EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Clips, Jazz and Refs

• In two years of doing Emptying the Noggin I have never talked about the officiating. Tonight they had a huge impact late in the game and made three calls that I didn’t see at all down the stretch. The 3 point foul on Chauncey Billups was a bad call no ifs and or buts. The Jazz lead it 99-97 when they called the foul on Billups. If the Jazz get that rebound they have the ball with 1:25 left and leading 99-97. Dang that is painful.

• On the flip side the Clippers made the plays and the Jazz didn’t. Griffin hits a huge jumper with 2:24 left, CP3 makes a drive to the basket with 1:50 left to make it 97-96 and then CP3 hits the back breaker to make it 101-99 with :39 seconds left.

• The Jazz on the other hand didn’t make the plays. They had 4 meaningful field goals in the final 6:11.

• The quarter started with the Jazz leading by 10 and the Jazz didn’t get their first field goal until the 8:14 – The Clippers opened on a 8-2 run in the 4th and then answer with another 8-2 run immediately following. The Clippers brought up the intensity defensively and the Jazz got out of what they do and the Jazz couldn’t fight through that.

• The Jazz played a really strong game tonight. The offense was terrific. They executed for the first three quarters at a very high level. They cut, they made plays, they hit shots, they spaced the floor, they moved the ball, they were really good.

• Mo Williams pushed the tempo and had the Clippers retreating defensively and it gave the jazz a ton of good looks throughout the game. Mo finished with 12 assists. He kept his dribble alive constantly pressuring the defense

• For the Jazz to shoot 57% and hit 45% of three and lose the game is hard to swallow

• Alec Burks busted his butt defensively tonight to deal with Jamal Crawford. Crawford has the quickest release in the league and Burks got burned on one play by giving him too much air space and then he tightened up the rest of the night. Sometimes the over aggressiveness got him in trouble but he certainly made an effort.

• Gordon Hayward has busted out of his struggles and is 24 of his last 48 from the field.

• I always mention this hard to win when the guy taking the most shots scores less points than shots attempted. Al Jefferson 17 shots and 16 points. It means everyone else has to be great and they were tonight and it still didn’t get it done.

• Al Jefferson with a season high 5 assists.

• Blake Griffin has gotten better. He made some big shots and was a dominating force for most of the game.

• Tyrone Corbin put DeMarre Carroll on Chris Paul late in the game and it had an impact and made Chris Paul really work hard for any opportunities. However, Chris Paul is as good as anyone late in games and he took control of the game at the end and won it for the Clippers.

• You decide Jazz, Clippers or Refs