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


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.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Complete Effort comes up short in the end

Summary: The Jazz put out a complete effort but are unable to close it out against the Miami Heat.
• The Jazz played really well tonight, but the Miami Heat made all the have-to-make-to-win plays late in the game.

• The final plays of the game will get most of the talk, but two plays that could have avoided those moments even being relevant were a Joe Ingles 3 and a Derrick Favors miss. The Heat were trying to keep the ball out of Donovan Mitchell’s hands in the back court. Mitchell was able to get it and he pushed it ahead to Joe Ingles who the Heat had forgotten to guard while being so consumed with Donovan. One of the best three point shooters wide open on the left side from three. This is a shot Joe makes more than 50% of the time. He missed. Jazz would have been up 7 with 2:30 left. It swirled deep in the cup and came out.

• Another late moment play was Mitchell driving to the basket, the defense collapsed on him and he was able to get the ball to Favors. It wasn’t a clean catch, but with his amazing hands Favors was able to control it and went up the shot. He missed. Derrick is shooting a career high 74% in the restricted area. This one didn’t go. It would have put the Jazz up 7 with 1:28 left

• Those misses left it as a possession by possession game late and the Heat made those plays as well.

• With 1:08 left and the Jazz up 3, Josh Richardson, who is a very good defender was switched onto Donovan. Dragic went to Ingles and Tyler Johnson to Hood. Richardson knocked the ball away from Mitchell and as they dove after it, it went off Mitchell for a turnover.

• The Jazz still lead by 1 with :37.7 left. The Heat committed to not let Donovan get the ball after he had scored and made the pass to Favors on the two previous possessions. This probably the largest statement of who Donovan has become that I have seen all season long. The Heat simply weren’t going to allow Donovan beat them.

• The ball was inbound to Rodney. He struggled to get his dribble down at first but then got across the half line and waved off his teammates and doesn’t use the Ingles pick. Then he worked one on one on Tyler Johnson into a contested three point shot that barely nicked iron.

• The Heat called timeout 7.8 seconds and ran a nice play where Donovan Mitchell badly lost contact with Josh Richardson and then got buried on a pick. Richardson caught the inbound came off an Kelly Olynyk pick used a great hesitation move and beat Derrick Favors for a layup.

• Then on the final play the Heat did an amazing job of not switching any of the Jazz action and staying completed connected with all the options forcing a pass into the back court where Donovan Mitchell got the pass and crossed mid court with 3 seconds and took an off balance shot that had little chance to win the game. Rodney Hood had run by on a peel route and while Donovan said afterwards he should have passed I am not sure with the 1.7 seconds left that he really had enough time to do that.

• Donovan needs to do a better job here to give Derrick Favors a chance to get a pick on his man. I have watched the play a bunch of time and can’t figure out how Favors could have picked off Richardson. Donovan had to force Richardson into Favors by changing the angle in some fashion. Then the ball doesn’t have to go as far into the back court.

• Quin Snyder likes the idea of the ball handler coming downhill into that play. If the play has another .5 seconds the pass to Rodney is a lot more feasible.

• The difference in these two plays is the ability of Miami to stay connected and not switch or lose their man. The Jazz didn’t force Miami off them and on the other end Miami got free and the Jazz lost connection.

• Jazz did a ton of things really well in this game. They stayed engaged for 48 full minutes and were really solid. The Heat run a quick early offense to Wayne Ellington that has been destroying people and the Jazz completely eliminated the early action. Joe Ingles, Rodney Hood and Donovan Mitchell all played really good trail defense on Ellington to negate his impact. The defense on Goran Dragic for the first half was great. The Jazz battled back from deficits to take control of the game. Donovan went off in the third quarter to surge the Jazz into the lead. Ekpe Udoh made a huge play to keep the Jazz in control putting the ball on the floor going to the basket and scoring,

• Thabo Sefolosha showed great leadership tonight. He was regularly bringing the team together and helping them thru the night. He was a visible leader on the floor. The jazz huddled and communicated more tonight than I have seen in a while.

• Without Rudy Gobert the Jazz margin for error is slim. The obvious plays late will be the items that are talked about, but Josh Richardson out running the Jazz in transition, a close to the right corner on James Johnson with hand down instead of up are equaling important and the plays that are easier to control

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – It is comes undone in the 3rd quarter in loss to Nuggets

SUMMARY: Another almost performance for the Jazz leads to another defeat on the road. This time 99-91 to the Denver Nuggets
• In the Coaches Show when I asked Quin Snyder about the defensive struggles on the road he talked about how the team has played portions of games, 2 quarters v. Golden State, 3 quarters v. the Rockets and that they needed to find a way to play the complete game. He added that when adversity hit they had to keep it from avalanching on them. Unfortunately, tonight fits into this same category.

• The difference tonight was that the offense torpedoed the defense. The turnovers in the third quarter led to the Nuggets jumping out on the break and getting easy opportunities offensively and busting the game open.

• The Jazz lead by 3 at halftime and by the time the third quarter was over they had trailed by as much as 22.

• The Wheels completely fell off in the third quarter. It is hard to understand how it is happening. The offense got stagnant, but then the defense breaks down in monumental fashions and it is on the same plays that were guarded so well earlier in the game.

• The first half of the game was really encouraging. The offense had a little rhythm early, as Ricky Rubio hit shots. The defense was forcing the Nuggets players out of their comfort zone and Nikola Jokic was not having his usual impact.

• Jamal Murray was keeping the Nuggets in the game and he eventually was the one who helped blow it open along with Trey Lyles. Murray had 26 points on 9 of 13 shooting.

• Trey Lyles got revenge on the Jazz. He got open time and time again on the pick and pop to the top of the three point circle. He finished with a career high 26 points on 9 of 17 shooting.

• Rodney Hood had some really encouraging moments when he drove the basket and made 3 of 4 shots with 5 feet of the basket. Rodney had moved some of this rim 2s into long 2s and tonight he did the opposite. This would be a huge deal if he could make this a regular occurrence.

• Plus, minus numbers were all over the place tonight.

• Donovan Mitchell took 3 shots late but for most of the night took just 10 shots and was quiet in the 2nd half. What is interesting is Denver held him to 10 shot attempts in the last match-up as well. Donovan is trying to be a good teammate and not be classified as a pig. He threw some amazing passes tonight and was a great team player. The Nuggets do something that limits his shot attempts. He finished with 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

• Donovan threw two of the most incredible passes. One he drove to the basket and with his right hand on the right side of his back he hooked the pass backwards to Joe Johnson for an open 3 and on the other he was driving and wrapped the pass over his head to the far side corner for a 3 look.

• Joe Johnson 2 of 9, Alec Burks 3 of 10. Jazz didn’t get much off the bench.

• Jazz are 4-21 when they trail at any point by 10. This is not a come from behind team.

• One blip that the Jazz couldn’t control is the story of the night. When things started to go wrong they got out of control and the Jazz never recovered.