OAKLAND -- Starting point guard George Hill is officially out for the Utah Jazz Thursday night when they take on the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. According to head coach Quin Snyder, reserve Shelvin Mack will start alongside Joe Ingles in the backcourt for Utah as they attempt to even the series at one game apiece.
“Everybody’s got to try and fill that void that George leaves, especially on the defensive end,” Rodney Hood told NBC Sports Bay Area during pregame. “He’s a really good defender and everybody has to be more aggressive and confident offensively.”
Mack, 27, started 27 games for the Jazz during the 2015-16 season after coming over in a midseason trade with Atlanta Hawks, but his numbers are down across the board this year. In 55 games with the Jazz this season, Mack has averaged 7.8 points and 2.8 assists in 21.9 minutes a night.
He is tasked with filling some big shoes. Hill was Utah’s second-leading scorer during the regular season, posting 16.1 points and 4.1 assists in 31.5 minutes a night.
A former second-round pick, Mack has struggled throughout the playoffs, averaging just 1.8 points per game on 25 percent shooting. He’ll pick up the start, but won’t be the only Jazz player to see time at the point.
“Guys have to step up, it’s a shared load, it doesn’t really fall to one guy in particular,” Snyder said. “We’ve got to compete at the position.”
Snyder will use Dante Exum and Raul Neto as well as Mack as he searches for answers on both ends of the court.
Favors feeling better
Coming off a huge performance in Game 7 against the Los Angeles Clippers, veteran big man Derrick Favors played just 12 minutes in Game 1 against the Warriors due to a recurring back issue. Following the loss to Golden State, Favors, wrapped in ice, said the Jazz were taking a cautious approach to the injury.
During pregame on Thursday evening, the 6-foot-10 power forward told NBC Sports Bay Area that he is feeling much better and ready to play for the Utah.