EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz add to the excitement in OKC

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN

  •  The improvement of this team is remarkable.   They walked into a hornet’s nest tonight and fought every step of the way.  The Thunder had lost two in a row.  They had been blown out in the 2 previous games in the opening moments and the local newspaper was killing the coach for using Durant and Westbrook too much.   The Jazz handled it and almost won if it weren’t for two of the best players in the world dominating the final moments.

 

  • The flight and self belief is what is most obvious to me about this team.  They are playing so hard and they believe in what they are trying to execute.

 

  • This game was loaded with great sequences and highlights.  The Trevor Booker volleyball shot over his back on the inbound with .2 seconds left is the best of them all.  Maybe the best ever.

 

  • Gordon Hayward faking out Kevin Durant then Durant answering with a 3 and Hayward beating Durant on a back door only to have Durant answer again.  Wow.   Hayward was the best player on the floor in the third quarter.

 

  • Derrick Favors went 20-10 for the third straight game.  Another accomplishment.  His jumper is so good right now from straight away and from the baseline.  He is beginning to have spots on the floor where he knows how to knock down a shot.  That is what the great players do.  Then he is terrific rolling down the middle of the lane on the pick and roll.  I talked about this early in the season but I love Favors playing between the 45’s straight to the basket rather than in the post.   It is where he is at his best.  The next step is going to be some quick seals in the post where he uses his strength early in a possession

 

  • The Jazz did a better job at times tonight playing with some pace.   OKC was incredibly physical in the front court.  They grab and they hold and they manhandle you when you try to go somewhere both with the ball and without.  The Jazz haven’t master how to deal with that yet but they are considerably better then they were.

 

  • The Jazz lead it by 7 when Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka came in with 8:13 left.  What a challenge what most people thought was the best team in the Western Conference at years start desperate for a win at home in the final 8:13.   The Thunder answered.

 

  • Westbrook and Durant took 15 of the final 19 shots for the Thunder in the final 8:13.   I get people what something elegant out of the Thunder offense but dang it getting the ball in the hand of your best players and giving them looks is all the game is about.   That is good basketball.  Might not be ascetically pleasing but it wins.

 

  • Jazz had a sequence of 4 possessions offensively late that were 4 of the worst consecutive possessions they have had all year.   New guys playing together.  Jazz haven’t finished a close game with Gobert yet and Millsap closed as well.

 

  • Millsap looks like an NBA player.  Any chance he is Tony Allen?

 

  • Trey Burke was terrific.  This is by far his best game of the year.   Tonight he was a legitimate force on the game.  He made open looks, he penetrated aggressively.  He hit a floater in the lane.  He defended hard.  This was a really exciting performance from Trey Burke.   Plenty of nights this year you had to wonder what his future was in a bad way tonight makes you wonder if he has turned a corner in the correct way.

 

  • Rudy Gobert played 38 minutes.   He scored 4 points, had 7 rebounds, passed out 3 assists, took 3 steals and blocked a career high 7 shots.   Scott Brooks said after the game, this guy isn’t blocking jump shots he is blocking layups that is 14 points.   The Thunder actually shot very well with Gobert on the floor tonight.   The defensive rebounding tonight was not as good as it needed to be.  Guys got shoved around a little.  5 defensive rebounds in 38 minutes for Rudy is below where he has been.   This may have been a strength issue. Thunder had 19 second chance points tonight.

 

  • Thunder got out on the break off Jazz turnovers and also on insane Westbrook coast to coast drives.   Thunder had 25 fast break points.  Couple that with 19 second chance points and that is 44 of the Thunder’s 99 points and 19 of the Thunder 42 field goals.

 

  • Jazz missed all of their three pointers in the 2nd half.

 

  • Nothing is tougher to guard than the Westbrook/Durant pick and roll.

 

  • Overall another exciting night of Jazz basketball and another night that builds more excitement to the future.  Think about it this way.  If the Jazz were contending for the West and went into OKC and battled down to the wire and lost you would be a bit bummed since you had the lead but understand they are the best there and wins in their building would be tough.  Instead, tonight is a young inexperience team with more points coming from players 23 and under than any team in the NBA without 3 of its 8 rotation players battling to the end.   Impressive.

POSTCAST – Jazz battle Thunder for the full 48

TIPOFF – January 9 – Utah’s secret weapon, play sets and more

Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke gives you the NBA 5 about Houston’s shooting ways, then digs deep on the Jazz with a look at the team’s secret weapon and two OKC play sets.

