EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz better but not enough in LA

• Clippers become just the 17th team in NBA history to ever win 17 straight games.

• To beat the Clippers in their building the Jazz would have to had to play a nearly flawless and they didn’t quite get that done. However, they were much closer than they have been in a while. This was a better road performance than the team put together on the East Coast trip, the Clippers are just rolling.

• Some of the reoccurring themes did continue tonight. The first quarter defense has been 27th in the NBA this year and today we allowed 29 points. The defense on the road has allowed three pointers (43%) more so than at home (33%) – The Clippers hit 8 of 18 and hit 5 of 9 in the 1st quarter. The Jazz defensive rebounding in the 4th quarter is 30th in the NBA at 66% tonight in the 4th the Jazz only got 4 of 9 available defensive rebounds in the 4th quarter.

• The Jazz finished December -45 in the 1st quarter; +28 in the 2nd quarter, -16 in the 3rd quarter and -10 in the 4th quarter.

• I really liked the run the Jazz made tonight in the 3rd quarter. In the Indiana and Miami games the Jazz didn’t make any surge back into the game. Tonight the Jazz did and even took the lead.

• Interesting that in the 2nd game against the same opponent some of the younger players had a tougher game than the first game as now the Clippers were better prepared and gave them a tougher night.

• DeMarre Carroll’s energy is a great assets and his gambling style defense can be very effective. However, when he is playing as a starter he probably needs to be more careful with that style. When it is against bench guys if you gamble and they get the shot they don’t always knock it down but Caron Butler made DeMarre pay every time he left him in the first quarter.

• Favors played the fourth quarter instead of Millsap tonight. If you compare Millsap numbers to Favors over the last 9 games they are stunningly similar on the offensive end and per minute production may favor Favors. Last 9 games, Millsap is shooting 45% and averaging about 11 points a game and 7 rebounds. Favors last 9 is also 45% and is averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds

• Jazz have trailed after the first quarter in 11 of 12 games.

• Al Jefferson was terrific tonight. He had 13 points in the third quarter and brought the Jazz back into the game. His free throw streak reached 32 straight before he missed one late in the 4th quarter.

• Burks has had a positive impact on the game over the last four games he has played. However, he is shooting 11 of 30 in those games. The good news is the team is +44 when he is on the floor.

• The crazies thing is the Jazz have not lost a lot of games you would have anticipated them to win. I had them projected to get one of thee two v. the Clippers and the Warriors game but overall they haven’t built a crazy big hole they can’t get out of. However, if the defense stays ranked 28th in the NBA as it has the last 20 games win will not becoming with any regularity .