EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Three fatal turnovers negate the comeback

  • Another amazing game. What a season. We certainly have had our share of excitement.
  • Lots of great things to mention in the comeback but three turnovers are the story of the night—the first two turnovers to open the game lazy automatic passes by Alec Burks and Enes Kanter that Jimmy Butler intercepted and took the other way for dunks and Trey Burke trying a behind the back loose bounce pass to Enes Kanter’s feet with the game on the line. That’s the difference between winning and losing.   Guys were amazing. The effort was terrific, but that is the difference between winning and losing. Simple as that.
  • The opening two turnovers set the tone for the night. The Bulls were like a sharks smelling blood and the Jazz got panicky for the entire first quarter. The Jazz committed 10 turnovers allowing 18 points in the first half. They didn’t match the physical play of the Bulls. I commented on the broadcast they were starting each possession with bad field position. They started each possession so far outside the 3-point line they couldn’t get the offense started
  • The Jazz trailed 9-0 early on, 16-4 midway through the fist quarter,a dn 30-14 heading into the second quarter. They trailed by 21 at 45-24. In the third quarter they trailed 60-43 and then they battled all the way back. They took their first lead at 80-78 early in the fourth quarter. A game that had no ties and no lead changes up to that point had 5 ties and 6 lead changes when it was over.
  • Third quarters this year the Jazz have been great and they were great again tonight.  Outscoring the Bulls 36-22. Then we had an incredible fourth-quarter battle.
  • Hard to single out guys tonight, but a few guys were really good. Derrick Favors was a beast. He had a big-time move on Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah when he rolled to the basket with a gorgeous finish off a Trey Burke give. He finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds, and was huge on the boards late.
  • Trey Burke started breaking the paint in the third and fourth quarters and it changed the game. His season may have changed when he got punked by Kyle Lowry in Toronto, and since then he has fought back and broken the paint and made plays.   He had great confidence in his jumper tonight. When he pulled it you could tell he felt it was going to go in.
  • Trey had another 10 assists. He’s averaging about 8 assists a game over the last 6 games. Big time playmaking.
  • Jimmy Butler took Gordon Hayward out of the game. Ron Boone said it in the opening moments of the broadcast that this was going to be  an interesting night to see how Gordon handles the physical play, and he went 2-for-11 and only had 1 assist. Chicago took him out of the game.
  • Joe Ingles has been getting more and more time and tonight he played with a little pizzazz. Earlier this year he was playing as though he wondered if he belonged and not making mistakes; tonight he let it rip a little and made a bunch of big plays. He took 9 shots and only 3 of them were 3-pointers. Ingles got going when he torched McDermott and then kept the momentum going. McDermott might be one of the worst defenders he will face all year.
  • The Bulls allow the fewest 3-point shots of any team in the NBA and the Jazz only got 9 three attempts.
  • Enes Kanter made two plays tonight the excited me about Enes. First, he rotated perfectly defensively from the weakside baseline and stymied a Bulls play. Second, he had a great screen-out of Joakim Noah late in the game. And let’s not forget Kanter’s absurd dunk late in the game.
  • Pau Gasol looked fabulous. The Lakers have to wonder why they choose Bynum and Howard over Gasol.
  • Up 1 with the ball with 27 seconds left you can’t commit a fatal turnover (above the free-throw line—they always become points).
  • The comeback was awesome. It would have been a huge win. The Jazz would have gone to 6-9 with OKC, Clippers, Toronto, Denver and Orlando coming  up. They could have gotten close to .500 and really started to believe. They might have been rushing things a bit and it showed with the mistakes made that cost the team the game.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz get run by the Warriors

