EMPTYING THE NOGGIN — Jazz adjust in the second half to roll over Mavericks
SUMMARY: The Jazz turned a 14-point first half deficit into a blowout win over Dallas Mavericks, 104-89.
• The Jazz defense took control of the game in the second half, holding the Mavericks to 36 second-half points and 14 of 35 shooting. More impressively, Utah limited the Mavs’ 3-point attempts to 10, only allowing them to connect on three.
• Rodney Hood followed a trend he has had all year which is a slow first quarter and a good third quarter. However, tonight he took the good third quarter to a brand new level, finishing with 20 points in the second half. His third quarter ignited the Jazz on 10-2 to start the third quarter and never cooled off.
• Rudy Gobert had his best night of his career last year against Dallas with 27 points and 25 rebounds and tonight he might have surpassed it with a 6 x 4. He finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, a career high six assists and a season high six blocks. The Mavericks regularly drove to the basket and threw it back out because of Gobert’s presence. This is a huge part of why Dallas turned the ball over 24 times.
• In pregame, Quin Snyder said that the guys had to guard their yard and not get put in the blender. This meant stopping guard penetration, because if they get into the paint and everyone has to help them, the defense looks like it is out of sorts. The Jazz were over-helping in the first half according to Coach Snyder. The Mavericks hit on 9 of 14 in the first half and in the second half, they weren’t getting the same looks.
• Ricky Rubio has scored 20 points in back-to-back games and got rolling a bit in the second half. He hit on 8 of 15 and 4 of 8 from 3 to finish the game with 20 points and six assists. Rubio’s defense was the best part of his game, and he had four steals. Before the game, Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle talked about how hard it is to switch defensively on Rubio because he gets his hand on so many balls. There was a play tonight where Rubio was switched onto Dirk. Dirk got the ball in the post and Rubio reached around and got near the ball or made contact and ruined Dirk’s rhythm on the shot and he missed. It is a subtle play, but it is what makes the Jazz an elite defensive team.
• In every game this year, the Jazz have had defensive stretches where they completely shut down their opponent. They did it again tonight Dallas scored four points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter. The Jazz did that again in the middle of the fourth when Dallas scored six points from the 7:40 mark to the when the white flag went up with a minute left.
• Rudy Gobert was +32; Rodney Hood and Joe Ingles were +30.
• J.J. Barea had 17 points in the first half and was giving Donovan Mitchell fits defensively. On back-to-back possessions, Mitchell strayed away (over helped) and J.J. moved just far enough away to get wide open 3s and he couldn’t miss.
• Thabo Sefolosha has a huge impact on the game defensively with his length.
• In the Jazz’s first two offensive possessions of the game, Rudy Gobert hit a 15-footer and Derrick Favors hit a corner 3. They made both but it was Dallas getting Utah to take the shots they wanted the Jazz to take. As the night went on, the Jazz dictated where they were going to get their looks offensively.
• Turnovers have been a big issue, with the Jazz turning it over on about 20% of their possessions. Tonight the Jazz only turned the ball on 13.9% of their possessions.
• This was a solid win to run away in a game when they were down and being outplayed. This home stand is all about winning the games they need to win.