Emptying the Noggin – Jazz beat Pistons at home

Emptying the Noggin
• The Jazz have a legitimate shot to make the playoff because they have a superior home court advantage. I really believe a .500 record makes the playoff can the Jazz win enough road games to equal home losses. If so …….

• Al Jefferson was fantastic tonight on a really special emotional night. He lost his grandma this weekend who he last saw on Thanksgiving. Tonight he pointed to the crowd each time he scored and he said hi a lot. He missed 2 of his first 3 shots and then hit an insane 13 of his next 15.

• Jefferson just killed Greg Monroe – he went to the weezy hook, he dropped step baseline, he went up and under and then he went pull jumper over him. Monroe had no concept of what to do next and had no answer this changed the game.

• Because Monroe couldn’t guard Al Jefferson, the Pistons tried to go with Ben Wallace on Jefferson, but this meant the Jazz could over play Rodney Stuckey on the high pick and roll with the big because they didn’t need worry about Wallace who is non offensive player. Then when the Pistons adjusted back to Monroe to help the offense, Stuckey was not in rhythm and the Jazz were able to load up Jefferson and get him going again to close out the game.

• CJ Miles got it rolling tonight. So good to see. He is just a good guy and you want him to do well. He is also so aware of when he plays badly that it is evident that he also enjoys the good games more than most. Tyrone Corbin’s commitment to CJ has been almost inexplicable but tonight it paid off. The Jazz have almost no outside shooting and very few shot makers and Tyrone believes that is what CJ can bring if he gets right.

• 4th quarter defense returned tonight. The Jazz won games earlier this year with 4th quarter defense, they were the best in the NBA in 4th quarter defense in January and the worst in February. This was a nice change. The 2nd and 3rd quarters were not good defensively. The Pistons were 24 of 39 in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

• 4th quarter was a pretty good game. No team scored on back to back possessions in the 4th quarter until the Jazz broke through with about 3:30 left in the 4th. The game was tied at 77, 79, 82, 85 and 87 and then the Jazz broke through .

• Paul Millsap had 5 steals tonight he was great and active defensively to start the night.

• Enes Kanter is really struggling. However, with the condensed schedule his 10 mins is really important to the health and fatigue of the other bigs.

• Considering how unreal and contrasting CJ Miles home/road splits are I wonder if Tyrone would ever platoon a player home and road. Won’t happen but the numbers beg for it.

• Favors put together some really nice moves again tonight. He is doing a great job adding pieces to his offense. He has added moves and he is quicker and more confident with the moves. He needs to improve his jumper and his defensive rebounding. He is 20 – give it some time.

• Hayward played well tonight off the bench and did a nice job defensively on the few possessions he guarded Rodney Stuckey. Hayward’s length really helps him defensively. He is much farther ahead defensively than I would have expected. He still needs to work on his offensive game.

• Devin Harris was terrific he is really pushing the tempo, playing his game and creating opportunities for himself and forcing teams to alter the way they deal with the offensive glass with his speed.

• Here comes the stretch of the season. Phoenix Wednesday, Minnesota Thursday and Golden State Saturday with the Lakers Sunday – Jazz could be 8th or 13th by the end of the week.

PODCAST – Walt Perrin, Jazz VP of Player Personnel, brakes down the NCAA brackets

David Locke and Jazz VP of Player Personnel, Walt Perrin, talk the NCAA brackets. What team is the hottest, who is the most improved, who has the best guards, where are the upsets. A must listen to prior to filling out bracket.

Emptying the Noggin – Jazz finish road trip with loss to Bulls

Emptying the Noggin
• Hard to have imagined anything other than a 2-3 road trip. I thought the guys played hard in all 5 games of the trip. That is a huge part of winning in this season is putting out huge effort. Talking with people around the league they all talk about that the Jazz play hard.

• The Jazz just don’t have the offensive muster to handle the top defensive teams in the NBA. The Jazz spent all of training camp working defense but in the opening four games of the season it became very clear this team would have a hard time scoring and that was clear in the last two games against the top defensive teams that Jazz still struggle to put points on the board.

• The Jazz are 19-21. I still am so impressed that this team has battled to a nearly .500 record.

• The Bulls were too good tonight. They are #1 team in the East for a reason and they showed it. Even without Noah their defensive rotations were solid and they closed windows in a hurry.

• Paul Millsap’s activity was the best I have seen in the last 10 to maybe 20 games

• Gordon Hayward is going to have to figure out how he is going to score in the half court in this league, is it as a shooter, is it off the dribble, will he be able to score in the paint or will it have to be pull ups.

• Kyle Korver put on a show he torched Josh, Gordon, CJ and Alec. He ran Alec off picks he had never experienced, CJ left him open for three mysteriously and Howard got caught numerous times on all of Korver’s tricks. He had the stroke and Rose feed him the ball.

• Derrick Rose is fabulous. He controls the game, he exploded when needed. He can get anywhere with the ball. He is a scoring point guard but involves his teammates and keep the game flowing.

• The Jazz have become a very poor statistical defensive team and it needs to be rectified. The Bulls shot 56% and the night before 53% to Philly and even Charlotte who is the worst offensive team in the NBA shot 47%. This is trending the wrong direction.