  • This one was over in a hurry. A 12-0 start by the Warriors and it was done. The Warriors came in waves and the Jazz were unable to handle it. So much of what we hear about with the Warriors is the offense and the “Splash Brothers” but this is a great defensive team. They completely de-railed Utah’s offensive structure.
  • The Warriors were switching 1 thru 4 on all picks and the Jazz didn’t know how to react to this.
  • The Jazz aren’t setting as solid picks as they set earlier in the year.
  • Andrew Bogut is so good.  He might be the most under appreciated player in the NBA.  He knocked Favors completely off his game.  Bogut is such a great rim protector and the Jazz couldn’t get into the paint.  In the opening quarter the Jazz shot 3 of 8 in the restricted area.  The Jazz have been one of the best teams in the NBA at shooting in the restricted area and the Warriors are one of the best at defending the restricted area and we know which end won the battle.
  • One the interesting parts of this match-up was the Jazz take the 3rd highest percentage of smart shots (restricted and 3’s) and the Warriors force opponents to take the fewest amount of smart shots.  The Jazz opening the night with shots of 8 feet, 14 feet, 19 feet, 9 feet,  and 17.   So the Jazz opened with 5 mid range shots and 3 turnovers.  The Jazz didn’t get a shot in the restricted area until the 7:33 mark.
  • The Warriors opened the night with 5 of their first 9 possessions as fast break possessions.  They came out running and outlet passing and the Jazz looked stunned by the speed.  The road trip and the OKC game was against mostly half court teams
  • Hayward had a nice strong third quarter.   He showed some good leadership in the way he battled down 20 in the 3rd.
  • This game was not as close as the final score.
  • For most of the first half the Jazz forced just 1 turnover and committed just 2 fouls.   I am not a big believer in just looking at those numbers and making a proclamation but it seems to tell a story about the Jazz level of force.
  • Dante Exum made some super special passes tonight.  He made a bounce pass in the paint that was a back handed bounce pass to Derrick Favors in the lane.    Dante didn’t shoot well and still does not have a field goal off the bounce outside 10 feet this year.
  • The Jazz need Trey Burke to find his game.  This is not going to last.  He is much better than 32% and 27% from three but it is getting long.   13 game stretches is 16% of the season.
  • The Warriors are in a different class than the Jazz right now.   The same thing we saw with the Mavericks and the Rockets.  This is a good reminder of how long this process is going to be and it is going to take some patience.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – The night of “The Tech”

  • Quin’s technical foul will forever be the story of this night. The Jazz were lifeless, dead in the water. The Thunder had gotten physical and made the game hard on the Jazz, and they didn’t have the fight in them to bring it back. The Thunder are so undermanned that they are forced to bring games to a halt, and the Jazz got caught in the trap. Then the tech came. The Jazz were on a mini 4-0 run before the tech but the tech got the Jazz energized.
  • The Jazz closed the second quarter on an 18-3 run to get within 2 points. That sums it up. They were down 17 to the Thunder sans Durant, Westbrook and others.
  • Once the Jazz got it rolling, the Thunder didn’t have the firepower to battle back.   Once the Jazz took the lead, the night was over. The Jazz cruised to a 17-point victory—a 34-point swing.
  • Saturday morning in Toronto, Snyder called Alec Burks out in a film session to get more rebounds. He had 2,4 and 2 in the previous games. Since then, Alec grabbed 10 and 14 rebounds. This is a big-time answer from Alec and tells you a lot about who he is and how much he wants to be really, really good. This is what the Jazz brass all talked about when they signed him to the extension—they were betting on Alec’s desire to be great. He loves the gym and works to be better.
  • Burks is a very good catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter. Last year, he was at 41% and this year he’s above that number. Once he realizes this, he’ll be even better. I’m not sure he realizes how good a catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter he is.
  • The +/- numbers tonight were the exact opposite of what they have been all season. Hayward was 0 and Favors was +1. Gobert was +23, Burks +20, Ingles +14 and Burke +11.
  • Trey Burke played a very strong game tonight. He was breaking the paint and making plays. This actually started in the third quarter in Toronto when the Raptors were isolating him defensively—he got upset and became more aggressive offensively. Tonight, he got into the lane and found people. Over the last five games Burke has 41 assists.
  • The Jazz defensively didn’t want to let Reggie Jackson or Serge Ibaka get going.  Jackson finished 4-for-13 and Ibaka was 2-for-13.
  • Enes Kanter had a strong night. He was very good yesterday in practice on the defensive end and it showed today with a 16-point, 15-rebound performance. More than that, he made a bunch of impact plays defensively.
  • The Thunder shot 35.7%—they average 42%. They went 8-for-23 from three, a little above their season average. The Jazz had a good defensive night, holding the Thunder to 81 points.
  • Exum is shooting 38% from three. Plus he had 5 assists and 0 turnovers.
  • 5-7 is a nice start to a month that never looked like it would yield 5 wins.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Buzzer beating Burke gives Jazz win in New York

