EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz blast off in Houston

Emptying the Noggin
• Solid solid performance for the Jazz – the defense was terrific. Road win in the playoff push is a huge performance.

• They ran the Rockets off the three point line and then protected the rim leaving the Rockets in the least efficiency spots on the floor. The Jazz defense was solid after a blip to start the game and they never let the Rockets get any rhythm.

• The Jazz took control of the game and other than the inevitable run to open the 4th quarter the Jazz never relented. They pounded the Rockets and just kept pounding.

• The Rockets made their run behind Kyle Lowry and got the game down to 4 with 6:18 left and the Jazz answered on a 16 to 5 run. How impressive is that? On the road against a red hot team they regained control and left no doubt on the outcome of the game. A 12 point win on the road against a good team is a huge win, that is a blowout in the NBA. Second largest win of the year for the Jazz on the road.

• Paul Millsap changed the game in the 1st half. Scola couldn’t guard him when he played the 4 and then when he switched to the 3 the Rockets really couldn’t match up to him. This forced the Rockets into a zone and the Jazz blitzed that and the Rockets then were out of answers at that point. The Rockets focused on Sap in the 2nd half and the Jazz then played off him in 2nd half.

• DeMarre Carroll in the post game show said, “Gordon Hayward is really talented and could be an all-star one day.” Tonight he looked like it. He had 29 points in his best scoring game of his career, superior to his 34 in meaningless game v. Denver last year. He lead the team with 6 assists as well. The Jazz ran Hayward off the wing with the ball in his hand and he did a lot of damage. The kid is special. He has been averaging 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assist for about 20 games and those are big time numbers.

• Jazz held the Rockets to 36% – I haven’t seen the final numbers but this may have been the best defensive night of the year by the Jazz- Rockets didn’t have their three point legs tonight, just 4 of 20 but Jazz did a great job running players off the three point line. DeMarre specifically mentioned a play when Al Jefferson was running at a three point shooter and then he rolled to the next guy where he got one of his two steals.

• Jazz close the 1st quarter on a 17 to 7 run and then added on to it with an 8-0 run to open the 2nd quarter. You have to play from ahead on the road and the Jazz did that tonight. Playing from ahead will be the key the next two nights as well. Jazz are 23-6 when leading at the half.

• Houston scored the last 11 points of the 3rd quarter from the line and didn’t have a field goal for the final 7 minutes of the 3rd quarter. Rockets were 4 of 18 at one point in the 3rd quarter.

• Alec Burks hit a big three but also had a really hard time trying to guard Kyle Lowry in the 4th quarter – that as tough a match-up as there is at the point. He is low to the ground and a tough nut. Burks is battling and learning a ton right now. It is immeasurable what he is going to take away from this.

• Favors was really really good again tonight – 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting, I am not sure we can much to him in the post. 11 rebounds, 2 assist and 3 blocks. WOW. 133rd time since 1985 someone has done that before being 21 years old. Favors is puttingup nights before 21 that are in rare air.

• Jamaal Tinsley did well with Harris out in foul trouble much of the night.

• The push is on – this is a huge one. Jazz are 1.5 out of the playoffs and 1.5 out of the 6th spot with game v. Dallas coming. They own the tiebreaker v. Denver and Houston who are both ahead of them.

• Get your tickets now Energy Solutions is going to carry this team to the playoffs