EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz move around the Sun

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• Second straight strong outing for the Utah Jazz. The defense in the last two games after the 1st quarter in both games has been fabulous. The Jazz have been the instigators, the initiators and the aggressors.

• Tonight the player movement on both offense and defense was great. Player movement leads to ball movement on the offensive end and player movement leads to getting in passing lane, closing out and forcing one more pass which leads to turnovers on the defensive end.

• Jazz forced their season high 21 turnovers and the Suns committed a season high turnovers as well. The Jazz defensive activity was terrific. Phoenix was flummoxed and the Jazz kept the pressure on forcing bizarre passes by the Suns. The Jazz hands were active as well and Jazz had 11 steals and Paul Millsap had 5 of them.

• Millsap returned tonight. This is the player who has been so terrific for the last few years for the Jazz. 10 rebounds, 4 on the offensive end, 3 assists, 5 steals, not to mention 3 stitches in his ear, a shot to the throat, another shot to his ear and a scratched across the eye. He also added 9 of 16 shooting and scored 10 points. It was his first double double since Dec 12. Millsap was +20.

• Dragic dominated the Jazz in the 1st quarter with 11 points and got anywhere he wanted to go. The Suns had 34 points in the first quarter. It would take the Suns another 31 minutes to score their next 34 points including only scoring 9 points in the 2nd quarter which was a season low allowed by the Jazz and a season low scored by the Suns.

• My favorite play of the night was the Suns had the ball on far side and the Jazz had cut off all of the movement, passing lanes, driving lanes and Jared Dudley was on the near side seemingly wide open. He jumped up calling for the pass and the Suns threw a cross court skip pass and Randy Foye who was in perfect defensive position “on the nail” (there is a nail on the free throw signify the middle of the floor – so he was straddling the nail in the paint) ran out to Dudley, the Suns best three point shooter on a close out and Dudley couldn’t take the shot and then when he went to put the ball on the floor Foye knocked it out of bounds. That is great defense by all 5 members at one time.

• My favorite offensive play of the night was Hayward coming off a pick and roll with Millsap and Millsap set a great pick and then flared out to the wing where he was open and Hayward found him on a nice bounce pass and Millsap buried the

• Alec Burks played his best game of the year. The 2 for 7 shooting should be ignored since a good deal of it happened late (same way in a blowout when he puts up points) but he was active, played some point guard tonight. Most of all he was active and let the game come to him.

• Burks and Hayward are movers. They don’t stand still and it makes a ton of difference. This led to the Jazz looking like a team executing their offense in classic Jazz style.

• Earlier this year teams, including Phoenix, got physical with Gordon and he wilted a bit and got knocked out of his game. Tonight he kept working and driving through the game and got the dividends for that action. Hayward has become the key player for all line-ups to have success he does things that other players on the Jazz don’t do, he moves without the ball, he moves the ball, he drives the basket, he makes plays for other players. He is the key to this team.

• This is a significant win. The Jazz split at Phoenix this year which is all you can ask. The Jazz had two losses that were hard to swallow this year one in New Orleans and one in Phoenix and they have avenged each of those.

• Interesting quote after the game by Alvin Genrty “I thought the 1st quarter was the best we played this season and the last three were possibly the worst”

• Favors 30 minutes were the 2nd time he has played 30 this year.

• To Denver we go – I am not one who thinks it is a huge game but I do think it is a game that could propelling the Jazz into really good things if they win it and then get some momentum before an extended home run. Remember when Jazz leave Detroit next weekend they will have played more road games than any team in the NBA. Keep head above water.