  • How fun is this season?
  • A game after a meltdown down the stretch, the Jazz got better. The Jazz were down 5 and proceeded to score on 7 straight possessions. What a contrast from the night prior.
  • Trey Burke hit the game-winner and it was awesome, but the story of the night was Gordon Hayward going head-to-head with Carmelo Anthony and holding his own.   He held his own matching the game’s best scorer bucket for bucket. He didn’t back down when Melo tried to punk him. When Melo flashed an elbow, he stood up for himself. This was a huge night for Gordon. He wrote in his blog about how he doesn’t feel he can get bullied anymore. Tonight he not only didn’t get bullied, he was every bit the player Carmelo was. 33 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals is a mammoth night. Only 12 players have had that combination in one night since 2010.
  • This is what being a Jazz fan is all about right now. To have watched Gordon mature into this player has been a wonderful process. At times it was rocky. At times he seemed overwhelmed. But now that he has grown mentally and physically, now that he has learned from the past experiences, he is developing into one of the best players in the game.
  • The Jazz made the final 12 free throws they took in the fourth quarter. They hit both of 5 straight trips to the line. Favors made two big time free throws with 23 seconds left. Prior to those two, Favors was just 2-for-6 in his career in the final 24 seconds of a game.
  • Carmelo was pretty awesome on the offensive end. He scored 16 of the final 18 points for the Knicks. The Jazz made him work, but he is simply that good. I didn’t see a lot of triangle late in the game.
  • Really happy for Trey Burke. The start of the season has been hard for him shooting, but he has done a nice job of doing other things for the team and tonight he had another big passing night with 8 more assists. I think he is close to 8 assists a game for the last three games.
  • The Jazz rank 30th in the NBA in the second quarter and it came back to get them again. They were outscored 24-17. It started to happen again in the fourth quarter, but Snyder went back to the main guys in a hurry.
  • Derrick and Gordon are beginning to get more and more consistent. When they have a good night, you need Alec or Trey to join them and more often than not you will get the win. Tonight, Trey had 13 points and 8 assists.
  • Enes Kanter got pulled early in the third quarter for something. I’m not sure, but I would presume defensively. Then the Knicks slid Carmelo to the 4 and there was no longer a matchup for Enes to guard for the rest of the night.
  • The Knicks were super shorthanded and lost Shumpert to start the night, but Carmelo is big time and he keeps them in games. The Jazz had to battle every possession again, and they got a little bit better doing it tonight.
  • Wins are good, they are a lot better than losses.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz late-game misses mean defeat in Atlanta

  • The Jazz played very well tonight. They just didn’t close as well as you would have liked. If you look at the complete effort, it was a strong night. Solid effort. Good game plan. Good tempo. Lots of areas of improvement.
  • The problem is that improvement is not losing to winning—it’s from losing last year to competing. The Jazz got 48 minutes of competition tonight and they’ll learn from the late-game plays. Frankly, some of it was just missing shots. Last year, the Jazz were getting run out of the gym. Tonight, the Jazz were in the game and should have probably won.
  • Jazz did play a different style defensively and they forced a ton of turnovers tonight—22 turnovers forced tonight against a team that didn’t turn it over much this year. This was different than the game against the Pacers, who were turning it over it a ton but the Jazz were passive.
  • The Jazz had a good plan on Korver—he didn’t get a single three out of their offense.
  • This was a game of runs. The Jazz opened 11-4 and the Hawks followed with a 14-5 run till they were tied at the end of the first quarter. The Jazz went on a 12-0 run to take their largest lead at 50-37, then the Hawks closed on an 18-2 run at the end of the first half. The Jazz then jumped out in the third and lead 88-82 after three, and took a 90-82 lead before the Hawks went on a 7-0 run. The Jazz then followed with a 7-0 run and the Hawks closed the game on an 11-0 run to win.
  • Trey Burke played a nice game tonight. His shot didn’t fall by the end of the night and his numbers weren’t that good, but he had a double-double, he conducted the game well, and he had 11 assists.
  • Paul Millsap was awesome tonight—30 points, 17 rebounds (a huge offensive board late in the game) 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots. He has evolved in such a terrific way. It’s truly incredible. What a testament to his work and desire.
  • Enes Kanter had a nice night. He hit two threes, he played well in the block and he hit the baseline jumper. That ‘s the perfect offensive game for Enes. Utah’s offense is much better when he’s on the floor. The numbers don’t show that he is killing the team defensively or even hurting the team defensively.
  • Gordon Hayward sat the final 6:38 of the second quarter with two fouls, and the Hawks went on a 20-8 run while he was on the bench.
  • Utah scored just 9 points in the fourth quarter and went scoreless the final 4:34.  Here are the possessions down the stretch: 3:52 left (97-89)—Hayward misses an 18-footer as shot clock was going off. Utah got into the possession late and ran on the exterior for the possession. Hayward slipped coming around a curl and then got it to Trey, who got it back to Gordon and he was run off the 3-point line and stepped into an open-but-rushed 20-footer. 3:30 left (97-91)—Burke lets the clock run down to 10 before starting the play (a high pick-and-roll with Derrick Favors). Burke comes off the pick and gets tripped up and turns the ball over. 2:39 left (97-93)—Quin calls a specific play. It sets Hayward coming off a pin-down on a curl and he gets into the paint throws a cross-court pass to Kanter for a corner three and Kanter misses. 2:00 left (97-95)—Hayward lets the clock wind down to 8 and starts the offense on pick-and-roll with Favors. Atlanta doubles Gordon and he astutely retreats out and throws to the top to Alec, who has a wide-open three from the top and misses. 1:19 left (97-95)—Hayward gets a good look off a set play and misses. :46 left (97-98)—Burke drives left side of the lane and Millsap blocks it. :28 left (97-98)—Inbound play gets busted up and Favors turns at the top of the lane and goes to the basket and then throws a bullet past Trevor Booker for a turnover.
  • This was a well-played game and the Jazz are getting better. They need to make one or two defensive stops or one offensive play. That is close.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Hayward takes over as Jazz top Pistons

