Playoffs 2018 West First Round: Thunder (4) vs. Jazz (5)

Ricky Rubio aiming for better shot selection in Game 2 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

* Tonight on NBA TV: Jazz vs. Thunder (8 ET, NBA TV)

Utah Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a Game 1 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Solid as those numbers may look, there’s one key stat missing — his 18 field goal attempts (and just five makes) in that game.

Game 2 is closing in and Jazz rookie guard (and leading scorer) Donovan Mitchell is questionable for the game with a toe injury. But rather than try to take on more scoring, Rubio is determined to make his shots count tonight, writes Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune:

Some of that can be attributed to the habits from earlier in the season, when he hunted his own shots rather than waiting for open shots to come his way in the context of the Jazz offense. Only four of his shots came at the rim. NBA tracking data indicated that 12 of his 18 shots came off three or more dribbles — in Utah’s system, it’s more common to produce shots from ball movement rather than off the dribble.

It’s not conjecture. Rubio acknowledged that he took too many ugly shots.

“Well, some of them were good shots, some of them not,” he said. “Just have to do a better job on getting involved [with] some of my teammates sometimes. Do a better job of knowing when to shoot and when to pass the ball.”

Rubio, on the other hand, has a mandate to take as many shots as are open. He’s shooting a career-high 35 percent from the 3-point line and finishing better than he ever has with his jumper. But as Utah’s primary distributor, he can’t get too carried away.

“I’ve been feeling more comfortable lately with my shot, but I know being aggressive is one thing, and taking a lot of shots is another. Gonna still be taking my shots but looking for my teammates.”

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