EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Stunning loss for Jazz

• Stunning loss for the Jazz. The Clippers left the entire starting line-up back in Los Angeles and the Jazz weren’t able to take advantage. This is a game at home that you need to win if you are going to make the playoffs.

• Every player on the Los Angeles Clippers was more experienced than every player on the Utah Jazz (other than CJ Wilcox) and it showed throughout the entire night. The Clippers made so many plays that were veteran smart plays.

• Doc Rivers said before the game I have a number of minutes in mind for Jamal Crawford I know how many minutes he is going to play. Evidently that was 49 minutes. Crawford was the best player on the floor tonight. He controlled the game and had 30 points including the game winning three.

• On the final play Doc Rivers got the switch he wanted with Jamal Crawford on Derrick Favors and Crawford got into rhythm and he did what he has done his whole career and made a huge shot

• The Jazz had the game won in regulation. The Clippers ran a pick and roll for the final play in regulation down 2 and Aldrich got the basket. Hayward came over and made a great defensive play and forced a miss. Favors came into to get the rebound and seemed to have it in his hands but Aldrich ripped it away and put it back in. It is so rare that Derrick gets his hands on a ball and doesn’t corral the rebound but Aldrich wanted it really badly on that final play.

• Gordon missed the shot to win it at the horn. Hayward is now 6 of 13 in the final 24 seconds of a close game this year.

• Hayward had his 6th ever 20-10-5 game. First time the Jazz have ever lost. When the team lacked juice Hayward tried to will the Jazz to victory. At times he over did it and that lead to 7 turnovers. He finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists

• Cole Aldrich killed the Jazz big men tonight with 21 points and 18 rebounds.

• Clippers got the game to be played small. Ingles played a lot at the 4. The Jazz have not been very successful with Ingles as the 4 this year.

• The Jazz lost their 26th game that has been within 5 points with 5 minutes left. They are 27th in the NBA defensively in those circumstances and 27th in defensive rebounding. For the 2nd time in 10 days (Warriors) game the Jazz didn’t grab a defensive rebound that would have won the game.

• Rodney Hood was terrific v. San Antonio and the opposite tonight. He doesn’t go to the free throw so his nights are completely predicated on how he shoots the ball. At this stage of his career he has had as many good night as he has had bad nights. Hood still has more games this year under 9 points than he has over 19.

• Its about making shots. Shelvin Mack has a three to go up 10 last in the 4th and if he hits the game is over. Didn’t.

• Jazz guards were a combined 8 of 28 and 2 of 16 from three.

• Jazz fast breaks are a killer. Had a 3-1 got nothing and three other fast breaks that yielded nothing.

• Jazz have to win next 3 to secure a playoff without help.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz take the best to the wire again

• Incredible basketball game. Such an impressive performance by the Jazz. The Spurs and the Warriors are two of the five greatest teams in the history of the game and the Jazz have taken both of them to the final possession.

• Nothing went the way this game should for the Jazz. They couldn’t hit threes, they were struggling offensively and they fell behind by 16 to open the 4th quarter. Lights out. The Spurs are 57-4 when they lead going to the 4th. Instead, the Jazz rallied behind Joe Ingles three point shooting and incredible performance by Rodney Hood.

• The Jazz defense is elite. The Spurs are the 3rd best offense in the NBA and the Jazz held the Spurs to 44% shooting and 88 points. The Jazz are dictating how games are played right now and it makes them very formidable.

• Rodney Hood’s 4th quarter was marvelous. He had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists in the 4th quarter and was guarded by Kwahi Leonard for a lot of the quarter.

• The Jazz had two principals to the defensive game plan. Keep Parker out of the lane and avoid the duck in plays for Aldridge and Leonard. They did a fabulous job executing the plan. Aldridge had a big first quarter and then was very quiet the rest of the night and didn’t do a lot of work in the post. He has always struggled v. Gobert. Leonard was 5 of 14. Parker was 4 of 13. Incredible to keep those guys down.

• Offensively the Jazz were trying to get to the middle of the floor with switches and they did and gave Aldridge the business tonight. They were abusing him

• The Spurs got two huge threes late – Parker hit a three from the left corner over Gobert as the shot clock expired. The Spurs executed a play with 2:00 left perfectly and Kyle Anderson made a huge three. The Jazz missed a bunch of wide open threes in the 2nd and 3rd and the Spurs made those two.

• Jazz were on the wrong side of a 21-4 run from the 1st quarter to the 2nd quarter. This was not self-inflicted this was just missing shots. Chris Johnson had two wide open threes and Trey Lyles had one but they didn’t fall and the Spurs took advantage.

• Tim Duncan won his 1,000th game. Jordan didn’t play 1,000 games. Think this is the last time we see Tim Duncan is SLC. I would have rather honored his career.

• Shelvin Mack makes all the difference. He has settled this team and is a pro. He is comfortable in all settings and plays with a poise that we didn’t have at that position in the previous games against the Spurs.

• The final play by the Spurs was terrific. They put three guys on the left side of the floor and had Leonard on the right side. The guy defending the ball has to protect the pass across the paint. Hayward has to stay between Leonard and the basket and the inbound pass comes to Leonard who quickly turns shoots it with his incredible length over Hayward. I have no answer on any other way to guard this play.

• Manu Ginobili is awesome.

• The third quarter run by the Spurs was very self-inflicted. Joe Ingles grabs Manu on a fast break with the defense getting back and the Jazz in the penalty. This is giving away points. Rudy had a poor pass for one of his 4 turnovers. These guys are busting their butt and doing a great job but these little plays are tough when they happen together.

• Jazz didn’t run the fast break well tonight. The fast break is an elite athlete game and we don’t have a lot of elite athletes.

• Incredible offensive 4th quarter by the Jazz 33 points against the Spurs

• Super performance by the Jazz. They are playing great. Need to go get three of the next 4 and one of them needs to be Dallas.

• Final thought – I want the 6th seed and I want Quin Snyder v. Billy Donovan. Could you imagine this defensive team against the brilliantly talented Thunder and then if the Jazz won one in OKC the pressure on the Thunder with Durant future unclear could be incredible.