EMPTYING THE NOGGIN — 24 turnovers why did they happen in Jazz loss to Phoenix

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN — Too many turnovers kill the offense

SUMMARY: Jazz turnovers derailed the offense and cut short their defensive effort against the Suns.
• There are lots of different things you can look at in this game, but at one point in the third quarter, the Jazz had turned the ball over on 25% of their possessions. One of out of four times down the floor, the Jazz weren’t getting a shot off. The negative effects of turnovers on an offense are often overblown. However, tonight it didn’t feel like the Jazz turnovers were on plays that would have become layups or open looks, they were miscommunications or failed pitches or stepping out of bounds. I probably need to review all of these to make sure that is true, but that is my feeling without reviewing any film.

• Why are the Jazz committing so many turnovers? This is above my pay grade, but here are a few hypotheses: The shorten training camp with a lot of new faces has led to a lack of connectivity; The lack of one-on-one players means the Jazz need to have more actions and movements and passes to be able to get open looks; The lack of spacing means that the passing lanes are narrow and therefore leading to an increase in turnovers; The accelerated pace is getting the team out of rhythm. I am really not sure on which of these is the issue. There are others as well, such as Mitchell being inexperienced and playing too fast, Neto having played very little with anyone this season because of injury after Dante’s injury, Rubio learning his teammates, etc.

• The Jazz defense continues to be remarkably good. Even tonight in the midst of lots of turnovers and misses, the Jazz were holding the Suns to under a point per possession for the entire night. The fact that the Jazz cut the Suns lead to five at one point with the offensive woes they were having is an incredible testament to the defense.

• The game paced at over 100 possessions.

• One surprising element tonight was the Suns’ ability to get on the offensive glass. The Suns got 30% of their own misses which is a high rate. The league average is about 25%.

• Alex Len played really well for the Suns — the best I have seen him play.

• Rodney Hood got back in the swing of things tonight: 22 points tonight on 16 shots attempts and seven of those shot attempts were 3s. Plus, he went to the line four times. That is close to the perfect balance and shot distribution for Rodney.

• Rudy Gobert had 16 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks.

• The Jazz bench didn’t give its usual bounce tonight. They were 3 of 18 shooting with eight turnovers.

• Not an excuse, but the Jazz have played five games to start the year and have not been in the same city for more than a day. It isn’t brutal like some of the old four games in five nights but it hasn’t been that easy either. Coming right out of training camp, this could be a tired team. The schedule gets a bit more gentle before they head East in 10 days.

• The Jazz shot 6 of 25 from 3. This is the only area where I think they could be a bit fatigued. A bunch of guys are going to shoot better as the year goes on. Rubio is 5 of 22 on the season, Joe Johnson is 2 of 12, Donovan Mitchell is 3 of 18, Thabo Sefolosha is 3 for 12.

• This was a tough loss. The Jazz got the Suns at the wrong time coming off the coaching change and some home practices with the Jazz having travelled. However, the turnovers are a real issue that is making it hard for the offense to be good enough to support the defensive effort.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz go cold v. very good Clippers

SUMMARY: The Clippers’ 18-2 run to open the second half carried them to a runaway win over the Utah Jazz, 102-84.
• The Jazz’s defense was great for most of the night; They held the Clippers under one point per possession and had them shooting an EFG% well below the league average. The problem was the Jazz still couldn’t get ahead. The offense just couldn’t knock down shots.

• At halftime, the Jazz were down one point after an incredible defensive first half. Trying to shut down an NBA team for 48 minutes at that level is impossible. These guys are too good. When the defense digs into someone the way the Jazz did to the Clippers, you have to be able to build some wiggle room for when the Jazz’s offense goes dead. At one point, both teams’ offense was at .8 points per possession. If you are holding someone to .8 points per possession, you need to be able to take a substantial lead.

• The opening of the third quarter was a combination of the Jazz missing shots and the Clippers making shots to swing the momentum LA’s way. This was the ultimate make-or-miss league game; The Jazz got good looks to open the second half and missed them. After an Ingles turnover, Mitchell, Rubio and Ingles all had good look 3-point shots and missed. In the same stretch, the Clippers scored on a Rivers drive, Beverly buried a 3 and Jordan got a put back dunk. That’s how easy it is to go from down one to down double digits.

