league’s most well-oiled machines. If all continues to go according to plan for each club, it may even be an NBA Finals preview.

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