EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• 2-1 road trip and 20-19 while playing 24 road games the most in the NBA. All year long we have said the team needed to do two things by this point, first improve and second keep their head above water. I am sure you can ask for more improvement and maybe a better record but 20-19 at this point keep the Jazz in the playoff race and unquestionably this team is improving.
• The areas of improvement that are most obvious are on the defensive side of the ball as well and maybe most importantly defensive rebounding.
• When the ball doesn’t have stickem on it the Jazz can be a good offensive team. When everyone holds the ball before making an action, then the post players can establish angles before they catch, wing players have a step before receiving however the amount of times the ball hits a players hand and sticks is maddening. This is the next area of improvement for this team. Losses will teach it, I think. The Jazz had 1 assist in the first quarter.
• The defensive intensity in the 3rd quarter and the 2nd half was terrific tonight. The Jazz let the Pistons get where ever they wanted without any resistance in the early going of the game and in the second half took away all of their movement and made everything they did happened under a contest or a bump. The Pistons scored 26 points in the 1st quarter and then only scored 25 for the first 21 minutes of the second half.
• Burks, Hayward and Foye have become a very productive group for the Jazz. When DeMarre is in it doesn’t feel as comfortable having the three ball handlers seems to allow the line-up to have success. Burks first played the point tonight with 6:19 left in the second quarter and the Jazz at their largest deficit of 15. Over the next 6:19 the Jazz outscored the Pistons 15 to 11. Then Burks came back as the point to open the 4th quarter. For the first 2:45 it was with DeMarre and the Jazz were -3. Once Foye came in with Hayward and Burks the Jazz 19 to 10 run over 7:15. With Burks, Foye and Hayward together Jazz outscored the Pistons 34 to 21 over 13:33.
• Al Jefferson was incredible tonight. His 2nd half reminded me of how he picked the team up in Washington and carried the team to a win avoiding a disastrous loss. This could have been a bad loss tonight and for the second time this year Jefferson has carried the team to the win. He had 14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals in the 2nd half playing 20 consecutive minutes. In addition, his pick and roll defense was very good.
• The Pistons tried to come back using the Jazz nemesis the high pick and roll. They ran it for 7 straight possessions and caused the Jazz some problems. However, they didn’t cause Jefferson problems. They got Favors a few times who was worried about getting out to Villanueva and they burned Millsap who never stepped out at all giving a straight line to the basket for layup.
• It is a big deal that Burks and Favors had good nights tonight after the performances they had in Atlanta. Favors had 2 assists tonight and is also getting much better on the defensive glass.
• Our plane is super bumping so I am wrapping this up