EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz fight but lose to Spurs

Emptying the Noggin
• The Spurs are fabulous. They are the exact same team that ran away from the West last year and the ball movement, the crispness to their offensive game and the clarity by which they play is awesome

• They put on a clinic in the first half and won the game in the 1st half. Amazingly, the Jazz fought back and took control of the game behind a red hot Mo Williams and had the game tied going to the 4th quarter.

• The Spurs shot 12 of 18 in the 1st quarter and 14 of 17 in the 2nd quarter. That is an insane 26 of 35 in the 1st half.

• Ron Boone has wondered if this team would have the fight that last year’s team had and if tonight is any indication then this team has that fight and that is a good sign for the rest of the year. The 3rd quarter and the battle in the 2nd half was a really good sign.

• The best part was the Jazz made an initial run and then had a bunch of calls go against them and instead of feeling the world was against them they kept fighting and eventually tied the game.

• The Jazz went to the big line-up of Millsap, Favors and Jefferson to stop the endless bleeding in the 2nd quarter with 4:27 left and they outscored the Spurs for the final 4:27 16-14. However, it was not as good defensively as it was last year.

• Paul Millsap hit two three’s tonight and had a great third quarter. His shot is not going in from 12 to 18 feet but he is 3 for 3 from three so far this year. He had his second double double of the year and was very good in the 3rd quarter for the Jazz.

• Mo Williams went nuts in the 3rd quarter leading the team back. He had 15 points in the 3rd quarter. Lead the Jazz to a 13-0 run to close the 3rd to get the game tied. The Jazz trailed by 11 after 11 and 18 at the half and were able to outscore the Spurs 35-17 in the 3rd Quarter.

• Al Jefferson check in the 4th quarter and went hard at Duncan in the left block and went 5 for 5 with an array of moves he scored the only points in the paint for the Jazz in the 4th quarter. Jefferson is the only guy you can go to in the post on this roster.

• Huge play Jefferson passed out to Hayward from the post with the score 99-94 and Hayward hit a three that would have made it 99-97 but Millsap got called for a three in the key.

• Randy Foye was unable to guard Danny Green in the 4th quarter. This was alarming. I thought Foye was quicker than this but he looked stuck to the floor on these plays.

• The Spurs run almost no high pick and roll instead they run it from the sides with Parker. Manu is the only one who runs it from the top and he had 8 pts in 15 mins in his first game of the year. This is still an issue.

• The rotation shrunk tonight – Corbin went to 9 guys in the 2nd half. I think this is the answer not going bigger. Hayward needs to play. He was back to 35 mins tonight and he had 15 pts on 11 shots and 3 rebs, 2 asts and 3 steals.

• Hayward had a drive to the basket where he elevated higher than I had ever seen on a drive when he was a rookie and last year he was a horizontal jumper this was a vertical jump under balance on a drive. Talking to him after the game he wondered if he should have just dunked it. This is a new ability.

• Kanter is struggling. This is not the pre-season and people are ready for him. The last two teams have had good backup bigs. Tonight he was all over the place on defense and didn’t execute offensively as well as he needed to.

• Rotation was much tighter – this is all evolving and it will be more clear in 10 or so games.

• Starters are not opening games well. They trailed 15 to 5 tonight. They trailed 15-10 at 1st time out of Dallas and 12-8 first time out of the New Orleans game. They have been better in the 3rd quarter.

• Al Jefferson has shot 4 Free throws in 40 field goal attempts – last year he was 1 FTA for every 5.7 shots and the year before he was 4.5 This is trending badly.

• DeMarre is 3 for 11 to start the year.