Houston Rockets v Utah Jazz - Game Three
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 20: Rudy Gobert #27 hi-fives Royce O'Neale #23 of the Utah Jazz during Game Three of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2019 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Down 3-0 to Houston, the Utah Jazz look to 'regroup, get our minds right' and stave off elimination

by Aaron Falk

One game at a time.

That’s the old cliché.

That’s how the Utah Jazz want to approach Monday night, when they host the Houston Rockets for the fourth game of this first-round series.

But after 16 seasons in the NBA, Kyle Korver is not so naïve to think his teammates will ignore the reality of their situation. Down 3-0 in a best-of-seven series, the Jazz are on the brink of elimination. Can they block that fact out?

“No, it’s not possible,” Korver said after practice on Sunday. “You know you’re down 3-0. But what does that bring out of you? Does it bring out something good? Does it bring out urgency? Or does it bring out something else? I would like to think we’re going to bring something good.”

After two lopsided defeats in Houston, the Jazz played their best game of the series on Saturday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena. In the end, though, the result was a 104-101 defeat that pushed Utah to the brink of elimination.

“We’ll have the same mindset we had last game,” forward Royce O’Neale said. “Come out aggressive. Be ready from the jump. It’s going to be a competitive game.”

“That’s the makeup of this team,” Korver added. “We have high-character guys. Guys that work. Guys that like to play basketball. … We’ll regroup, get our minds right tonight and tomorrow, and get ready to go.”

The Jazz were able to disrupt Houston guard James Harden in Game 3. The league’s leading scorer missed his first 15 attempts and finished 3-of-20 from the floor.

But, once again, the Jazz’s own shooting woes haunted them. Utah is now just 27 for 106 (25.4 percent) from beyond the arc in this series.

“I think shooting is contagious,” Korver said. When there have been some misses in a row, each one feels a little bit bigger. That’s the natural thing that happens. This has kind of been our thing all year. When we’re not hitting shots, it’s hard for us to score. We need to step into these and hit them with confidence.”

After watching film on Sunday, Korver said he was encouraged by his team’s effort in attacking the basket and the open looks that generated in Game 3.

“I mean, we’ve got to find the positives, right?” Korver said. “The season’s not over. Obviously, you don’t want to be down 0-3. History is not on our side. But I think we saw things on the film that we can do better. Saw some things that we did well. And we have a home game in the playoffs tomorrow. That’s exciting. Just wrap your mind around that and get ready to go.”


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