EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Impressed by Burks, the culture of winning and DeMarre

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• Jazz survived against the Kings. One side of me thinks the Jazz were lifeless and slow to start the game and didn’t play with the energy they needed to win and the other side of me wonders if the Jazz played the entire year without Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Earl Watson and a noticeably limping Jamaal Tinsley who they be any better than the Kings 17-32. What I am saying is before I say the Jazz stole a win even though they played poorly I am not sure what they are capable of with the combinations they are putting on the floor.

• I think a lot of this win has to go to the culture of who the Utah Jazz are as a franchise. Winning is expected and in contrast it is not expected in Sacramento. The Jazz know how to win, how to make the plays, how to handle the late game situations, and that is why they won the game.

• I am very impressed by Alec Burks tonight. He had a dreadful first stint. When he came off the floor Corbin grabbed him and talked to him for a moment and then sat him down with Randy Foye where Sydney Lowe took a few moments with the two of them. When Burks came back in the 2nd half he played a ton better. He is not a natural point guard. He is being asked a to do a tremendous amount and he stepped up to the task tonight . He hit some jumpers, he made some plays and he got the team into the offense. He is not one who is making a lot of point guard plays but he was able to keep the team running and then in the overtime hit a huge jumper to put the Jazz up 90-87. A big questions about Burks is his toughness. He is so cool and so relaxed and does he have the work and toughness he needs to make the strides in the NBA. He showed a level of toughness tonight that he had not displayed to this point. This was a good night for Burks.

• I am impressed the Jazz were able to win a close game without Al Jefferson making shots late n the game. Jefferson had just 5 points after the 2nd quarter. Yet, the Jazz made plays to win the game. Foye hit a huge three to make it 82-78 with 4:13 left, Marvin hit a monster three to give the Jazz the lead at 83-82 and Burks and Millsap made big shots in overtime. That is impressive.

• Randy Foye is doing a lot of things for the Jazz right now, he lead the team in assists and in points. Usually when the Jazz have relied on him to have the ball in his hand the offensive shooting goes away tonight he was able to deliver both. He also had the assignment on Tyreke Evans, that is a lot of work over 36 minutes tonight.

• The Kings are better when DeMarcus Cousins is out of the game. They play as a group, they work together on defense and they aren’t worrying about placating his desires. He is messed up. If anyone trades for him it will be the death of their franchise.

• DeMarre !!! He has become a great story on surviving in the NBA, altering your game to be more effective and impacting games. He always impacts the game. He has become a very important part of this team and what he brings to the table. The junkyard dog with a new found sold jumper.

• Bizarre stat of the night. Al Jefferson had 5 assists. I felt as though he was as disengaged with his teammates I had seen him since his first year here. He took every shot for the Jazz in the opening 6:00 minutes and in the 2nd quarter and 3rd quarter didn’t seem to see what has happening around him. Yet he finished with 5 assists

• Jazz move to 9-1 in last 10 home games. That is what they had to do after the road swing early in the year. 27-22 on the season. Only 1.5 ahead of 9th place Portland and 4.5 (plus tiebreaker) ahead of Lakers. Still a lot of work to be done.