EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – The Jazz fall in Philly to the Sixers

Emptying the Noggin
• The Jazz didn’t play good detailed basketball tonight. Key offensive possessions were executed the way they need to be. The opening possessions of the game the Jazz didn’t execute the plays the way they needed to and they didn’t make the defensive plays they made in Boston.

• Before the game Doug Collins told me the Sixers needed to see the ball go through the basket because bad shooting can be deflating and zap the energy of your team. The Jazz inability to defend the Sixers early in the game allowed the Sixers to get energy and play with it for the rest of the night. The killer is the opening shots by the Sixers were made on plays were the Jazz were supposed to be going over the pick and roll and instead went under the pick and roll allowing huge air space to Holiday and Richardson the best shooters on the Sixers and that got the Sixers rolling.

• The Sixers were impressive in how they dealt with every big moment of the game. When the Jazz fired back with runs the Sixers executed the game plan perfectly and got amazing looks and went on runs of their own. They made smart plays when they had to. That is winning basketball.

• Every player on Philly had a defined roll and they executed it. Kwame Brown was a force defensively. Al Jefferson couldn’t get going on the left block. The Jazz eventually had to go to pick and roll with Al and Mo to get Al any looks at the hoop. Al went just 5 of 14 from the field, he did shot a season high 7 free throws.

• Thaddeus Young came into the game with a great +/- for the Sixers and tonight it held again he was +24 in his time on the floor. The Sixers were -18 when he was on the bench. I am not sure I saw why but he has done this all season.

• DeMarre Carroll was a complete pro tonight. Off the bench after having not played in ages and came out with his usual energy and changed the game. He finished with a career high 17 points on 6 of 6 shooting. He was active defensively impacting the game the moment he was on the floor.

• As has been the story all year with this team for every yin there is a yang. One of the Jazz most productive line-ups this year has been the “supersized” line-up with Millsap at the 3 with Favors and Jefferson. But Carroll is on the floor the Jazz can’t play the supersized line-up. Yet, Carroll brings an energy and a tenacity that this team needs. Per 48 minutes DeMarre Carroll is +3.6 and the team is -.6 for the season. Carroll’s +/- (what the team does when he is on the floor) is the best on the roster.

• After a quiet first half Millsap came out in the third quarter and took it to Young and scored 12 points for the Jazz in the quarter. Millsap had a strong second half with 22 points.

• Hayward and Marvin were quiet tonight. I have a hard time understanding if they are to blame or if the Jazz reverted back to throwing it in the left block and when that happens they don’t get many chances. Marvin made a poor play on a fast break where he had a chance to finish and Gordon didn’t have his usual impact but I think it might be very hard to impact games when your are playing the 2 and the 3 in our system. I can’t think of any plays where Hayward initiated the offense on the wing tonight. If the ball doesn’t go from strong side to weak side it is hard for these guys to get many chances.

• Ball movement has to be good enough so that opponents don’t have to just defend half the court. Teams need to feel the need to defend from sideline to sideline.

• Jazz made a lot of runs tonight – they were all answered by the Sixers. That is the killer. I know people are going to the energy card but runs usually mean you are playing with energy.

• Back to back pull up threes in transition by Mo Williams in the middle of the comeback are going to be debated. He hit one of the two so you scored 3 points in 2 possessions which is good but it felt like the team had better chances then pull up three’s.

• Mo was visibly bothered by a jam on his right hand. He shot just 5 of 14 and has not shot well the last three games. He is 18 of his last 55.

• Randy Foye continued to struggle in Philly 2 for 7 in the state where he played his college ball.

• Jamaal Tinsley has played at least 74 straight minutes without scoring.

• The Sixers were a wounded team, without Bynum, playing badly and the Jazz couldn’t take advantage. At the same time that is a tough time to face a team. They were humiliated in their last outing and they had to make it right. The Jazz didn’t do anything tonight to make them doubt themselves.