TIPOFF – January 8 – Brilliance in Chicago

Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke gives you the NBA 5 about Cleveland, Detroit and more, then digs deep on Utah’s terrific win in Chicago.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – All around fabulous

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN

  • WOW

 

  • That was a big time performance by the Jazz tonight.  The Bulls are bonafide terrific and the Jazz held them to a season low points, a season low FG% and more than anything else took the game to the Bulls and the Bulls didn’t have a response.

 

  • The Jazz were ahead by 12 going into the 4th quarter.  The Bulls are the #1 2ndhalf team in the NBA.  You could feel the Bulls clamping down and the Jazz putting out a 5 for 23 quarter with 5 turnovers and the game getting away and the exact opposite happened. The Jazz went on a 14-3 run to end the game.  Just terrific.

 

  • A lot of the excitement is going to be about Rudy and rightfully so.  This was an entire team effort.  So many players I could single out in tonight’s game for terrific play.

 

  • Everything went wrong to start and the Jazz absorbed it.  Ingles got 2 fouls almost immediately meaning Exum had to play the 2.   Favors got a ticky tack foul for his 2nd and the Jazz were without Favors for over 6 minutes of the first quarter.  With Hayward on the bench in the 2ndquarter the Jazz went 1 for 8.  In the third quarter, the Bulls went on a 8-1 run and the Jazz didn’t freak out they answered.   That is the biggest sign of growth to me is how much this team endured to get through the game and stay in control. That might be the biggest change of all.

 

  • Yes as crazy as it all seems Rudy Gobert, at 22 years old.  A year after playing just 434 last year he has become a legitimate game changer.   His defense is franchise changing defense.  His multiple effort plays defensively are what separate him from a good defender and could make him a great defender.  The growth is remarkable.  He still needs to get a lot stronger.  He still needs to mature, but the change in the last year or even the last 18 months since he was drafted is out of this world.

 

  • Tonight Gobert simply took Pau Gasol who was crazy hot out of the game.  By the third quarter Gasol was playing like a stretch 4 in order to take Gobert out of the paint.  The Bulls couldn’t handle Gobertland.   Gasol knows Gobert from this summer and he couldn’t do anything against him.   Every drive in the 1sthalf was altered by Gober.  In the first quarter the Bulls shot 6 of 23 from the field with Gobert on the floor.  By halftime they were 8 of 33 with Gobert on the floor.  With him on the bench the Bulls were 5 of 13.   By the end of 3 quarter the Bulls were 17 of 55 shooting with Gobert on the floor.  (30.1%)  The impact is incredible.

 

  • The Bulls shot 16 of 39 (41%) in the restricted area.  That is incredible.

 

  • Trey Burke played really well tonight. He battled on the defensive end against Derrick Rose.  He went at Aaron Brooks.   He finished the night  with an impressive 6 of 13 with 17 points and 4 assists.  He outplayed Derrick Rose.

 

  • Derrick Favors was a beast tonight.  We talk a lot about Hawyard’s strength increase but Favors is considerably stronger than he has been.  Jazz strength staff is elite.   Favors dropped 20 again tonight.  10thtime this season, equally the same amount he had all of last year.  Favors had 20 points and 11 rebounds going against the defensive player of the year Joakim Noah.  Favors was 7 of 11 in the paint.  He was the stronger man.

 

  • Gobert’s offense is not refined but going 5 for 8 with 11 points is a good offensive game. There is a real value to having a dunker.   Tyson Chandler and Brandon Wright are good offensive players.  We get lost needed moves and range when the point of the game is to score points and 8 shots for 11 points is scoring at a nice level.

 

  • Millsap played very hard tonight.

 

  • Gordon Hayward played Jimmy Butler to at least a draw.  With 5 assists and 4 rebounds Hayward may have out played him.

 

  • Joe Ingles is a wonderful complimentary player – 7 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.  You rarely see him get in defensive problems.  Trevor Booker is playing nicely off the bench in the last few games and was very strong tonight.

 

  • A wonderful night.  Jazz have won 7 of 11.  The Favors pass to Gobert for the dunk on the high low was the play of the night or was it the Favors dunk or was it the Booker’s shot, or was it Trey’s corner 3 or was it ………

POSTCAST – January 7th – UnBullleavable night in Chicago

TIPOFF – January 7 – NBA 5, Favors/Gobert and Bulls play set

Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke gives you the NBA 5, then talks about the value of 3-point shooters, Favors/Gobert and a Bulls play set, plus answers your questions.

POSTCAST – Jazz battle to end v. Pacers

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