EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Solid win in mucked up game

• Solid Professional win for the Jazz tonight. The Suns aren’t good. They only have one choice but to muck up the game and the Jazz dealt with that and won convincingly.

• Jazz started the night 10-0 and the game was over. The Suns made a surge late but really had no chance to win the game.

• Gordon Hayward dominated the first quarter of the game. PJ Tucker is a tough defender. He is really physical and one of the few guys in the NBA that guys back away from. The minute PJ Tucker checkout out in the first quarter Hayward went nuts. He scored 14 points in the quarter 11 in final 6 minutes of the quarter.

• Jazz were able to get whatever wing rolling that PJ Tucker wasn’t guarding.

• Neto opened the game great again. 4 for 4 in the first quarter and he was a point off his career high for the night. He played 37 minutes tonight with Trey Burke back in Salt Lake City with the flu.

• Phoenix did some strange things tonight. They did a whole 5 man substitution. Then they played a lot of trapping zone. These things don’t work in the NBA. Earl has little choice right now with how his roster is put together so you can’t judge him for these moves but playing all 5 bench players and no starters has shown to be an issue in the NBA and there is a reason no one plays a trapping zone. But Phoenix is so short handed that they have to try things

• The Suns played Hack a Gobert and Rudy stuck it to them. He split the first free throws and then split it again before making the next 6 and going 8 for 10 on the 5 trips to the line.

• I believe tonight was about a 92 possession game so the Jazz defense allowed less than a point a possession again tonight.

• The Jazz defense in the third quarters of this win streak has been incredible allowing 33% shooting and tonight they held the Suns to 7 of 23 from the field to continue the stretch

• Jazz are really riding the starters right now with Hayward at 38, Favors at 30, Gobert at 34, Hood at 35 and Neto at 37 minutes of play. The Jazz need to find a way to get some solid bench minutes. That maybe what the trade deadline for.

• Hayward and Hood took 35 shots for 47 points That is really solid.

• Jazz didn’t commit a turnover in first 12 minutes and lead 31-12 after 1

• Hack A Gobert was awful and the league is clearly looking into a rule change but it is going to be really hard. Under 2 minutes Rudy Gobert ran up to pick for the ball handler and Tyson Chandler grabbed him and was called for an off ball foul sending Gobert to the line with under 2 minutes but it was really a Hack a Gobert. How they are going to legislate this out of the game is going to be very difficult.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Insane defense does it again

• Jazz win their 5th in a row and end the homestand at 5-1. When the homestand started the Jazz were not healthy yet and I said no matter the health of the team they had to go 4-2 or 5-1 to stay in the playoff race. The team is far healthier and now they are in the 8th spot of the playoffs

• The jazz defense in the 2nd half of the win streak has been incredible. The Jazz have been allowing 38.5 points in the 2nd half and tonight allowed 37 points.

• The Favors and Gobert combination is something amazing. Tonight they combined for 8 blocks and 7 steals. Those are remarkable numbers

• When the Jazz were losing close games they weren’t making the plays on the defensive end. Missing Favors and/or Gobert late in games was killing the defense. With both of them on the floor the Jazz have been able to make the defensive stops. The offense has been making plays late in games the whole time. Now they are getting the support of the defense as well.

• Three huge plays late in the game offensively. Neto had a gorgeous pass to Gobert for a dunk with 4:42 left to put the Jazz up 1. Bucks answered. Then Neto hit a three off a nice pass from Gobert with 4:02 left to give the Jazz a 2 point lead. Then Hayward hit a cold blooded ruthless three with 3:16 left to put the Jazz up 5. Hayward just walked into the three and the minute Jabari Parker went under on the pick he nailed it.

• Quin Snyder looks for match-ups late. The Bucks were switching everything so he ran picks to get Parker onto Hayward and then would run a pick and roll that made Parker and Monroe the primary defenders.

• The Bucks length and quickness was giving the Jazz fits all game. The passing lanes were closing faster than the Jazz realized and they were throwing the ball away a ton. The switching defense stagnated the Jazz offensive flow.

• Antetokoumpo is one of the best open court players in the NBA and the Jazz did a decent job cutting off his routes and making him play through a wall.

• Jabari Parker was really disappointing. His only field goal was on a jam follow on a miss. His dribble pull up game was not impressive. He didn’t impact the game. At best he is going to be Glenn Robinson

• Rodney Hood and Jerryd Bayless exchanged blows in the 2nd quarter. Hood scored 13 points in the quarter on 6 of 10 shooting. Bayless went 3 of 3 from three and had already hit 2 in the first quarter. Hood lead the Jazz with 23 points.

• Jazz trailed after the 1st quarter again. They have not lead after 1 since the Knicks game

• Gobert is scoring 14 points a game over the last 10 games. This might be the single most important thing with the team right now. If he is a threat at the rim it opens up spacing and shots on the outside. Moreover, he was 6 of 7 shooting. If he is scoring 15 points on 9 scoring opportunites that is a really big deal and makes the Jazz hard to beat.

• Favors 10 defensive rebounds are mammoth.

• Jazz played 8 minutes without a point guard

• Jazz bench wasn’t scoring tonight. They shot 2 for 15.

• Solid win. Ugly is the new beautiful. 5 in a row.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Ugly is the new Beautiful returns

• Jazz win their 4th in a row. Last year the slogan on radio was Ugly is the new Beautiful. That was tonight. The Jazz won this game with a slow down grind it out defensive battle. I had the game near 90 possessions and the Jazz only allowed 81 points. Incredible

• This was a perseverance win. The Jazz didn’t have a flow to the game and trailed heading into the 4th quarter. They took control of the game mid way through the 4th and then closed it out to the end. The Jazz have won 2 straight games they trailed going into the 4th quarter and they had only won 2 of those games all season prior to the last two games.

• The Jazz defense was unreal. The Jazz held the Nuggets to 10 of 35 shooting in the 2nd half of the game and just 4 of 17 in the 4th quarter.

• Gallinari is their half court offense and he only had 4 4th quarter points

• The Nuggets like to score in 2 manners, transition and 2nd chance points. The Nuggets got 15 fast break points but they didn’t seem impactful and they got just 9 2nd chance points.

• The Nuggets had scored 100 points in 9 straight games and the Jazz completed negated any sense of offensive flow.

• 10 block shots for the Jazz including one amazing sequence where they blocked three straight shots in a row. Favors had 6 blocked shots

• Having Derrick back makes all the difference in the world. He had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks. He is a beast on the defensive glass. He couldn’t find his jump shot at all tonight. Wow was he off and then when he had to nail the shot he did late in the 4th quarter.

• Mike Malone played the Hack a Gobert perfectly late in the game and Rudy made 1 of 2 free throws.

• Hayward defense on Gallinari was terrific and that is a tough matchup since Gallo is 6’10

• Booker added a huge energy boost to the game for the Jazz in the 2nd quarter.

• At halftime Gordon was 1 for 5, Hood was 2 for 7 and Burke was 0 for 2 and the Jazz trailed by just 6.

• Denver was just 4 of 18 from the three point line

• Neto was solid again tonight with 10 points and 4 assists. He is becoming a bonafide NBA point guard

• Winning begets winning in this league. Getting on a little streak is important and the Jazz have done that.