EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Two .500 teams split home and home not so shocking other than how it happened.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• Would have been a really good one to get for the Jazz tonight. More than a bad one to lose this was a good one to get. The Jazz had a 10 point lead in third and it felt like the Jazz were going to handle the Blazers on back to back nights when the wheels feel off for the Jazz.

• Lots of strange this had to happen for the jazz to lose this game. The Jazz had only 4 turnovers and still lost. The Blazers got plays out of guys who hadn’t made plays all season. Nolan Smith had 2 three’s for the season , he hit two tonight. Smith had 4 field goals since Dec 13 and had 4 tonight. Will Barton had given the Blazers little to nothing, Luke Babbitt was 4 of his last 18 and he made plays.

• The bench of the Blazers which has been their weakness all season out played the Bench of the Jazz. A two play sequence on each end swung the game – Burks and Marvin got good looks and missed and Smith hit shots for the Blazers.

• DeMarre Carroll has really changed his game offensively. He worked so hard to add the three point shot and it wasn’t working for him and now he has moved into 16 to 19 feet and has become an offensive weapon. He went 5 for 5 tonight and shot over 50% for the month of January. I talked to him about it and it recognized what he was capable of doing well and what he wasn’t and this has changed him as a player.

• Lots of interesting coaching match-ups again tonight. The Jazz used Millsap at the three tonight with Kanter and Favors and made a nice run out of it. DeMarre played some two guard with this line-up and Burks was the point. Tinsley couldn’t guard Lillard so the jazz tried numerous different match-ups from Burks to Carroll to Foye to guard Lillard.

• Lillard is terrific. He seemingly never misses an uncontested shot. He plays the game with such control and calmness.. He is really strong on the pick and roll and the Jazz dealt with it as well as they could but he is taking it to everyone in the league at this point.

• Al Jefferson had 5 assists in the first half but didn’t have any in the second half.

• Burks played a solid game. He didn’t hit shots, which he needs to do since it is at the core of his game but the other aspects of the game he played pretty well. He handled the point adequately. He battled on defense. He needs to be more consistent. His second half performance was far better than his first half performance where he didn’t seem to enter the game engaged in what was taking place.

• Kanter couldn’t buy a basket tonight.

• Jazz had a 11-2 run going in the 2nd quarter and the starters checked back in and lost the momentum. At the time it felt like a key part of the game but the starters took it back to a 10 point lead in the 3rd quarter. This is only the 4th game all year the jazz have lost when leading by 10.

• Marin Williams played inspired basketball tonight . This may be the best he has played since opening night. He hit shots, was aggressive on cuts and curls and played Nic Batum very well defensively. Before tonight he had played very few 4th quarter minutes and tonight he was on the finishing lineup

• Al Jefferson is being doubled every play and the Jazz can’t make a play out of it because of the lack of offense from Tinsley. This is going to make it really tough for Al to get looks.. Jazz started going to Millsap to get looks at the basket.

• Tough foul call on Marvin late but lot that needed to be done to not be in that position.

• Blazers are a .500 team – Jazz are a notch above .500 – no surprise the teams spit a home and home.