This game got away. The final score is really misleading to what the game was tonight. The game was within 2 with 5 minutes left and had been within 2 for almost the entire evening. The game had only three runs, 2 by the Rockets and 1 by the Jazz otherwise it was completely even throughout the game.
The disappointment in this game was some plays that lacked the necessary attention to detail that it takes to win on the road. CJ with back to back fouls flying at Courtney Lee, but more why was he leaving CJ Miles leaving their best three point shooter who is known as a corner three point shooter. Millsap three attempt with 3 minutes left down 8 seemed like a bail out possession where the effort to get a better shot was more than the team could handle.
This team is going to make plays that make you scratch your head, they are going to lose focus, they are going to have moments where they don’t understand time and score. That is inevitable when you are young. I am just surprised by who the players were who had those moments. Cj and Paul have to be the mainstays.
Prior to the final 5 minutes the Jazz did a lot of things very well. They defended really well for most of the night. Raja Bell put Kevin Martin in hell and he couldn’t get out and he just wanted to get away from it. Raja quest going into the game is to break his opponent. We have talked about it and that is truly what he is trying to do and he knows when he is getting close and how to do it and he broke Martin tonight. Martin had one field goal on an alley opp for most of the night.
Overall, the defense was really very good. Lowry made shots – he hit 7 of 8 from three. The Rockets made the extra pass on a bunch of key possessions where the Jazz defended well and rotated correctly but the Rockets made a pass extra. Scola is crafty inside and got some good looks on the defense.
Unfortunately, Bell crossed the 30 minute mark and the adductor went again. The play where Millsap shots the left corner three and Scola leaked out, the ball was thrown over Bells head and when he opened up to run and go after it, boom. The groin went. He took himself out immediately but it doesn’t look good. In the past that has been a week or two for Raja.
Raja continued his streak tonight and hit a three, the longest running streak in the NBA will have to be on hold.
Without Raja the Jazz are going to need something out of CJ or Josh and they are getting nothing right now. Josh got a put back but then made plays that weren’t team oriented and ended up playing on 5 minutes. CJ had two great blocks but went 1 for 5 and is not 4 for his last 21. CJ is grinding he is coming out early before every game putting in the work, but can’t find the stroke.
The Jazz had zero point in the paint in the 3rd quarter. The Rockets made adjustments at the half and the Jazz bigs couldn’t react.
The Jazz bench was how the Jazz were winning games earlier this year and that is not producing right now. The bench shot 6 of 30. Derrick Favors went 1 for 7. He is not the same player on the road as he is at home. The jazz need Favors to give them something on the offensive end and he has to learn where he wants to ball and what he is going to do with it. He does too much of everything still and not enough of a go to move.
Earl’s shooting has not been the same since the ankle and he is battling a really bad cold. He was not the spark he has been in the past.
Gordon asserted himself on the game in 1st quarter with 4 assits but then didn’t in the second half after sititng the entire 2nd quarter and that is the opposite of how he has been impacting games.
I have a feeling I might be typing this time and time again, Burks is playing with players that are as good an athlete as he is for the first time in his career and he is going to have to learn how to make shots. He is shooting – 41% which is not surprising for a wing rookie, that is what Durant, Kobe and LeBron all shot.
Player almost always get to their career numbers by the end of the year, but this year the % will all be down a little bit because of the compacted season. So which players are going to get to the back of the basketball card, CJ Miles 38% (career 42%), Howard 36% (41.8 since the injuries), Jefferson 48% (career 50%), Watson 42% (career 42%)
The youngsters are hard to gauge, Favors is at 49% (51% career), Hayward is at 42% (46% career) they both need to be taking steps forwards so they can take a big jump year 2 to 3 or year 3 to 4.