EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz collapse in Cleveland

• This is a terrible loss. No other way to slice it. Coupled with the Lakers comeback in New Orleans and the playoffs look like they are in serious jeopardy. To collapse like this is awful. You can’t lose these two games when 1 game is going to decide the playoff outcome. I just feels like things are slipping away the wrong direction.

• The Jazz lead this game by 8 with 2:46 left and made every mistake they had to lose the game. If they had not made one of them they win. Millsap got caught under the basket and got blocked by CJ – Irving misses with 2:00 left but the Cavs get the rebound and Irving gets fouled and making 1 of 2 free throws. Jazz by 5 with 2:00 left. Jazz run 13 off the clock and Hayward gets fouled – all looks good still but he makes 1 of 2. Jazz up 6 with 1:47 to play. Irving makes 2 free throws and then Mo Williams tries to hit the home run shot and be a hero in Cleveland on his first game back and with 8 on the shot clock misses a three – Irving misses a layup but the Cavs get another offensive rebound and Irving scores plus a foul and it is suddenly a 1 point game with 1:07 left. Hayward turns it over under duress in the front court, Ellington dunks and the Cavs lead it by 1. Jazz have a chance with :56 seconds left and Foye tuns it over stepping on the baseline. Foye plays great defense on Irving and he misses and the Jazz still have a chance but Mo Williams has a layup to take the lead with 4.9 seconds left and it misses. I don’t know how. Just crushing.

• The killer is this wipes out a night of really strong performances. It felt like the jazz were going to have a going away road win. I can’t recall the last time they had a going away win on the road if they have this year.

• Kanter was terrific this evening. He made two plays that make me begin to believe is he going to be a great offensive player. I have always thought he was going to be Carlos Boozer offensively and tonight I am almost sure of it. He made two plays off the pick and roll from Hayward, one of them was on the right wing where he stopped and hit a 15 foot jumper and the most impressive was on a play in the lane where going full speed he was able to stop in the lane and make a shot without going out of control. On another play he kept the ball up high and finished at the rim. Kanter was the best player on the floor for most of the time he was on the floor tonight.

• In Milwaukee Kanter finished and tonight Favors did. I didn’t talk to Tyrone Corbin after the game but I have to believe they are related. I would think that Favors closed tonight in some way in reaction to not closing against Milwaukee. Not sure how it would have impacted the outcome but neither night worked out. Seems like larger issues were at hand but tough that neither night worked out.

• The growth of all the young players has been incredibly impressive the last few nights. I love what I am seeing out of Burks. His rebounding is such an invaluable skill for this team. He playing the game at such a good pace and letting the game come to him. Every now and again he forces it and it is a mistake but he is doing it rarely enough that it is ok because it works some and it keeps the defense honest. His jumper has been solid

• In Milwaukee lots of the mistakes were related to inexperience tonight I didn’t see that at all. Frankly, all night the mistakes were made by the veterans. Guys just blew it on the game plan. Jeff Hornacek told us at halftime that guys were just forgetting what the game plan said. For example Tristan Thompson only goes right and yet we continually let him go right all night.

• Mo Williams was 0 for 7 in the second half

• Foye guarded Irving down the stretch. Irving shot 2 of 6 – he hit a 15 footer and got 2 on a 2nd chance, he also went 4 of 5 from the line. He is as good as they come late in games.

• Derrick had a Tyson Chandler night tonight – 12 rebounds, 6 points and 4 blocks.

• Gordon handled being the load of the offense much better tonight with 25 points and 7 assists. That is a big time night.

• Weird thing about the night is not once did I think about Al and that he wasn’t playing and then went it got to Al time the team was completely lost. Would they learn without him? I love the way the team played for 44 minutes tonight. The game had lulls and they missed parts of the game plan but the effort was strong and they played a great team game but late they missed the control of the game. They needed one play and they couldn’t make it.

• Hope this is not the night we look back on when the season is over.