EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz fall in pre-season to the Clippers

Emptying the Noggin
• The purpose of pre-season is for the coaches to evaluate and teach. This game will allow for both of those things.

• The Jazz were very good in the first half, the second unit of Foye, Burks, Carroll, Evans and Kanter dominated the defensive end of the floor. Holding the Clippers to 4 of 20 shooting and outscoring the Clippers 25-13. Kanter going against NBA big men had 10 points and 6 rebounds in the quarter.

• The play of the 2nd quarter and the pre-season and maybe the year will be the block by Jeremy Evans as he came out of the key to block Turiaf’s 16 foot jumper and then Evans took the ball the length of the floor and slammed it on top of Turiaf. Finally, Evans hustled back and knocked the outlet pass out of bounds. Evans has had an underwhelming pre-season but this quarter was his best he has shown so far.

• This all fell apart in the third quarter. Chris Paul took over. Blake Griffin handed it to Paul Millsap and the Jazz couldn’t get any stops. Then the Jazz stopped running and the offensive execution was poor. The Clippers who scored 34 points in the first half scored 34 points in the third quarter. The Clippers shot 13 of 22 and had zero turnovers in the quarter.

• Blake Griffin is terrific. He is just in his third year in the league. He is one of the best passing bigs. His athleticsm is absurd. He has a great handle. He is one of 7 players to average a 20.10 after two years since 1990 and he is getting better. He killed the Jazz in the third quarter. Blake had 11 points and 4 assists in the quarter. His jumper looks better then it was a year ago. He has put in the off-season work.

• The Jazz couldn’t guard the pick and roll at all. Bledsoe and CP3 were splitting the pick and that was all she wrote. The Clippers starting the pick and roll higher allowing more space and the Jazz were unable to help defensively as well as they did earlier in the pre-season.

• Paul Millsap doesn’t look right. I don’t see any lift. However, Paul always gets himself ready and if it was anyone else I would be worried but Paul has such an amazing track record I am not concerned,

• Gordon Hayward had a nice first quarter – he played very James Harden like. Getting to the rim and drawing fouls and then shooting the three.

• Jazz hit 8 of 18 from three. The three is a weapon this year.

• Randy Foye got his shot rolling in the friendly confines of the Staples Center. He hit on 4 of 8 from three. He made just 6 of 15 shots but scored 17 points.

• Alec Burks has to learn a mid range jumper. He is going to the basket on everything and he is not finishing. He is the master at drawing fouls but he needs to add something in the middle. He will have to be a bit more on balance in his dribble game to be able to do this. He nailed three outside shots including a transition three after starting the night 0 for 6. Last year, Burks hit just 19% of his mid range shots. He needs to find something he believes in for that part of his game.

• DeMarre Carroll finished with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists – he had some nice defensive plays as well as getting stuck to the floor on one or two.

• Clippers have to be pretty excited. They are super deep. If they get anything out of Lamar Odom and Grant Hill the team is loaded top to bottom.