EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Burks, Hayward shine while starters struggle

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• Hard to overcome the starting unit getting handled as badly as it did tonight. Jazz started the 1st quarter slowly hitting just 3 of 12 to open the night and trailed 19-10 before the first sub. Then in the 3rd quarter they were outscored 13-0. Overall they got outscored 32-10 in 9 minutes.

• Marvin is really struggling. The three position in this offense is tough and he has not meshed with it yet. 3 of the last 4 games he has not scored. Tyrone Corbin said after the game that it might be time for some tweeks. I am not sure what the answer is on this. DeMarre brings a nice energy but has generally played better with bench unit than starters and Hayward who probably has earned the more minutes has been the strength of the bench and losing him with that group could be tough.

• Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks were both very good tonight. Hayward’s second quarter was as good as I have seen him being aggressive, getting into the lane, making plays and playing with the ball in his hand. These used to be turnovers and now he is getting calls. He had a career high in free throws made and taken . He was the best player on the floor for an extended period of time and that is how he was before he got hurt. He is a considerably better player than he was earlier this year . His growth is on course and exciting.

• Burks was solid. I am so impressed that he has linked all of these games without a burp. He has been consistent. He is playing much harder than he used to play. Moreover, he is defending. He played Chris Paul well, he dealt with Jamal Crawford ok and he played every possession. That is the biggest difference he is playing every possession. He made some great passes, he is letting the game come to him more than he did in the past as well.

• I think I write this every time, I love Burks rebounding. It adds an important part to the team. Hard to find many finals teams without a 5 rebound a game guard.

• Jazz were 1 for 15 from three.

• Tonight was the best example of where Derrick Favors is in his career. His defense knocked Blake Grifffin off his game. Blake got frustrated could get by his length, couldn’t drive on him with quickness and couldn’t find shooting windows. Favors was neutralizing Blake. However, Derrick got in foul trouble from the penetration of the guards and picked up 5 fouls in 22 minutes and Blake is a terrible defensive player. Millsap killed him in the first half and when Blake was guarded Favors, Derrick isn’t at a stage where offensively he could take advantage of Blake’s weakness. His defense is great, he needs to learn how to stay on the floor and offensively he is still limited in what he can do to an opponent.

• Millsap’s first quarter was terrific. While the rest of the team was off its game Millsap kept the Jazz alive.

• Interesting again to look at the Jazz big man combos. Overall this year the Favors/millsap combo has been much better than the Favors/Jefferson combo and tonight it went like this. Favors/millsap was +4 in the 1st quarter – Jefferson/ Favors was +9 in the 2nd quarter but -3 in the 3rd quarter

• Jazz point guard play is an issue. Earl did have 8 assists.

• Hayward was +12 to lead the team.

• 3 big ones this week – Jazz need to get all three – road basketball is hard on this team and they only have one win this season over a +500 team and that was a reeling Brooklyn team and the Jazz only play 4 more road games against -500 teams this. We have to win at home.