It's December and the Utah Jazz are getting waxed by the Golden State Warriors. Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, and George Hill are all out. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson are all in. Down 31-9 late in the first quarter, Dante Exum sprint dribbles up the right sideline with Raul Neto and Joe Ingles standing in opposite corners. Trey Lyles and Jeff Withey jog into position on the weak side. As Neto flies up to gather Exum's handoff, Ingles darts toward Lyles and Withey who pose as cinder blocks on the wing. Right when the ball travels from Exum to Neto, Ingles emerges wide open behind the three-point line. As the ball pings across the floor, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder sits on the sideline with his hands flat on his knees. He cranes his neck for a better view as Ingles' shot soars through the air. It falls through the net. Snyder clasps his hands, leans forward, and mentally prepares for the next possession. Utah would lose this game, but only by seven points, and not before they outscored Golden State 53-41 in the second half. The sequence described above sounds mundane, and, to be fair, at first glance it is. But the timing, discipline, and altruism within it are exquisite examples of a methodical system that doesn't bludgeon the defense so much as wait for it to deteriorate on its own. With zero players who are able to create their own shot, the Jazz manufacture a wide open three against one of the best defensive teams in league history.
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Vice Sports | Oct 4