EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Schedule giveth and Jazz taketh

Emptying the Noggin
• The schedule taketh away and the schedule gives. Tonight the schedule gave the Jazz one and they took it. The Hornets put their best player on the bench because it was a back end of a back to back. The Hornets were playing on a LA to Utah back to back which is brutal and the Jazz got the win.

• Game had different stars throughout the game – the first quarter was a disaster. The Jazz trailed 29-19 after 1. They allowed the Hornets to shoot 11 of 16 from the field. Rather shocking considering the Jazz performance on Monday night.

• Earl Watson and Derrick Favors lead the spark in the 2nd quarter. Favors had a great 2nd quarter he had 9 points was strong on the glass and was the best player on the floor. He did the damage against Jason Smith and killed him. He didn’t go head to head with Robin Lopez much as Al checked back in and I wish we could have seen him get the minutes against a top level big.

• Watson was energy and he conducts the team so well. Watson went out of his way to get Alec Burks rolling tonight. In the 4th quarter with the Hornets at the line, Earl went to Alec told him what play they were going to run for him then after the free throw Alec brought the ball up hit Watson on the left wing and ran right off Watson who gave it back to him for a drive to the basket. That is leadership – that is what winning teams do. That is what makes Earl Watson a special player.

• The Hornets doubled Al early in the game with Vasquez leaving Tinsley wide open and then Watson wide open. The tough part is they weren’t leaving any of the other players so the only pass was back to Tinlsey or Watson who aren’t a threat. In the second half the Jazz started moving and cutting and spending Watson and Tinsley to the basket. Nice coaching move by Corbin and the staff to adjust to the Hornets plan. This opened up the post in the 2nd half.

• Millsap who looked like he tweaked a knee in the first half was able to play vintage Millsap in the 3rd quarter- He used angles, he played off contact, he went into the body of defenders and he got 11 points in the 3rd. Sap finished with a career high 16 free throw attempts and huge box score line of 25 points and 10 rebounds.

• Late in the game who else but Al Jefferson – 6 points in the final 5 minutes with the game on the line. He went at Robin Lopez. Early in the game Al drove at Lopez a lot and had some success so late Lopez gave him air space and he buried the 15 foot jumper. I can’t imagine what Al’s shooting percentage is from 15 feet out late in the game, I think it would blow our minds.

• Key stretch of the game Alec Burks played the point with Randy Foye. This got the Hornets out of their double teaming of the post and seemed to break the Hornets defensive sequence as they stopped doubling Al later in the game. Burks handled the duties well and hit a huge corner three. Mom and Dad were in town so it is great he got going with them watching. No turnovers in 16 minutes. He did the best he could with Vasquez defensively. Good night for Burks.

• Randy Foye had 8 assists tonight.

• Without Eric Gordon Ryan Anderson’s foul trouble was a big part of the night and Anthony Davis seemed lifeless on the back end of a back to back. Not bad 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and lifeless.

• A win you have to have. Two big games with Portland for the Jazz. They need to play better than they have been but somehow not playing great basketball they have won 10 of their last 14.