In Utah’s impressive 97-95 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night, the Jazz lost starting center Rudy Gobert to a knee injury on the first possession of the game. Gobert was helped off the court and did not return. After the game, he underwent an MRI which revealed a hyperextended and bone bruised knee. No timetable was set for Gobert, but the Jazz have already ruled him out of Game 2 Tuesday night in Los Angeles. It appears that the team is updating his status on a day-to-day basis, which is an encouraging sign, but the Jazz need him back as soon as possible.

What Gobert’s absence means for Utah

In Game 1, Quin Snyder made flawless in-game adjustments, and the team won. He played a small-ball lineup where Derrick Favors at five position and Joe Johnson at the four. Defensively, the Jazz did not suffer despite losing their defensive anchor. They played physical and made it a collective effort.

The game plan will probably be the same for Utah going into Game 2 without their lengthy big man. They will most likely start Jeff Withey at the center position but downsize as the game progresses. Johnson was phenomenal at the power forward position because he created a major mismatch on the offensive end due to his ability to create for himself.

Defensively, he held his own against Blake Griffin, and the team helped him out as much as possible.

Since the Jazz stole home-court advantage in Game 1, not having Gobert in Game 2 will not hurt too much. Of course Utah will still play its best to try and steal another game, but even if they lose, it won’t be bad.

What’s more important is for Gobert to be available in Game 3 when the team heads back home. They will definitely need "The Stifle Tower" in the long run.

Veterans are essential

In Game 1, it was the veteran players who led the Jazz to victory. Throughout the contest, Joe Johnson, George Hill, and Boris Diaw made crucial plays and helped to control the pace.

Without Gobert, these veterans will need to continue to play at a high level, becoming essential to the team’s long-term success.

With the veterans managing the game properly, Gordon Hayward was able to take over late, putting in huge buckets which ultimately led to Johnson’s game-winner. It is not a surprise that the Jazz are giving the Clippers a ton of issues. For L.A., they must make sure that the pace is sped up in Game 2 if they want a chance to win because they are completely abysmal in half-court sets.

Follow the page NBA
Follow
Don't miss our page on Facebook!