Rudy Gobert terrific in return but Jazz can’t stop Knicks in 117-115 loss.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN

SUMMARY:  Jazz fell to the New York Knicks 117-115  despite a tremendous return for Rudy Gobert

Jazz had a furious rally back late in the 4th quarter and had three three point looks on one possession with :30 left to tie the game but none of them went down.  Donovan Mitchell forced a poor look three, but Rubio sprinted across the lane for the rebound and found a wide open Joe Johnson for three, he missed.  The Jazz got the rebound and kicked to an open Joe Ingles and he missed and the Jazz were done.  Two of the Jazz best three point shooters for the tie and it didn’t go down.

On the previous play with :49 left Joe Johnson got a wide open corner 3 looked and that missed as well.

The Jazz defense was not good enough tonight. The Knicks offensive rating is a 107.  Tonight it was a 114.  The Jazz defense needs to be better than average to win games and a better than average defense tonight would have had the Knicks in the 102 range.

The Jazz changed the starting lineup tonight and went with Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. The first quarter struggles didn’t end as Jazz trailed 14-9 at the first substitution. In the third quarter it worked better as the Jazz went from down 6 to up 3.

Rodney Hood scored very well in the first half of the game and finished with 18 points, but has been having a hard time with a chin calf issue, thus the tape he has been wearing on this leg and he was unable to finish the game and will be re-evaluated tomorrow. This is really too bad since he was inserted into the starting line-up tonight and it is important for he and Donovan to figure out what they can do to compliment each other’s games.

Rudy Gobert returned tonight was terrific. He had a huge impact on the game both offensively and defensively.   The Knicks grabbed Rudy and didn’t want to let Rudy dunk.  Jeff Hornacek has always talked about not allowing dunks when on the road and that seemed to be the strategy tonight to not allow Rudy to get follow dunks.  He went to the line time and time again.  His defensive presence was obvious as for the first time in weeks players drove to the basket and then couldn’t get a shooting window so they forced in traffic passes.

The Knicks run a left side dribble handoff where Courtney Lee came from the corner for the handoff and curled tight into the lane time and time again in the third quarter. It allowed Courtney Lee to end up with 13 points in the 3rd

The end of the 3rd quarter was the game changer as the Jazz went from up to down 7 as we headed into the 4th

Donovan Mitchell had a tough night. He couldn’t find the room to have the impact he has had in some of the past games and his off the dribble three is not a very high percentage shot right now.   The Knicks even went under on a few high pick and rolls and dared him to shot.  He missed.

These three home losses to the Knicks, Pacers and Pelicans are going to make a playoff push hard to come by for the Jazz. They are 5 wins behind the Clippers for 8th and 5 wins ahead of the Kings for last in the West.

Donovan Mitchell joins elite company as Jazz blow out Kings

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
Summary: Jazz get back on winning track against young and inferior Sacramento Kings

• Donovan Mitchell wowed another crowd tonight. In the first half he had 11 points some of which made the crowd go ohhh then the third quarter came and he completely took over the game. He added another 11 in the third quarter and then 12 in the 4th quarter for a 34 point outburst.

• He did it without the three point shot. Mitchell hit just one three all night, a banker. He scored only 7 of his 34 points outside of the paint.

• This was Mitchell’s 5th 30 point game of the season. In the last 30 years the only players who have 5 30 point games in their teams first 44 games during their rookie season were David Robinson, Shaq O’Neal, Blake Griffin, LeBron James and Allen Iverson. All of these guys were #1 picks. All of them are going to the Hall of Fame. This is incredible company.

• Donovan continues to improve in areas where he has struggled. He struggled early in the season finishing at the rim. Since then he has mastered that to a rate of 66% around the rim. Now he has added a paint non restricted area shot as teams have cut him off from the rim. These are tough looks, the lowest percentage in the NBA. However after shooting poorly on those he has now added a floater and is scoring at a high rate on those shots.

• Donovan shot 13 of 15 on 2 point shots

• Sacramento is not a good team and Garrett Temple didn’t play who is their best on ball defender so Donovan was feasting on a rather porous defense.

• The Jazz hit the three point shot again tonight. Prior to tonight over the last 13 games the Jazz were hitting just 30% of their three point shots, last in the NBA. Tonight the Jazz were 12 of 29 from three for 41%.

• Rodney Hood had a nice offensive night with 25 points on 9 of 16 shooting and hit on 4 of 9 from three. Rodney also had 8 rebounds.

• Joe Ingles found his stroke going 4 of 7 from three after struggling to start the night.

• The Jazz three point defense continues to struggle as the Kings hit on 13 of 21 from three and Bogdan Bogdanovic was the main culprit going 6 for 6 from three. Bogdanovic had 25 while Willie Cauley Stein had 26.

• Royce O’Neale was +13 for another great +/- night

• Jazz took a 23-21 lead at the end of the 1st quarter when Rodney Hood hit a buzzer beater. Then they stretched the lead with 29-21 second quarter and eventually got the lead to 20 points in the third quarter before cruising to the win.

• Jazz were the superior team tonight and took care of a win they had to get against a Kings team that will make a strong push for worst record in the NBA.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Tough night back at home for the Jazz

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN

Summary: The Indiana Pacers took control of the game early and as long as Victor Oladipo was on the floor were in complete control on their way to a 109-94 win.

• The Indiana Pacers might be really good. They are now 24-20 but when Victor Oladipo plays they are 24-15. Tonight they were the superior team.

• The Jazz made two runs in the game and both times were when Victor Oladipo was off the floor. The Pacers have been considerably better all season when he is on the floor, but tonight it was ridiculous as the Pacers were +27 when Oladipo was on the floor and -12 the 13 minutes he was on the bench.

• The Jazz offense is really struggling. They came in 30th over the last 15 games and were missing wide open looks for much of the night. It feels a bit collective right now. They are getting looks. Donovan Mitchell in particular is getting enough attention to get guys open looks, but they are not going down.

• Jazz were down 20 going to the 4th quarter 85-65. Neither side of the ball was strong. Ricky Rubio was 1 for 7. Rodney Hood was 3 for 10, Royce O’Neale was 2 for 6, Jonas Jerebko was 2 for 6, The Jazz collectively were 5 of 24 from three.

• Thank goodness for Donovan Mitchell. He had another superb night. He had 23 points on 8 of 16 shooting. He continues to find a way to score in an efficient manner.

• Derrick Favors was a beast around the rim tonight, going 8 of 12 from the field. The defense was not good when he was on the floor tonight as the Jazz were outscored by 30 points when he was on the floor.

• Joe Ingles has been awesome all year extending himself to 30 plus minutes a night and giving the Jazz everything he has. However, he seems to be on empty. He didn’t score in 20 minutes or get a rebound. Ingles is not always a big scorer but he is a crocked box score guy with lots of diversity to his game and right now that is not with him.

• The Jazz looked worn out. No other way to say it. It was a tough night for the Jazz.