EMPTYING THE NOGGIN Jazz do two things they will need to do all year

SUMMARY: Jazz defense exposed all of Phoenix weaknesses in a 120-102 blowout of the Suns in pre-season game #4
• If the Jazz are going to be good this year they will need to do two things they did tonight. First, they will need to be good defensively when Rudy Gobert is off the floor. Second, they will need to take advantage of inferior teams.

• Last year, when the Jazz went to Derrick Favors and Joe Johnson as the front court the defense was a wreck. The defensive rating was 126, league average is about 106.5 and the worst in the league is 112. Overall the defense was 107.5 when Gobert was off the floor. Tonight, Derrick Favors and Epke Udoh had terrific defensive nights.

• Derrick Favors is able to play the pick and roll much more aggressively than Rudy Gobert. With Gobert’s ability to defend the rim when he is involved in a pick and roll you want him to drop back toward the basket. When Favors is involved he can step up and play even to the screen or even a step above the screen and really impact the ball handler. He did that tonight and it caused Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker a great deal of discomfort. It helps that the Suns don’t have a great roll big or great passers.

• The Jazz dominated this game with their defense, exposing the weaknesses of the Suns. The Suns are not good passers. The Jazz forced 31 turnovers. The Jazz defense was rotating very well and getting into the passing lanes as well as anticipating the next pass. At the same time, Phoenix is not a good passing team and too often start to pass with no idea where it is going.

• The Jazz are going to need to beat bad teams this year. Moreover, they are going to have to dominate them defensively. The Jazz roster is deep, but it doesn’t have anyone who can carry the load for a night while the other guys get a break. Instead, the Jazz will have to bring high level effort each night and most of all when playing inferior teams.

• Ricky Rubio stole a pass on the opening possession of the game and took it for a layup. It ignited the Jazz defense and Rubio’s offense. Rubio scored 9 straight points to open the game and 20 in the first half of 8 of 10 shooting.

• Epke Udoh is really good defensively. He had a steal out on the floor where he reached in a stole a ball from Bledsoe and he is regularly blocking shots that no one anticipates. He is not tall, but he is long and it is as though offensive player don’t expect him to get to some of the shot he is able to alter or block.

• Raul Neto played the majority of the back up point guard moments. Quin Snyder said on the pre-game show he doesn’t want to burden Mitchell with the point guard responsibilities. Donovan Mitchell joined our post game show and said playing the point changes his mentality entirely from playing the shooting guard.

• Alex Burks got the back up three minutes in the first half

• Tony Bradley has learned a nice floater around the rim. He has a very good quick release on the shot.