• The Clippers may be very good. They are deep. All of their players (other than Wesley Johnson) are above average offensive players and Gallinari, Jordan, Lou Williams and Blake Griffin are high-level efficient offensive players.

• The Clippers’ 4/5 pick and roll with Blake and Jordan is really hard to guard.

• The Jazz’s offensive actions are getting looks. The good news is we aren’t seeing possessions get bogged down and result in no looks at all. The numbers just equaled out on the Jazz tonight. Coming into the game, the Jazz were third in the league in EFG% and that was always unlikely to last.

• The Jazz were 3 of 21 from 3 at one point and finished 7 of 28.

• The Jazz got the game within seven points with 6:38 left and I wondered how the Clippers would close without Chris Paul. Well, wow, did they ever. They scored on 7 of 8 possessions, Blake hit a contested 3 and Rivers made a tough driving layup. After a Blake missed 3, Beverly hit a nifty move in the paint, Rivers hit a 3, Gallinari added a 17-footer and Beverly shot the lights out with a 3. Pretty awesome.

• Donovan Mitchell hit his first NBA 3. It took 14 tries and then he hit three in a row. Mitchell had 19 points, but 20 shots to get there seems like a lot.

• Joe Ingles was under the weather, playing just 18 minutes and Rodney Hood was out with a mild left calf strain.

• Ekpe Udoh had a positive plus-minus again: +8. In 16:43, he had 4 blocks, 2 rebounds and 3 assists.

• Thabo Seflosoha had his 16th career double-double and was one rebound off his career high with 12, 10 on the defensive end.

• Three turnovers by AB in 15 minutes is too many as is four by Ingles. The Jazz had 18 turnovers tonight and currently rank near last in the league at taking care of the ball. Mitchell had four, getting stripped twice late. Rubio had three.

• The offense struggled in the first half and then it went dry in the third. This is the concern for the Jazz this season. It feels as though they have to find the guy who has it going. In the first quarter, it was Rubio. It wasn’t clear who it was in the second and then it was no one in the third. The high turnover numbers, low free throw attempts and no offensive rebounding due to focusing on transition defense is putting a lot of burden on the shooters.

• Big picture: Jazz opened with Denver, Minnesota, Oklahoma City and the Clippers — all teams expected to content for the playoffs — and won two of the four. The Clippers are the best of the four teams and showed that. For the Jazz to get two of these four is a great opening stretch.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz defensive buy in give them win over Thunder

SUMMARY: The Jazz’s stifling defense frustrated and derailed the Thunder offensive train on the way to a 96-87 win.
• This game was dominated by the Jazz’s defense. The Thunder went 11 minutes from midway through the 1st quarter to midway thru the 2nd quarter with only one made field goal. ONE field goal in over 11 minutes.

• The Jazz held the Thunder to .93 pts per possessions; The league average is 1.07. The worst in the league last year was 1.007 the Jazz held the Thunder to .93. That is incredible.

• In the first half, the Jazz broke up the Thunder’s actions and that forced the Thunder into more isolation basketball than they wanted to play. Early in the broadcast, the Thunder were hitting shots that the Jazz wanted them to take and they were low percentage, off-the-bounce, midrange shots. As the game went on, those same shots stopped going in.

• The Jazz’s offense is still not being very efficient, but the defense for these three games has been so great that they very well could have won all three. The offense is hitting shots at a very high rate, but they are not going to the line and they are turning the ball over at a very high rate.

• The Thunder’s offensive players never got comfortable. Anthony went into isolation mode and got rolling a bit early in the 4th quarter. However, he took 26 shots, while George took 19 and Westbrook took just 11. George has a set play where he comes off a pin down for a right wing catch-and-shoot 3. The Jazz guarded it as well as you can with his talent level. He was 3-9 from 3.

• Westbrook pulled out of fast break chances numerous times to play the facilitator. On one level, this is Westbrook trying to figure out where he fits with this team after his all-him, all-the-time season last year. On the other hand, the Jazz were getting back defensively, building a good wall and making it a forced shot if he pushed into the lane.

• Gobert makes so many guys make the extra pass and it is a turnover so often.

