EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – The youngsters, the starters, Burks, Hayward and Favors

• First off – Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. I really appreciate the passion you have for the team it makes my job a million time easier and keeps me motivated. I sincerely appreciate it and wish you and your family the best.

• The story of the night is the youngsters bringing the Jazz back to victory. Alec Burks came off the bench and changed the game tonight. He brought solid energy, he went to the basket as we knew he would but most importantly he added an element rebounding and he defending much better than he has in the past. He was good in his first stretch and even better in his second stretch. Burks got DeMarre minutes in the 2nd quarter and then some of Marvin’s and he got DeMarre’s in the third and some of Randy and Marvin’s. Without Mo he may be needed more as a scorer.

• Gordon Hayward played his best game of the year. He has been working very hard with the coaches to fix some of his mechanics and to add a mid range game to his offensive game. The last two nights he has shown both of those things. The key to the entire night was his defense on Arron Afflalo. Afflalo was giving Randy Foye the business and he didn’t score on Hayward. Hayward held Afflalo to 0 for 3 and 2 turnovers in the 2nd half. The scouting report was out in the league to be physical to Hayward and see how he reacts he has been much better the last two nights.

• The game was not without issues. The starting line-up was very poor. They allowed the Magic to start with a 15-7 start and trailed 21-16 when the first subs were made. The Magic hit 8 of their first 10 shots. The third quarter was the same story. The Magic opened the quarter on a 14-6 start hitting 8 of their first 10. It was a replay. By the time Burks and Hayward came in the game the starters had been outscored 19-13. For the night the starting five was outscored 40-29 over 17:14. One most nights the other team has a star and the starting five is better than our starting five this is not the case with Orlando. Mo Williams was out and so there is an adjustment period but falling behind every night is a big problem for the Jazz right now and tonight was as poor as it has been.

• Defensive rebounding has been poor this whole year and particularly in the 4th quarter. Again tonight the Jazz 4th quarter rebounding was unacceptable they allowed the Magic to have 5 offensive rebounds on 13 chances (38%). You have to keep teams below 30%.

• Huge plays down the stretch – back to back threes from Tinsley and Foye took the Jazz from down 2 to up 4. Millsap only went 2 of 4 from the line in the final 2 minutes but Ayon missed the first of two free throws with a chance to tie the game with 2.4 seconds left after the Jazz broke down terribly defensively on the final play with Millsap and Jefferson shadowing Nelson at the three point line leaving Ayon wide open luckily Foye got their in enough time to foul him.

• Favors is playing really well. 12 points 4 rebounds in 18 minutes. He needs time on the floor to develop at this point. He has made all the adjustments in his game. He has shown patience when he needs to, he has learned when to go fast and aggressively. He has begun to understand his strength and what he can do. The more he plays the better he will get at all of these things. He is still not a finished product, but what he needs to learn, how to play off contact, how to stay on balance, how to anticipate defensive rebounds are all items that come with being on the floor.

• Jazz don’t usually win if Al Jefferson and Marvin Williams both don’t have good nights.

• This is going to be very interesting to see if things change a bit after this game. The youth played a different game than the vets and notice was probably served.

• The Jazz go 2-2 on the road trip and are above .500 after 18 of the first 29 on the road. If you look at the schedule the Jazz have won more games that one wouldn’t anticipate than they have lost that you were surprised by. The Jazz have been up and down and not played great basketball for lots of the games but they are keeping the head above water and January is a month to make progress