No one on the Utah Jazz is using the word ”stop” when referring to what they’ll try to do to James Harden in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Wednesday night after the Houston Rockets‘ star scored 41 points in a Game 1 rout.
They’re simply searching for ways to slow him down a bit after he’s averaged almost 36 points a game in five meetings this season.
”He is a (heck) of a player so it’s going to be tough Joe Theismann Jersey , but we feel like we can just try to make it a bit tough on him for the whole (time) he’s out there,” Utah’s Joe Ingles said.
Harden made seven 3-pointers in Game 1, leaving the Jazz focused on limiting him from long range.
”Just make him a driver,” rookie Donovan Mitchell said. ”He loves getting back to that 3. They got comfortable in the first half and they went up 30. So just being able to make them uncomfortable and not let them dictate what we do on defense. Make sure we dictate what they do.”
Coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t concerned about anything that the Jazz might throw at Harden on Wednesday and believes the only thing that can keep Harden from a big game is, well, Harden.
”There’s no answer. He’s seen it all,” D’Antoni said. ”Now Cody Parkey Jersey , he might play bad and that’s because he’s human. But there’s nothing that you can conceivably come up with that can stop one of the best offensive players ever.”
Harden led the NBA in scoring in the regular season by averaging a career-high 30.4 points a game and ranks second behind LeBron James this postseason with 31 points a game.
Houston’s Trevor Ariza, a player known for his defense, has the task of guarding Mitchell in this series. He was asked what he would try if he had to guard Harden. There was a long pause before Ariza let out a loud sigh and said with a laugh: ”I’d figure out a way to slow him down.”
But the veteran is happy to be playing with Harden and not against him.
”I’m glad I don’t have that problem right now,” he said. ”I wouldn’t tell them what I think. I would let them try to figure it out on their own.”
The top-seeded Rockets expect to see a different team than they did in Game 1 after the Jazz had only about 36 hours between the end of Game 6 against the Thunder and the start of this series.
”I think a couple days’ rest will help them and we’ll get the best they’ve got,” D’Antoni said.
The Jazz refused to use fatigue as an excuse for their poor performance in Game 1, but they did admit that they were feeling better about this game with a little bit of rest. Mitchell said having two days to break down film and work on their game plan has also been beneficial.
Despite trailing by double digits for most of Sunday’s game, the Jazz don’t seemed daunted or discouraged entering Game 2.
”A lot of people have been hitting me up saying: ”Try to keep your head up. It’s only Game 1 http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/jaire-alexander-jersey ,”’ Mitchell said. ”And my head was never down. I don’t think any of our heads were ever down. It’s just one game out of a long series … I think being down 0-1 last series and seeing how we came back and responded definitely gives you a sense of more hope than if this would have been the opening round.”
The Jazz will try and even the series without starting point guard Ricky Rubio, who sat out Game 1 and is out indefinitely with a strained left hamstring. The Rockets believe Rubio’s absence changed things for Mitchell. He scored a playoff-high 38 points in Game 6 to lead Utah to the win before scoring 21, which were his fewest of the postseason, on Sunday.
”It makes Donovan handle the ball more than they would like,” Ariza said of Rubio’s injury. ”He’s their dominant scorer at this point so when he has to handle the ball and get everybody involved in the game it kind of takes away from him scoring the ball all the time or being aggressive all the time.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee right tackle Jack Conklin will start the season on the active roster after the Titans waived 35 players and placed two others on injured reserve to reach the NFL’s 53-man limit.
The Titans announced their roster moves Saturday, a couple hours before the league’s afternoon deadline.
Conklin tore his left ACL on Jan. 13 in a divisional playoff loss in New England http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/kendall-wright-jersey , and he spent the preseason on the physically unable to perform list, raising questions about how much of the season he might miss. By not starting the season on the PUP list, the tackle will be available whenever he’s deemed ready to play instead of sitting out the next six weeks.
“I would just say that Jack is progressing and doing well,” Vrabel said Friday.
Veteran Dennis Kelly filled in at right tackle for Conklin through the offseason and preseason. But the starting job is Conklin’s after he was the eighth draft pick overall in 2016 out of Michigan State before having an All-Pro rookie season . Conklin is just the fifth player to start his first 32 games as a draft pick of this franchise since 1999.
The Titans open the season Sept. 9 at Miami.
Coming off a second straight 9-7 season and the team’s first playoff victory in 14 years , the Titans currently have four undrafted rookies on the roster. Cameron Batson of Texas Tech is the sixth wide receiver and is joined by offensive lineman Aaron Stinnie of James Madison, linebacker Sharif Finch of Temple, and defensive end Matt Dickerson of UCLA.
The Titans waived offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/quintin-demps-jersey , a veteran signed this offseason to add experienced depth .
They also waived quarterback Luke Falk, who had been the fourth and final member of Tennessee’s small draft class . The QB from Washington State played the Titans’ final preseason game, a 13-3 loss to Minnesota, and Falk was 13 of 24 for 114 yards. But the Titans also added veteran Blaine Gabbert to back up Marcus Mariota.
Tennessee placed receiver Devin Ross and punter/kicker Austin Barnard on injured reserve. The Titans also waived undrafted rookie linebacker Robert Spillane, who led the team and ranked seventh in the NFL with 24 combined tackles this preseason.
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