EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Two plays that changed the game and great all around effort

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• Very impressive performance from the Jazz tonight – lead by 10 in every quarter. Never trailed the entire night. Warriors only had one possession in 4th quarter when the game got to 6 points in the final 17 minutes of the game.

• Jazz are now 6th in the West, 7 games over .500 for the first time all year and Tyrone Corbin is above .500 as a head coach for the first time.

• Contrast this to the last time the Jazz played the Warriors and you can see how much progress the Jazz are making as a team. They are playing together and Coach Corbin has been able to find more options and more lineups to advance this team forward.

• Jefferson has really changed his offensive game. He is playing much more as a face up player and then driving to the basket rather than playing exclusively playing as a back to basket player. It allows him more air space, it allows him to be able to see the floor better, it allows him to attack the rim off the dribble. It makes him a very different player than he was two years ago or even a year ago. Keep an eye on this it might be a real game changer. It is how David Lee went from a nice player with low efficiency to an all-star.

• The zone defense that stymied the Jazz the last time these teams met was no problem for the Jazz tonight. They attacked, they moved the ball side to side and Hayward and Burks hit back breaking three’s that forced the Warriors to lose confidence in the zone.

• Alec Burks continues – he has strung a nice elongated stretch of games together at a very high level. Tonight he logged 25 minutes 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists. To be a good team you have to have a rebounding guard. Burks work on the boards has changed this team a great deal. The defense has been markedly better with Burks on the floor and it is the 1 or 2 defensive rebounds he is grabbing that used to be offensive rebounds. In addition, his length is a nice asset.

• Burks 13 pts in 25 mins, Favors 14 in 21 mins and Hayward 17 in 24 — that is awesome. Growth. They are all better players then they were a three months ago. The climb by these three and Kanter over the last month has been noticeable and it is going to make the Jazz very tough to deal with down the home stretch.

• Millsap had struggled against Lee in the past and tonight he handled the night well. 14 points and 9 rebounds.

• The Warriors were on a 5-0 run in the 4th quarter and the game was feeling tight. Jazz missed a shot and the Warriors got a transition three and Kanter stayed out on Curry at the three point line and contested the shot rather than running to the middle of the paint as he might have done if he hadn’t been totally engaged in the game. This was a big play and nice sign of attention to detail by Kanter. Curry missed and Foye missed a three on the other side and then Jack was pushing on a fast break still on the 5-0 run and Watson ripped the ball away from Jack. Time out came and the Jazz still lead by 5. Without those two plays the game is tied. Instead the Jazz come out of the timeout and score on a nasty Millsap jump and then two Favors free throws and the game is done.

• The Warriors are in a lot of trouble – that is 6 in a row and they are not defending at all.

• The Jazz defense may have been better than we realize tonight. Warriors are 9th best offensive team and allowing 101 points n a game that had 94 possession isn’t great but it is solid.

• Interesting to see what happens over the next 36 hours. Have to admit I am pretty attached to these guys at this point.