Emptying the Noggin – Jazz win 30th game against a below .500 team

Summary: Remarkable defensive performance by the Jazz and Rudy Gobert leads the Jazz to a wire-to-wire win over the Pelicans, 88-83.

• The Jazz were playing without George Hill, Joe Johnson and had Rodney Hood on a minutes restriction. They opened the game with a 29-14 first quarter and led for the rest of the way.

• The story of the night was the Jazz’s consistent effort on the defensive end. The Pelicans are 29th in the league offensively since the All Star break and the Jazz shut them down. For the first three quarters of the night, the Pelicans were shooting 18 of 64 from the field.

• Favors guarded Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert had DeMarcus Cousins. Other than a brief period where Davis impacted the game for three minutes, neither was a factor on the outcome.

• Gordon Hayward and Joe Ingles both hit mammoth three-point shots in the 4th quarter to seal the win.

• Hayward finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal.

• Ingles finished with 12 points on 6 shots, 4 of 5 from three, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

• Dante Exum did well in his start tonight and Raul Neto had a solid 14 minutes off the bench. They combined to shoot 4 of 14, and the Jazz did play 8 minutes of the game without a point guard.

• Alec Burks’ seven defensive rebounds from the guard position was a season high.

• The Pelicans shot 13 of 42 with both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins on the floor.

• The Pelicans want to play a 3-on-3 or 2-on-2 game and the Jazz did a great job defensively of making it 3-on-5 or 2-on-5 with their help defense and weakside shifts.

• DeMarcus Cousins’ attitude to the game is offensive to watch.

• This was a solid third win in a row for the Jazz against a below .500 team, marking their 30th win of the year against below .500 teams.

Emptying the Noggin — Rudy is unreal

Summary: The Jazz win an improbable game in overtime behind incredible plays by Rudy Gobert. The Jazz truly sneak out of Sacramento with a win, 110-109.

  • The Jazz play 12 of their final 18 games against playoff teams, playing 7 of their next 9 on the road. They simply had to win tonight and it never felt like they were going to until the review at the buzzer overturned the call on the floor and gave the Jazz the win on a Rudy Gobert tip-in.
  • The Jazz trailed by 6 points after the first quarter, by 14 at the half and by 12 going into the fourth quarter. They trailed by 7 points with 2:04 left, by 6 with 1:18 left by 4 with :37 left and didn’t have the ball; The win probability for the Kings at that point was 98%.
  • How did it happen? Hayward hit a three with 13.9 left after the Jazz got a steal on the previous possession. Gobert set an amazing pick to free Gordon for the 3-pointer. Cauley-Stein split the free throws and the Jazz were down 2 points with :10 left. Hayward came off a Gobert pick and they brought two Kings to him and Gobert took two giant steps to the basket from 16 feet out and laid it up and in with 3.6 seconds left to tie. The Jazz got a chance to win when the Kings turned over the inbound and ran an amazing play but George Hill missed the floater at the buzzer.
  • Two minutes into the overtime, the Jazz took their first lead in 46 minutes of basketball but they quickly were on the wrong side again. They were down 4 points with 1:22 left when Joe Ingles hit a three at 1:07 left to bring the Jazz within one point. Cauley-Stein missed both free throws and Hill hit a runner to put the Jazz up by one. The Jazz got a stop and with :17 left Hill was fouled with a chance to give the Jazz a 3-point lead. He missed both free throws and the Kings didn’t call timeout and pushed the ball up the floor where Willie Cauley-Stein tried to dunk on Gobert but was fouled. He hit both free throws this time and the Jazz were down one point with 8.9 seconds left. Hill drove against Cauley-Stein but came up short and Rudy Gobert tipped in the game winner as time expired.
  • The officials called it interference and had to go to the review and then overturned the call.
  • Rudy was unreal. He made these huge plays late. He had 16 points, 24 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks.
  • Rodney Hood also had a big time night. He got rolling in the early part of the fourth quarter to bring the Jazz back. He had 28 points on 10 of 17 shooting and 4 of 8 from three. Before he got ignited, the offense was not rolling and he got the Jazz going.
  • The is necessary and dramatic but the Jazz didn’t play well. The defense was very poor most of the night before holding the Kings to 16 fourth quarter points. The guard penetration and the breakdowns were all over the place.
  • The offense didn’t have its usual flow. There was a lot of ball stopping. It happened more tonight with George Hill than I have seen before and I don’t know if it is something the Kings were doing. This team is very dependent on George. He was just 4 of 14 tonight. He did have 8 assists but it didn’t seem right.
  • Alec Burks played 15 minutes tonight was -9. This is happening a bit too often. The Jazz are struggling both offensively and defensively when he is on the floor. Some of this is when he plays with Dante. Going into the night, the Jazz were -13.6 per 100 possessions when both of them are on the floor together. The offense is those circumstance is a 96.8 per 100 possessions (would be 30th in NBA by a large margin). The Jazz are +2.2 when Alec is on the floor and Dante is off.
  • No Joe Johnson tonight, so Boris Diaw played some power forward and then Ingles/Hayward closed the game as the 3/4 combo.
  • Gordon Hayward doesn’t seem as aggressive right now. I could be making something up in my head, but he didn’t seem quite right. On the other hand, he had 11 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, finishing with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists so what the #$*& am I asking from him?
  • Sacramento had great balance and played really hard. They didn’t complain about calls every second and they had a zest to how they played.
  • When the Jazz hold a playoff position by one game, remember this one.

Emptying the Noggin — Tough night for the Jazz

Summary: The Wolves blow out the Jazz in a game that was never close, 107-80.

  • Quin Snyder said it after the game: “We got smashed.”
  • I’m surprised by this game. I didn’t think the road trip return would lead to a dead team. The first game back from a road trip feeling like another road game is an age-old adage in the league, but I didn’t think it would happen tonight.
  • The effort to come back versus OKC must have really taken its toll. George Hill had to go 38 minutes last night because we couldn’t play without him on the floor. Tonight, he lacked any juice. The Jazz usually try to keep their guys to 33 minutes and last night he had to give up more.
  • The Timberwolves held the Jazz to 4 of 16 from three earlier this year and tonight they were 4 of 19.
  • Dante Exum had some nice moments tonight. He is showing an offensive flash and a quick first step. He is taking a lot of contact at the rim and not getting calls. When he gets stronger, you would think he will start to get calls. He was totally outclassed by Wall and Westbrook as you would expect, but tonight he showed the signs you want to see.
  • No Rodney Hood tonight.
  • This was an offensive loss — the Jazz’s offensive rating at halftime was a 75.
  • The Jazz never made any significant runs.
  • Derrick Favors had a nice bounce tonight. On a back end of a back-to-back, that is a great sign. He defended better on the floor than I have seen in a while. He got deflections. This is a big deal.

This is a tough night for the Jazz. They got blasted. There are three big games against below .500 teams coming up for the Jazz.