Emptying the Noggin —  Perfect offense, and then…

Summary: The Jazz played beyond perfection offensively to take a 21-point lead in the second half, but blew it and fell to the Mavericks in overtime.

  • This is a tough one to swallow — up by 21 with 6:00 minutes left in the third quarter. Up by four points with :20 left. Up two with :17 seconds left and the ball. These are scenarios where you are supposed to win the game. Tonight, the Jazz didn’t. Give Dallas a lot of credit for staying engaged in the game despite the Jazz’s performance early and the Mavs were able to pull out their 10th win in 15 games.
  • So many things went wrong late. Rudy Gobert committed his sixth foul with :20 left up four points when trying to deny Dirk the inbounds pass. Why Gobert was playing that aggressively at that moment with five fouls is unclear. The foul on Rudy was called before the inbounds pass, so the Mavericks got a tech free throw and the ball. Dirk missed the free throw, but the Mavericks scored on the inbound in less than a second on a Barnes dunk. Then, the Mavericks doubled Hayward so he couldn’t get the inbound. The Jazz didn’t have a point guard on the floor since George Hill didn’t play and it went to Burks who lost the ball when Harris knocked it off of Alec and out of bounds.
  • The Jazz were up just two points and Gobert had fouled out of the game. The Maverick’s missed their next attempt but without the rebounding of Gobert, the ball fell out to Dirk who was at the left elbow and he nailed the shot to tie the game. Hayward missed his chance to win the game and off to overtime the Jazz went.
  • Overtime without Hill, Hood and Gobert on the back end of a back-to-back having lost a 21-point lead went pretty much exactly as you would anticipate.
  • The Mavericks got rolling against the Jazz by forcing the Jazz into switches and bringing their little guards out on the floor against a Jazz big and with a stretched floor driving to the basket and scoring. Curry had two huge baskets late when he was guarded by Gobert on the switch and got by him for layups.
  • The Mavericks went on a 30-12 run to get back in the game.
  • The Mavericks led the game by five points — 30-25 — in the second quarter and the Jazz went to Joe Johnson with Rudy Gobert. Amazingly, the Jazz scored 27 points on the next 12 possessions. That is truly incredible.
  • The Jazz continued that incredible offense into the third quarter to take the 21-point lead. At one point, the Jazz threw three straight lobs to the rim. They were having a blast and rolling. Then they lost momentum and could never got it back
  • Quin tried lineup after lineup tonight. Without Hill, the Jazz tried playing Alec and then went with Ingles and Hayward with Joe Johnson. Dante Exum didn’t fare well in his start and had a brutal sequence where he allowed Justin Anderson through the lane on a free throw for a dunk follow and then wasn’t paying attention on the inbound and Yogi Farrell stole it from him on his first bounce as Dante looked away. Shelvin never got in a rhythm either, going 1 for 4 but he did have seven assists.
  • Hayward had 36 points — his season high.

When the Jazz got hot, Joe Ingles was a large part of it with four made 3s.

Emptying the Noggin — Jazz overpower Pels

Summary: On the second night of the road trip, the Jazz were equally as dominant as they were in the first game of the trip, completely overpowering the New Orleans Pelicans en route to a 33-point road win, 127-94.

