Emptying the Noggin after Jazz lost to the Kings

• The Jazz did most thing very well tonight. However, lapses at the end of the 3rd quarter and for a few minutes in the 4th caused them to lose to the Kings. If we ever needed an example of how slim the margin is for this team tonight is a really good example.

• The game was there for the taking. A Hayward three from the left corner and the Jazz win. Better free throw shooting and the team wins. A few defensive rebounds and the team wins. It was there and they didn’t make the plays they had to make.

• The key moment everyone is going to talk about is the game was tied when Millsap and Jefferson checked back into the game and the Jazz promptly allowed two layups fell behind and never recovered. This is not the first time this has happened recently. If it continues the argument that you are playing these guys because they give you a better chance to win begins to lose its validity. Not yet, but its foundation has certainly been rocked.

• The defensive sequence in the 4th quarter where Favors blocks and then dives on the floor, where the Jazz got steals and created open floor opportunities. Where Burks hit CJ on a great fast break . That was a great sequence for the Jazz. Loved that energy and the way the guys were playing.

• If Al is not having a great offensive night he doesn’t change the game in any other fashion. Tonight Al shot 6/14 and scored 12 points. When your top shot taker scores less points than field goal attempts you will almost never win. Jefferson’s splits tell the story, he shots 44% in losses and 52% in wins.

• Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap didn’t go to the free throw line

• Devin Harris continued his very strong play. He ran the team very well. He picked his spots to push the tempo and he got the Jazz into terrific sets when the game was swaying the direction of the Kings

• Tyrone Corbin talked about two things this morning with the team. 48 minutes of smart basketball. The Jazz were close and understanding important possessions to quell runs. The Jazz did a great job of that tonight. They stopped runs at 6-0 numerous times with smart good offensive execution. Harris controlled that and had a strong impact on the game.

• Josh Howard was a first quarter player in Dallas. He averaged 7 pts per first quarter for three straight years. Tonight he had 8. In addition he grabbed 6 defensive rebounds. The Jazz desperately need to help Millsap and Jefferson on the glass. Josh did make two terrible passes in transition that are painful when you look back at a close game.

• DeMarcus Cousins completely man-handled Jefferson inside. He had a double double by halftime, he had 8 points in the first quarter. The only person who defended him and bothered him all night was Kanter.

• Cousins got pissed at Harris for a pick he set on him in the 1st quarter and then proceeded to elbow him or run into him 5 to 6 times. Depending your perspective Harris either did nothing or lured him into a technical foul at a key moment of the game.

• Jazz allowed a 50% 4th quarter performance.

• Harris and Burks were great in the 4th quarter – while Jefferson and Millsap combined for 0 for 4.

• Burks is getting better every game. 19 minutes tonight, 11 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and if you listen to the podcast with Kevin Pelton tomorrow you can find out why his 3 turnovers are good news also.

• CJ Miles had 13 points, but I can’t say I liked the way he played and how he played on both ends of the floor this evening.

• Paul Millsap just doesn’t look right. He scored tonight on a post play which is better than he has been doing but the game is a real struggle for him right now. He was not moving well after the game with his heel injury. The hope was the he lost some lift out of fatigue and that he would regain that after the break but their was no sign that he was any different tonight.

• Losses like tonight where the team really played close to its potential makes the remaining schedule look very daunting and makes putting a win total on the final 33 games a tough call. Plus, a few more nights down the stretch like this makes the question what gives us the best chance to win a more legitimate question.