EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Big Al takes control of the Utah Jazz

Emptying the Noggin
• Huge win for the Jazz tonight. Al Jefferson may have grabbed hold of this team tonight. He was super.

• The question has been if the team has fight and they did tonight playing the best 24 minutes of basketball they have played all season in the 2nd half.

• Al Jefferson changed the game in the 2nd quarter. While the Jazz were getting blown out of the game he played the final 5:28 of the 2nd quarter and sent the message that he was unwilling to go down easily. Jefferson scored 9 points in the final 5:28 and brought the Jazz back into the game.

• Jefferson was terrific 10 of 15 from the field and shot 10 free throws making 8 of them.

• Derrick Favors hit 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch to keep the Jazz ahead.

• The Nuggets scored an absurd 28 points in the 1st quarter on 14 of 17 shooting in the second half the Jazz allowed only 18 points in the paint – yes for the entire second half. The Nuggets had 6 in the 3rd quarter and just 12 in the 4th quarter.

• The Jazz went on a 14-0 run in the 3rd quarter to bring the game even at 79. It was the first tie since 6-6. Randy Foye and Marvin Williams buried back to back three’s to cap the run and bring the Jazz crowd back into the game.

• The games was tied at 79; 81;84;87;89;91 and 93 before the Jazz finally took their largest lead of the night at 97-93, first time they lead by more than 2.

• Marvin Williams had a super third quarter with 8 pts but never reappeared in the 4th quarter. Paul Millsap also didn’t play the 4th quarter as for the 2nd time in 3 games Tyrone Corbin finished the game with Derrick Favors rather than Paul Millsap.

• Jefferson was clutch down the stretch again. He has been terrific for the last three years in close game. He has been the #1 FG% guy in the NBA in the final 5 minutes of close games over the last three years.

• Iguodala got ejected with 3:24 left in the 3rd in the middle of the Jazz run. That had a huge impact on the game.

• Favors finishes with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks – he had 5 offensive rebounds and 2 defensive rebound.

• Jazz defensive rebounding wasn’t great they got just 18 of 31 defensive rebounds.

• Gordon Hayward shooting woes off the bench continued going 1 for 8. Millsap struggles are still with us going 2 for 5 and having just 5 points and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes.

• Hayward’s defense on Andre Miller late was terrific

• The problem with Denver is a lack of go to guy and their late game possessions were awful. Andre Miller for three and a no shot buzzer play. Big time issue for a hugely talented team in the Nuggets.

• I have talked momentum for this team. They have won 4 of 5 and 6 of 9 now go on the road for three where they need to get a win or two. This was a big moment for the Jazz to come back and get this game. This team is progressing, roles are changing and they are learning what they have to do to win games.