Over the course of the Utah Jazz’s final 35 games of the regular season in which they went 29-6, two players whose consistent performances may have taken a bit of a backseat to Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were Ricky Rubio and Joe Ingles.
During that stretch, Rubio averaged 16 points per game, while Ingles averaged 13.9. Perhaps more important to the Jazz’s success was how well the pair shot, as Rubio made 46.2 percent of his shots from the field and 43.8 percent from behind the 3-point line, while Ingles was even better, connecting on 49 percent from the field and 45.3 percent from three.
Those numbers were especially good for Rubio, a historically bad shooter who had only made 38.4 percent of his field goals and 29.2 percent of his 3-pointers during Utah’s first 47 games of the season.
On Sunday in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder, however, both of them struggled offensively when it mattered most, which was a contributing factor in the Jazz’s 116-108 loss.
Rubio shot just 5 of 18 from the field and missed all three of his 3-point attempts, finishing with 13 points. Eleven of those came before halftime, and he didn’t score over the final 17:58 and in fact played fewer than six minutes in that stretch. His 18 shot attempts on the day were the most by any Utah player beside Donovan Mitchell, who finished with 22.
Ingles made his first shot attempt of the game, a 3-pointer, just over a minute into the contest, but didn’t score again until the third quarter, only compiling two misses and a turnover during the rest of the first half.
He also finished with 13 points.
With the high-powered offensive capabilities the Thunder possess, the Jazz need as much scoring as they can get in the series moving forward. More specifically, Utah found a good deal of success during the last half of the regular season because it was able to space the floor, and players such as Rubio and Ingles were able to hit jumpers. The pair needs to get back to doing that if the Jazz want to win games.
Secondarily, both players need to be able to get to the rim, which is something they both had a good deal of success doing during the latter part of the regular season. On Sunday, however, Rubio only made two layups (on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter), while the Ingles-Rudy Gobert pick-and-roll that often sees the Australian get to the basket was largely ineffective.
Utah coach Quin Snyder often says the strength of his team is the team, and particularly in the playoffs, more players need to have success than just a squad’s primary scoring options. For the Jazz, this includes Rubio and Ingles.