EMPTYING THE NOGGIN—Kanter strong, Jazz fade

  • Similar game to the other night where the Jazz pushed a superior team to its limit and then the playoff team kicked in and pulled away from the Jazz. In both of these games the Jazz played really well for an extended period of time, but in the end the playoff team made the necessary plays late in the game.
  • Enes Kanter had his seventh 20-10 game of his career and his sixth this season. He added a career-high four assists. Considering his entire rookie year he had eight assists, four in one game is great progress. Kanter did a lot of different things offensively. He is hitting the left baseline jumper at around 50% this year. He also worked to the middle of the lane for a hook. He tried to drive a few times, and most of all he used his body to get opportunities on the offensive glass. This was a very nice performance by Kanter.
  • Kanter seemed to get tired as the night went on (not surprising at 36 minutes) and Gobert didn’t give the Jazz as much as he had some of the other nights, so Kanter got asked for more tonight. Kanter is doing a better job defensively and he is trying to hold his verticality—however, he really lacks the length and athleticism to protect the rim.
  • Utah went just 8-for-22 from the field in the fourth quarter. Most of the struggles were to open the fourth, when the Blazers broke away on 16-4 run over the first 6:37 of the game. The Jazz had Garrett, Burks, Hayward, Evans and Gobert on the floor to start the quarter. Kanter and Jefferson came in at the 10:04, and Burke, Marvin and Hayward re-entered at the 6:10 mark, and none of them turned the tide.
  • Jazz got a matchup they liked in the fourth with Lillard trying to guard Hayward—and Hayward torched him. At the same time, Jefferson struggled with Matthews and when the Jazz brought Alec back to deal with Matthews, Lillard switched off of Hayward.
  • The fourth-quarter drought was connected to Alec not finding a way to score like he had in the past games. Alec was 0-for-4 with a turnover in that stretch. The Jazz were 1-for-11 with five turnovers in this stretch.
  • For a while the Jazz avoided having Trey and Gordon off the floor at the same time, but this seems to no longer be as much of a focus. The Jazz were -6 when both were on the bench tonight.
  • The Blazers allow the ball handler on the pick and roll to get good looks, and throughout the season have allowed big numbers to opposing point guards and ball-handing wings. Trey and Gordon took advantage of that tonight. Trey was 8-for-16 and went over 20 points for the first time since the game in Detroit.  Hayward had 17 on 5-for-11 shooting and only took one three tonight. The two also combined for 14 assists and 13 rebounds.
  • Hayward went to the line six times.
  • Utah’s 16 turnovers were a lot against a team that doesn’t force turnovers. Five players had at least two, led by Alec’s three.
  • Lillard was the star late. After going scoreless in the third quarter, he went for 15 in the fourth to take over the game without LaMarcus Aldridge available.