EMPTYING THE NOGGIN—Clippers in the league’s elite

  • The Clippers are a far better team, and it is obvious they are a title contender. We are not at that point. I thought the Jazz battled hard and tried to endure the battle against a team with a ridiculous amount of experience and talent. We have a lot of these nights on the schedule the rest of the way, and it will be good to remind ourselves of the talent discrepancy and experience discrepancy on these nights.
  • During the first half the Jazz mucked the game up and got into a halfcourt game without transition and were able to keep it tied at 42 going into halftime. It  is impressive to me this year that the Jazz have been able to dictate portions of the game at times against elite-level teams.
  • Kanter put together an impressive game: 23 points (10-for-19 shooting) and 14 rebounds (eight offensive).
  • The Clippers are 20-3 at home (and have won seven straight). The Jazz are now 3-22 when they don’t have their complete starting lineup.
  • Los Angeles did some interesting things tonight defensively. First, it was clear they had a plan for Alec Burks, and this felt like the first time I had seen a team so clearly plan for him. They clogged the lane on his drives. Perimeter players were leaving guys to help in the lane and take away Burks’ ability to get momentum to the rim.  Alec is a drive first and try-to-score guy. He passes when all other options are exhausted. The way to combat this is to drive with the intention of bringing defenders to him and then pass. Alec has an elite-level skill that is forcing teams to alter their defense. That is a really big deal. Now his next step to becoming a bonafide weapon is learning how to take advantage of that.
  • Trey is shooing below 25% over the last six games and has not finished in the restricted area. He is 0-for-10 in the restricted area over the last six games.
  • The Clippers also went back to doubling Gordon off all pick and rolls. Teams went away from this when Burke got rolling. However, with Trey struggling they went back to it. Burke will get a chance to make plays again.
  • The Clippers focused on Burke, Burks and Hayward, and you could tell as the threesome went 6-for-34 for the game.
  • You don’t want a rookie who goes on the floor and has no impact, and we certainly don’t have to worry about that with Rudy Gobert—five points, four rebounds and six fouls in 19 minutes.
  • I keep waiting for Brandon Rush to find his groove and I keep thinking it is close … and then it just doesn’t click. I’m sure it will soon, because he is too good of a player to be unimpactful (that is not a word but I like it).
  • Really impressed by the effort of Marvin Williams tonight. He battled Blake Griffin in a matchup where he was a bit overwhelmed, and he finished with nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
  • The remaining schedule doesn’t have a lot of nights where the Jazz will be favored. The process is going to be interesting to follow. How does Trey deal with these struggles? Will other teams guard Alec the same? And how do teams deal with Gordon?