  • Wow! The Jazz have been crazy good the last two games. The offense is just insane right now. The Jazz have scored 247 points in eight quarters against the 4th and 8th ranked defensive teams in the NBA. The Jazz are passing, moving, executing and getting good look after good look.
  • These performances have to make you begin to wonder how good the Jazz are or can be. They are 19-4 when George and Gordon play. They have won almost half of those games by 10 or more points. They are putting out lineups in every moment that are solid and are throwing 48 minutes of high caliber basketball at opponents.
  • The Jazz are scoring in every way imaginable: They are scoring out of sets; They are scoring out of reads; They are scoring in the opening floor off the push; They are scoring when a player breaks the offense and beats his man.
  • Gordon Hayward and George Hill are breaking the offense at times and beating their man for shots at the rim. These are really important plays because teams are guarding our sets tightly, and when George or Gordon can just beat their man, the lane is open because all other defenders are attached to the man they are guarding.
  • Dante Exum and Alec Burks combined for a bench backcourt that added a spice and tempo to the Jazz’s offense. They both pushed and ran off misses and got the Jazz early opportunities.
  • Dante Exum had a really solid game tonight. He had seven first quarter points and then added another four points to finish with 11 points, three rebounds and a team-high five assists.
  • All-Star Anthony Davis was a non-factor, as was the entire Pelicans roster. Davis finished 4 of 12 from the field and had 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Jazz started Derrick Favors on him and then Rudy Gobert switched over to him for a lot of the night. Davis was never engaged and never a factor.
  • The Pelicans’ last lead was 4-3. The Jazz led by seven points after the first quarter and nine points at the half. In the first half, the Pelicans shot an unreal 17 of 21 in paint. This was not sustainable as the Jazz are the number one defensive team in the paint this season and the Pelicans are the 26th at scoring in the paint. In the second half, they were 6 of 14.
  • Joe Johnson was brilliant tonight. He has been really great in three of the last four games. When he is playing the 4, he is an offensive force that people don’t have an answer for. Before this two-game stretch, the Jazz’s offense was scoring 121 points per 100 possessions with Joe and Rudy on the floor together and Joe Johnson at the 4. The Warriors are scoring 114 and they are the best in the NBA.
  • Joe Johnson had 27 points off the bench on 10 of 14 shooting and made six threes.
  • When George Hill, Joe Ingles, Gordon Hayward and Joe Johnson are on the floor together, all of them are shooting over 39% from three. How does someone guard that?
  • It was really interesting how the Pelicans reacted to the game. They were all praising the Jazz. Anthony Davis called the Jazz a great team and Motiejunas called the Jazz an example of how the Pelicans should play. Alvin Gentry called the Jazz a surgeon in the second half. Teams don’t usually do this to other teams, but the Jazz are showing how good they can be.

The Jazz might be really, really good.

Emptying the Noggin — Jazz’s win makes them 4th in the West

Summary: A furious fourth quarter comeback led by Gordon Hayward gave the Jazz a stunning 105-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets and moved them into fourth place in the West Conference standings.

  • The Jazz were dead, having been down nine points heading into the fourth quarter after a brutal stretch of basketball to close the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Jazz played George Hill, Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert — they all played the entire 12 minutes and led the Jazz to a 32-16 fourth and win.
  • The Jazz were down nine points when the last quarter started and trailed by 10 points — 92-82 — in the fourth. Then they dug in. The Hornets had just two field goals in the final eight minutes of the game (not counting Walker’s uncontested FG late). The Hornets had been the number one late game offensive team in the NBA.
  • Rudy Gobert’s defense was amazing in the paint late in the game. He patrolled inside and took away the Kemba driving lanes.
  • The Jazz forced Kemba left on the pick and roll as much as they could. He was not as effective going to his left than he was to his right.
  • Gordon Hayward was incredible tonight: 33 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists. He hit on 13 of 20 shots and the game looked so easy for him tonight. He has put it on the Hornets a few times in his career and this was tied for the fifth highest point total of his career. His fourth quarter was awesome — 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting and 3 of 4 from the line.  Ron Boone talked on Postcast about the calmness and confidence he played with tonight.
  • There was an interesting matchup to open the night when Frank Kaminsky was on Rudy Gobert and the Jazz couldn’t take advantage on the offensive end and Kaminsky scored 10 points in the opening 3:20 of the game.
  • Walker didn’t seem right tonight as he has been battling an illness.
  • George Hill looked like he had his legs in this game and he hit on 8 of 11 shots and 5 of 8 from three for 25 points. The Jazz are 11-0 when Hill scores 20.
  • Joe Johnson was great again tonight. A rested Joe Johnson is a really good Joe Johnson. He had 18 points, hit 4 of 7 from three, added 6 rebounds and 4 assists and hit numerous mammoth shots.
  • AB was 1 of 9.
  • Joe Ingles tied his career high with 9 rebounds. It was the ultimate Joe night. He was +5 despite being 1 for 6 shooting.
  • Dante Exum had an awesome first half tonight. He was aggressive, hit a three, picked up the tempo and executed the game plan defensively. In the third quarter, he had something close to the opposite, though he did make a nice shot in the lane. He is not at the point where it is fair to expect him to be a consistent player. He doesn’t have the experience and time to achieve that. That is what makes this so difficult; On a really good team, those mistakes are more painful than on a bad team. This was a good night for Dante and a step in the right direction. It is not a linear road, however.

The Jazz are 4th in the West.