EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz go another 48 but fall short

• Another close game loss. The humanity. Yes, it sucks to put all your emotion into the game and then fall a play here or there short. With that said nothing that has happened in either of these two games changes who the Jazz are, who we hope for them to become or even who they are right now. They are a good team. They just played 2 of the best Eastern Conference teams and went to the wire with each. I really believe Miami plays Cleveland for the Eastern Conference title this year.

• In one or two possessions losses there are always one or two possessions that you can circle and wonder if. My two are late in the third quarter. Trey Burke had a fast break lay up and he missed a finger roll and the Heat went the other way for a bucket. Then 70 seconds later Alec missed a layup and Tyler Johnson went the other way for a layup. Those two swings were big. Each of them is a 4 point swing. These plays in my mind are the difference but you can go find two of your own. It is 100 possession game there are so many to choose from.

• The Heat came into the game 3rd best defense and they showed it today. They are really good defensively. They take away the 3 better than anyone in the NBA and the Jazz didn’t get any threes until the 3rd quarter and then a few later but the three game was completely taken away by Miami. The Jazz were the #2 team in the NBA on the above the break 3 and Heat were #1 defending it. Heat won that battle.

• Derrick Favors was incredible. Simply incredible. He is an elite level player. His line tonight is absurd and he was every bit as good as his line. The roll game was incredible. 25 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steal, 7 blocks . This night has been accomplished 20 times since 1985 and 12 of those were by Hakeem Olajuwon. Anthony Davis is the only player to accomplish it since 2001 and only 7 total players have done it since 1985. Favors is growing before our eyes and he is a beast.

• On a night when you are missing a stud you need someone to step up. The Heat got it in Tyler Johnson. Johnson was 8 of 12 shooting and with the game on the line they went to him. On the flip side the guys who got increased opportunity with Rudy Gobert out didn’t give the Jazz a boost. Trey Lyles had a hard time with 10 time all-star Chris Bosh and Trevor Booker had a forgettable night with 0 pts, 3 rebounds and 6 fouls in 16 minutes.

• Jazz were -12 in the 8:15 Favors was off the floor tonight.

• Alec Burks game is evolving nicely. He is really quite the offensive force.

• Trey Burke is not making the shot off the pick and roll. He has missed 8 straight and Raul Neto has not made a shot off the pick and roll yet this season. This makes things hard to have neither point guard being able to get offense off the pick and roll.

• The Heat isolated Joe Ingles on the defensive in a way I haven’t seen anyone do. It felt like whoever had the ball and was being guarded by Ingles just went at him.

• Chris Bosh is the most underrated player in the game. He was one of the top 10 players in the NBA when he was in Toronto and he changed his game to play with Wade and LeBron. Then last year he was back to 21 points a game before the blood clot. He does so many things on the offensive side of the ball. He is a good defender. He moves the ball. He is a dream player in this day and age of space and pace. He is a 10 time all-star and underrated. Chew on that.

• Gordon didn’t get it done in the 4th quarter. He was 2 for 9 and one of the two was a put back that didn’t have a lot of relevance. He was incredible up to that point. He dominated the first quarter. In the 2nd half it felt like Miami completely committed to taking him out of the game and making it impossible to get looks and they were able to do that.

• Strong performance. The Jazz are in these games for 48. Each time they will get a little bit better and learn a little more about the value of possessions throughout the game.

JAZZ GAME REWIND – Jazz battle Cavs for all 48

Jazz Game Rewind takes you back to the key moments of the game, the player of the game, and the stat line of the night. If you missed the game, this will take you through the whole night as though you were there.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz battle Cleveland for the full 48

• The Cavaliers have won 25 of 26 at home. They have been winning at home by an average of 12 points per game. They have won 41 of 51 since getting Timofey Mozgov. They are the second best team in the NBA. Tonight, the Jazz pushed them to their limit. The Jazz forced LeBron and the Cavs to play a 48-minute game at home.

• The biggest portion of the game for me was when the Cavaliers started to take it to the Jazz from the end of the first quarter to the beginning of the second. The run was 12-3. Last year at the exact same moment of the game, the Cavs went on a 22-3 run. This time the Jazz not only stopped the run but fought all the way back and made it a four-point game at the half with a 9-0 run of their own.

• The Jazz took control of the game in the fourth quarter and led it 91-83—and then LeBron realized the game was in the balance and took over in every aspect. The Jazz still led 95-86 with 7:22 left. LeBron found Love for a three, hit a floater, stole a ball on a poor inbound pass, and drew the foul for a three-point play … and it was a one-point game in the span of 1:17. The Jazz retook the lead by one and then LeBron stole an offensive rebound, hit Jefferson for a driving layup, scored a layup, and hit another layup with a foul to make it a 7-point lead for the Cavs. He was incredible.

• The Jazz lost 18 games by 5 or fewer last year, so this is a recurring discussion, but this doesn’t fall into that same category. Yes, the Jazz offense needs to get better in late-game situations. And yes, the Jazz need to make some better decisions. But this was a highly experienced team built to win a championship playing at home with the best player in the world taking control of the game.

• In the final 5 minutes, the Jazz shot 3-for-8 with two turnovers until the game became a little wacky at the end. If you count the entire five minutes, the Jazz were 5-for-11 with two threes.

• Alec Burks hit four 3-pointers in five attempts. The coaches are working with Alec to shot the three and he is beginning to do it. He had a gorgeous corner three on a fast break.

• The Jazz moved the ball offensively tonight. They had 30 assists on 40 field goalds. Eight players had two or more assists, and seven guys had three or more. Rudy Gobert had a career-high five assists tonight. The nine assists between Gobert and Favors could be an offensive game-changer for the Jazz.

• Trey Burke had another strong game—he is really learning how, when and where to make plays in this league. He’s avoiding the drive into traffic. He’s in much better control with the basketball on the pick-and-roll. He’s taking the spot-up shots that are good ones and avoiding the ones that are forced, and he’s moving the ball.

• The Jazz took away the long passing game of the Cavaliers. They forced a ton of turnovers early and got into passing lanes. The Cavaliers are so talented that they then changed their approach and went to other actions.

• Mo Williams was unreal. Not sure you can beat the Cavs if Mo Williams goes 8-for-9 from the field for 29 points. He didn’t miss. Most impressively, he didn’t try to take over the game; he stayed playing in his space and rolled with the team.

• Gordon Hayward’s defense on LeBron in the first half was terrific.

• Derrick Favors had a great move late in the game, just bogarting Tristan Thompson to the rim for a huge bucket. Another 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals for Derrick. He’s really good.

• The Jazz didn’t block a shot. The Cavs had only 40 of their 114 points in the paint.

• I have the game as about 98 possessions, so a poor defensive night for the Jazz to allow 118 points. At the same time, probably our best offensive night of the year.

• Coaches feel good about the progress Trey Lyles is making. They feel he has broken through the thinking stage and is beginning to start playing, and he is playing better.

• Rudy Gobert sprained an ankle. I would suspect the Jazz will be very cautious with this.

• Joe Ingles played 13 minutes and was +7. Didn’t seem like he had a big impact on the game, but when the dude is positive every night you have to start figuring he is doing something right.

• The Cavs are really good. They have the best player in the world. A win would have been great. However, the effort and play of the team were really positive. This is a brutally tough road trip.

• Side note: every flight we’ve had this year has been just crazy bumpy. It’s wearing me out.