Thoughts of Utah Jazz Radio Play-By-Play Announcer David Locke
EMPTYING THE NOGGIN—Reconsider everything you know
Time to put everything you think about this team aside and reconsider. When they have been healthy they are 6-4. The four losses are to Portland, Phoenix, OKC and San Antonio. Four wins came on the road, plus wins over Phoenix, Denver and Houston. Things have to be reconsidered largely due to #3.
Defensively , things have to be reconsidered. The Jazz have played 19 of 28 games against the top 11 offensive teams in the NBA. Maybe this team is not as bad as we think they are defensively. Tonight they played a bad offensive team and they completely shut them down. The Magic shot 32.6%.
Derrick Favors was awesome defensively tonight despite being warn out by the big body of Nikola Vucevic. Talking to Magic people, Vucevic never goes 5-for-18 and interestingly rarely even takes 18 shots. This is because Favors undid his game tonight. Recently, Favors has been very good defensively.
The Jazz schedule has been insane and now they play the rest of the league and may be a lot better on both ends of the ball than we think. Time to reconsider.
The Jazz have made major defensive adjustments and tonight they only allowed 15 3-point attempts. Afflalo didn’t play, which helped a ton, but this is a considerable change and the Jazz over the last seven games have allowed the third fewest three attempts of anyone in the league and have played Portland, San Antonio and Miami in that span—time to reconsider.
Tonight is a road win against a bad team in the East. That is solid. It is a win that for the last few years we kicked away too often.
Now let’s get to Trey Burke. The kid has something to him. Last time he was in Orlando it was a mess, but tonight he came back and was the best player on the floor by a large margin. As Aaron Falk pointed out on Twitter, his four 3s tonight were three more than he hit during the entire summer league in Orlando.
Walking out tonight, a Jazz player said to me that Trey “has got some dog.” Not sure exactly what that means, but I wholeheartedly agree. He has a little something to him. He is not surprised by what he is doing.
The matchup of rookies was an insane mismatch—the #2 pick Victor Oladipo was 1-for-12 with five rebounds, three assists and two turnovers. Burke was 12-for-20, hitting 4-for-8 from three, with seven rebounds, eight assists and 30 points, with only two turnovers.
Trey Burke plays with a calmness to him. He reminds me of Lillard last year in that he seems unfazed by his surroundings and the speed of the game.
The bounce-back factor is big here. He got worked in Miami. Tyrone dealt with it very well. He took him out when he was a mess but let him get his grounding again rather than sitting him for the entire night in Miami.
Derrick Favors’ defense on the final play was perfect. He held his ground long enough to deny the pass and then came over and altered the shot, forcing Nelson to miss. We opened the broadcast with a note that Jameer Nelson was 12th in the league in drives but only scored 2.7 points on those seven drives—the lowest rate of anyone in the NBA. (That is why you should listen to the radio broadcast—try it sometime, you might like it.)
Gordon Hayward’s game is going to get lost tonight—15 points, (yes 6-for-15) but six rebounds and seven assists. More importantly, for a player that has not been super clutch in his early years, he nailed a big-time 19-footer with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter and hit both of his late game free-throws. That is from having the experience of being there in the past.
The last few nights, the primary five has been Burke, Burks, Hayward, Marvin and Favors. Interesting to watch this develop. Alec plays much better when he is on the floor with Trey. In 14 minutes, this lineup was +13. When Trey and Alec were on the floor together, we were +26.
I leave you with this: if we had been healthy to start the year and started 6-4, and then had a few injuries to become 6-7 and then Trey broke his finger and we went to 7-21, how would the narrative be different? We started 1-14 because Trey Burke was hurt—no other reason.