• Looking back on the road trip big quarters were an issue. Bulls shot 12/15 in the 3rd quarter. Sixers were 11 of 18 in the 4th; Charlotte shot 10 of 15 in the 4th; Cavs shot 11/19 in the 3rd quarter and Dallas were 12 of 20 in the 3rd and 10of 19 in the 1st

• Cj Miles had a miserable road trip shooting 7 of 34 (21%)

• Favors took just 1 shot tonight. Not sure why this is, did Chicago defensively take him so far out of what he does that he didn’t get any looks or was he not involved. Taj Gibson defended him and he is the best post defender on the Bulls other than Noah.

• Burks finished the road trip 11/24 and Hayward finshed over 50% shooting and averaging about 12 pts a game

INSIDER – Jazz without Raja Bell in Chicago

The Utah Jazz will be without veteran shooting guard Raja Bell tonight v. Chicago Bulls. Bell is not with the team in Chicago due to an internal matter.

Coach Corbin has not announced who will be starting in Bell’s place. Earlier on the road trip Corbin decided to bring Gordon Hayward off the bench in order to keep Josh Howard with the starters and give Hayward the ball more with the second unit.

The most likely move for Corbin would be to place Hayward back in the starting line-up, but he has played so well in the second unit it is certain that Corbin would consider moving either Miles or Burks into the line-up with Howard.

Coach Corbin coaches show on 1320, K-Fan will be your first opportunity to hear what he decides be sure to tune into the pre-game coverage starting at 5pm.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz loss to the Sixers

Emptying the Noggin
• The 76ers are the best defensive team in the NBA and they showed it after the first quarter. The Jazz were able to get in the open court in the 1st quarter and force turnovers. However, after the first quarter the Sixers put the clamps down and took control of the game. The Jazz were stuck in the half court for most of the game. They couldn’t hit the outside shots and the Sixers bench put the clamps down.

• This was vintage how the Sixers win games.

• Andre Iguodala is the most underrated player in the NBA. Everyone wants to bang on him for his inability offensively to get a true go to guy but he is far and away the best wing defender in the NBA and dominates the game with his defensive ability.

• Derrick Favors continued his fabulous play. He showed more in the post tonight then he has at any point in his time with Utah. His defense continues to be very good and tonight his offense was as good as it has ever been. He has two more areas to improve, defensive rebounding and covering the post player who plays out on the floor.

• The 76ers defense annihilated our wing players. Josh Howard was totally taken out of his game. CJ tried to find a rhythm but his struggles continued. Raja hasn’t found his range since coming back from the injury. Gordon Hayward had a nice box score but had hard time with the basketball in numerous circumstances.

• The interesting thing about Phily is they are not an explosive team but they have won more games by 20 or more than any other team in the NBA. This is because their defense is relentless and they wear teams down. The Jazz did a pretty nice job of hanging in for most of the game but then with 6:30 left the Jazz went 5 minutes without a field goal and that is too much to overcome when you are already coming from behind.

• Paul Millsap had a nice first quarter. He is still struggling to score on post ups, simply isn’t but he is working other ways to get his points and he is beginning to get a few more Vintage Millsap buckets.

• Elton Brand did a nice job on Al Jefferson.

• Elton Brand must be a pretty big pro. He gets the ball 4 times early in the game and then he never sees it again and he defends his ass off all night. It is really impressive and it is why this team is this good defensively.

• Kanter has been struggling as of late. He is 9 of his last 28 from the field and tonight he was off defensively as well. He didn’t make his 2nd half rotation.

• Jazz shot 9 of 23 in the 2nd; 7 of 22 in the 3rd and 7 of 17 in the 4th but only after they went 4 of 4 to close the quarter in garbage time. Link those together and it is a 19 of 58 stretch and that is impossible to overcome.

• Tomorrow is a completely different level than tonight.

• Has anyone ever mentioned that if the guy who takes you most shots doesn’t have more pts than FGA you don’t win. Jefferson 14-14 tonight.

INSIDER – Are the 76ers showing the Jazz a glimpse of their future?

Are the Philadelphia 76ers giving the Jazz a sneak peak of their future tonight?

Tonight Philadelphia will start with a two guard set of Jrue Holliday and Evan Turner. Neither will be defined as the point guard. In a traditional sense Holliday is the point guard and Turner the shooting guard, but at Ohio State Turner was the primary ball handler and at UCLA Holliday wasn’t.

This will be the 4th game for the 76ers with this guard lineup and interesting it was increased the assist numbers for Holliday while Turner has finally had productive days in the NBA.

Where it can be most dangerous is on the defensive end. Holliday (6’4 180) and Turner (6’7 205) are both long and active. The problem with this line-up is neither is a true shooter and will struggle to stretch the floor. To Holliday’s credit he knocked down 37% of his three’s in his career while Turner is just 25%.

When the Utah Jazz drafted Alec Burks (6’6 202) they mentioned they believed he could play some point guard. Gordon Hayward is obviously better when he has the ball in his hand. Is it possible the Jazz could one day follow the lead of the Holliday/Turner backcourt and play a line-up of Burks and Gordon Hayward (6’9 210).

The main difference is neither Burks nor Hayward was the primary ball handler at the college level. Burks had Cory Higgins at Colorado and Shelvin Mack had the ball the majority of the time at Butler.

However, Burks and Hayward may have the skills to achieve this. They would be longer than the Holliday and Turner combo. As the NBA goes to more and more offensive point guards and more and more pick and roll at the top the point guard is going to have to become a bigger player.

Similarly, to the 76ers combo Burks and Hayward would have a hard time stretching the floor with their outside shooting.

How the remaining pieces of the Jazz roster fill out will likely dictate if we ever see this combo, but it is worth watching the 76ers combo this evening.