EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Plays to be made

• This one felt a lot like the Pacers game. The Jazz got that one and this one fell in the Bulls direction. The two games were very similar. They were played incredibly hard. They were played very well and the Jazz were pushed to their limit by strong physical defensive oriented team.

• Boozer did it. Without Derek Rose this year the Bulls have only had one clutch player late in games it has been Boozer. Everyone else has struggled badly and Boozer tonight scored 11 straight points down the stretch the carry the Bulls. The ultimate testament to Boozer maybe that even against Paul Millap he was able to go to his left. Millsap knows Boozer better than anyone and yet he was still able to get left.

• The Bulls lived off the Belinelli and Boozer pick and roll on the wing to close the game. They took the ball out of Nate’s hand when he got tired and reckless. Belinelli can really shoot it off the dribble and that forced the Jazz to respect him as a shooter and it got Boozer the ball in the middle of the floor and he went to work.

• Al Jefferson went the final 9:09 without a point . This is incredibly uncommon for the Jazz. It was around the 9 minute mark the Bulls started doubling Jefferson even before he got the ball. They had Noah fronting him and had another player sluffing on his back side making a high low pass almost impossible and then if Al got it in the left block they doubled him quickly.

• Jazz scored just 10 points in the final 9:10 of the game.

• There was play sequence in the 4th that I highlighted on the broadcast where the Jazz defended perfectly forced the Bulls to go from one option to the next and had them all covered the Bulls made one extra pass and Taj Gibson got a baseline jumper as the shot clock went off and he hit it. On the next possession the Jazz did the same thing, the Bulls worked it defensively, the Jazz made the extra pass and as the shot clock expired DeMarre Carroll got a wide open baseline jumper and he missed it. That was a just a two play sequence but it is a momentum play. It is also a reminder that this game is as simple as making plays.

• Another time the Jazz swung out of the double team made the passes that needed to be made and Marvin got a wide open jumper in a 83-83 tie with 2 minutes left and he missed. If he makes the game is entirely different. Jazz are up 2 with less than 2 minutes left and the clock starts to work against the Bulls. Make plays.

• The Jazz defense from midway through the third into the late 4th quarter was the best it has been all season. They were tight on the ball, they were rotating perfectly, they were dictating where the ball went rather than letting the offense dictate. It was terrific. The last 10 games has been the best defensive stretch of the year and this was a continuation of that effort.

• There is no stat for loose balls but the Bulls seemingly got every loose ball in the 1st half. Jeff Hornacek pointed it out at halftime that the Jazz were well below 50% on loose ball plays. Tom Thibedeau talked before the game that the battle for the ball in the air would win the game.

• Lots is being made out of Millsap corner three over Gibson with 17 seconds left. It is not the play the Jazz wanted. The inbound breaks down. Burks doesn’t get the ball where the play had hoped. Now Millsap gets the ball unsuspectingly and he tries to drive baseline on Gibson. He gets denied and is in the left corner with nowhere to go and he shots the three. He never suspected he was getting the ball. The Jazz are down three and the clock is moving faster in his head than in the game and he forces a bad look. Not sure what else he was supposed to do once his drive got denied.

• Burks played an strong game. His defense on Nate Robinson was some of the best I have seen from him. He made two nice shots, did go 2 for 6. For all the talk about how he goes to the line he has not been doing that very much. Not sure why maybe that is next. He is making strides. It is still really unclear as a player. Talking with the Bulls people after the game they were not sold on Burks they couldn’t see where and how he ever gets considerable minutes as a player. Not sure I agree with them but worth perspective from the other side.

• Marvin Williams defense on Luol Deng was very good. Been a long time since a small forward had a good game against Marvin.

• Joakim Noah is an all-star and showed why defending Al for the final 9 minutes

• No fun to do this but give the Bulls a ton of credit. They were on the final game of a 6 game trip, they had been humiliated the night before and when the game was on the line they made the plays. They hit the jumpers, they had the defensive prowess to deny where we want to go.

• Al Jefferson was awesome for most of the night. Both Jefferson and Millsap had season high points in the1st quarter.

• Would have been a huge win. If the team keeps playing like this they will have plenty of wins.