• Ricky Rubio plays with a passion that carries a team. He plays with an unquenchable desire to win. He makes the right play. He will shoot when he should, even if he isn’t a great shooter. Quin Snyder has given Ricky a great level of confidence in how he plays and great freedom to run the team and manage the game. Rubio played 37 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back.

• Joe Ingles led the Jazz with 19 points on 5-9 from 3 tonight; He is 12-19 for the season. He was not good last year on back-to-back games, so this is a nice step for him.

• The Nuggets’ offense last year was a 110 and they were a 100.5 versus Utah; Minnesota was a 108.1 and they were a 104.6 versus Utah; Oklahoma City was a 105 and should have gotten better and they were a 93.4. The Jazz are holding teams to an average of eight points below their usual points per 100 possession rating of a year before. Last year, the best team in the NBA was 5.5 points better than average.

• Favors has been very good and very active in the opening three games.

• Ekpe Udoh is a plus-minus machine: +11 tonight in 15:30. He is close to +50 in three games.

• The Jazz had five guys in double figures. Rubio took the most shots at 14. Seven guys took six or more shots. This is a team of pure balance.

• The Jazz only took 14 free throws and I believe five of them were technical free throws.

• The Jazz had 11 steals. Three of those came from Sefolosha who is showing he is still an elite defender.

• This was a great win tonight by the Jazz. Quin is asking these guys do something that is really hard, which is to defend and defend really hard. To get a win tonight and play these three teams as closely as they have to start the year shows the players that Quin is correct that if they defend they can win.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Old man Crawford does in the Jazz

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN — 4th quarter comeback not enough against Minnesota

SUMMARY: Jamal Crawford’s 17 4th quarter points carried the Wolves to a win in aclose game win over the Jazz.
• The most important information after the game is that the Rodney Hood has a calf strain and it will be re-evaluated tomorrow. According to the Tribune, the Achilles has been ruled out as a possibility.

• The Jazz held a 1-point lead and a good chance to win the game when Rudy Gobert had a defensive rebound with :32 seconds left in the game. Gobert seemed to frantically pass the ball toward Joe Ingles, but instead the ball went out of bounds and the Wolves got another shot. On the inbound pass, Jamal Crawford hit a catch-and-shoot corner-3 over the outstretched arms of Thabo Sefolosha.

• The Jazz had five 4th quarter turnovers, which were crucial in the loss.

• Minnesota went on a 12-0 run at the end of the 3rd quarter that put them in control of the game.

• The Jazz were really impressive defensively. Minnesota — who is loaded with talent — was forced into tough look after tough look. The Jazz defense was long, getting deflections and altering the Wolves’ shots. At the same time, it was an effort for the Jazz to score. This felt like a good example of what the season will be like.

• When Minnesota got rolling, it was hard for the Jazz to come back. It is really hard to stifle a team for 48 minutes.

• The Jazz have played two bad defensive teams according to last year’s numbers and had a tough time scoring. The burden on the defense is significant.

• The Jazz showed nice fight. They trailed 90-80 with 5:33 left and were able to get back in the game and eventually took the lead.

• Derrick Favors scored eight straight points in the 4th quarter and did it with a nice combination of hitting jump shots and getting to the rim.

• All five Jazz starters scored in double figures.

• The Jazz shot the ball well; Their EFG% was well above average for most of the night. They didn’t get to the free throw line much in the first three quarters and had just six free throws in that time. That is a going to make it tough to have good offensive night.

• Joe Ingles hit 4-5 from 3.

• Rodney Hood had a sequence of three straight 3-pointers. They were all set up by great floor work from Ricky Rubio. One was a set play where it was clear Rubio knew he was going to Hood the whole time. The others were great vision and perfect passing.

• Nineteen turnovers is too many.

• Rudy Gobert had 10 points in the first half and then was scoreless in the second half. It will be interesting to see if the Wolves did anything in particular to take Gobert out of the game. Favors starting getting looks in the second half.

• Ekpe Udoh had an amazing stretch of basketball, blocking three shots in one stint. In 15 minutes, he was + 12 again. He was + 23 on the first night.

• I don’t know how long Rodney will be out and have no idea how the Jazz will replace him and Dante at the same time.