LOS ANGELES — The Jazz held shootaround at a private residence in Bel Air ahead of their Game 2 playoff matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers. The assembled media spoke with Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood and head coach Quin Snyder.
It's certainly not technically a must-win game for Utah, after winning Game 1. But the Jazz feel like they have something to prove by winning Game 2 as well.
"That's been the message from coach the whole time: stay hungry," Rodney Hood said. "It's easy to get complacent when we accomplished something in Game 1 in LA, but we have another opportunity and we'll see what happens."
Hood was asked if the feeling of getting an upset in a Game 1 was similar to the feeling of getting an upset in the NCAA tournament.
"It's completely different," Hood said. "You have to be the better team to beat a team four times. In the NCAA, it's the better team that day, so it's a different feel, different intensity."
Gordon Hayward noted that he expected more from the Clippers than they faced in Game 1.
"We know they're going to be even more intense, more physical," Hayward said. "For us, we feel like it's a must-win too. We want to keep the pressure on."
Las Vegas sportsbooks have the Clippers favored to beat the Jazz by nine points last night, up three points from the six-point line of Game 1. Undoubtedly, Rudy Gobert being out and that the Clippers will need to win this game to stay close in the series were major factors.
Rodney Hood's role
Rodney Hood's started most of the season, but Joe Ingles usurped his spot late when Hood was coming back from injury. That being said, Hood's responsibilities when he's on the floor aren't any different.
"It's the same thing," Hood said. "I try to be aggressive when I'm out there with certain lineups. Sometimes it's a little bit harder to get into the flow. But it's the same thing, play hard defensively and try to be aggressive offensively."
And Snyder explained why he's playing Hood off the bench rather than in the starting lineup.
"A lot of that's just a response to Rodney's availability. If he's not able to play extended minutes, we don't have as many options as the game progresses, particularly late in the game."
Hood played 19 minutes in Game 1 and hasn't played over 30 minutes since March 8. I'd expect him to be used at about the same rate as in Game 1, unless he starts to catch fire. We've seen that from Hood before.
Controversial referee announced
The NBA announced the referees that will be officiating Game 2 in Los Angeles, and one name was a familiar sight to Jazz fans.
Kane Fitzgerald has become the target of the Jazz's ire after several games when they feel like he's officiated them poorly. After a January game against the Raptors when Fitzgerald was on the staff, Gobert said this:
Nine days later, Fitzgerald gave Snyder a technical foul after an expletive-laden rant caused by some questionable calls. It's not something Snyder does often; it was one of only two technicals he garnered this season.
"I'm not worried about it," Snyder said when asked about the officiating. "I just want us to play well. I think the officials ... the NBA is the hardest sport to officiate, and there's plenty of plays to focus on beyond a call."
It's more important to Snyder how his team handles the bad news.
"There's going to be calls that are questionable. Some of them, you look back and you were wrong," Snyder pointed out. "To me, it's more about how we handle adversity, and I think that's part of it. The challenge is for us to get to the next play."
Boris Diaw, most interesting man
Boris Diaw played a larger role than might have been expected in Game 1, finishing with seven points and six assists in 23 minutes. Due to Gobert's injury and foul trouble, he even played a few minutes at the center position, allowing the Jazz to space the floor.
"I think Boris has a settling impact. The assists are one example of that," Snyder said. "He's able to get people involved and connect the group. Obviously, his experience over the course of his career, whether it be internationally or the NBA playoffs, helps."
And of course, Diaw's famously wide array of passions, from coffee to photography, was also mentioned.
"He's got a diverse set of interests, which includes the playoffs," Snyder said.