  • All road wins are good. Road wins when you trail by double digits in the second half are hard to come by. Nice performance by the Jazz to execute down the stretch and win this one.
  • The defense the first few nights was not good, but each team had an All-NBA player—and those types of players can blow up the best of game plans. Tonight, the Jazz faced a team that doesn’t have that player and they held the Pistons to 39% shooting and just 6-for-23 from three. In the second half, they held the Pistons to 32% and just 2-for-12 from three. This is a great sign.
  • Gordon Hayward took over the game. He scored the final 11 points of the game for the Jazz. He grabbed three mammoth rebounds. The most exciting thing was the Pistons completely took Hayward out of the game for the first three quarters. They denied him everywhere and wouldn’t let him get any looks. Instead of playing passively, he decided he wouldn’t let the Pistons take him out of the game. His fourth-quarter line was 11 points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
  • Danté Exum finished the night for the Jazz. Trey got in foul trouble in the third quarter. Exum brought the Jazz back part of the way in the third quarter and then he closed the game in the fourth quarter when Trey got his fifth foul.
  • The Pistons’ point guards gave the Jazz a really tough time tonight. Brandon Jennings torched the Jazz in the third quarter. He would come off the pick-and-roll and get Favors attached to him, and then curl out to wing for a jumper. In the first half, the Pistons’ point guards had 18 points, then in the third quarter Jennings had 14.
  • Quin Snyder switched Alec Burks onto the point guards and he did a really good job. This is something that Danté Exum allows Quin to do. It’s interesting because if Alec has a weakness, it’s his off-the-ball defense, but if he is on the point guard then he’s on the ball a lot more. This was his weakness in college as well, but I recall that at the end of games at Colorado he would shut guys down. Let’s keep an eye on this—it might be a good answer for Coach Snyder.
  • The bench was solid tonight. If the bench is solid, this team can win games.
  • On one level, the Jazz got crushed on the boards. On the other end, the Jazz bigs busted their butt against two mammoth bigs and both finished with double-doubles (meaning they battle the whole time). Favors finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and two assists. Kanter battled in a matchup that completely overwhelms him with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Still not sure who I like better—Drummond or Monroe.
  • Exum has one turnover in the last three games. This is a great sign of understanding and growth. I’m seeing him do something new each game. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but the fact that he’s trying something different is terrific. The other night he drove 1-on-1 in the middle of the floor. Tonight he went 1-on-1 and rose and fired and missed. Who cares? He told us after the game that Quin asked him to try one new thing every game. At some point, it would be good for his turnover number to increase again, which means he’s trying things that he will figure out as time goes on. It’s still early, and in these nights where he has good matchups he is showing he can effective. Some nights that will not be the case.
  • Joe Ingles—3-for-3 from three.
  • Strong win on the road. This  is enjoyable to watch. Quin is working them hard.  There are going to be tough nights along the way, but nights like tonight sure are fun.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Dirk is terrific, the Jazz were not

  • The Jazz got blasted tonight by the Mavericks. The Jazz led 2-0 and the Mavericks followed with back-to-back threes and the game never got closer. On a few occasions, the Jazz made a run and tried to get into it but were unable to knock down the shots and the game got away from them in the third quarter.
  • Dallas went under on the pick-and-rolls and the Jazz couldn’t knock down the shots. Couple that with 23 turnovers and you really have no chance. Missing shots is an issue. They shot very poorly last year on uncontested shots, and teams are going to start making the Jazz players make shots. If Trey doesn’t shoot well and Alec isn’t a natural shooter, then the guard line will have a hard time breaking the paint on penetration.
  • The defense was not good tonight. Being on the wrong side of 23 turnovers and 32 points off turnovers, it’s hard to be good defensively. However, the defense was not good. The Mavericks run 80 plus ball screens and the Jazz were trying to hard hedge the pick, and the Mavericks guards were able to get past the hedge, turn the corner and get straight into the lane. The Jazz were unable to execute the defensive game plan. Part of this is that the Mavericks are experienced and have seen it all.  Their guards are all 9–10 year veterans and they know how to react to every defense.
  • Dallas’ guards were doing something that’s becoming more and more common.  When they get by the pick, they curl back underneath the pick away from the sideline and to the middle of the floor. Now the big is on the other side of the ball rather than the middle and there is no weak-side defense to help with the roll man.
  • Monta Ellis has become a drive-and-dish, not a drive-and-finish guy. This is a huge change in his game from when he played in Golden State.
  • Trey Burke was 4-for-12 and is still shooting 33% for the year. He needs a good shooting night. He’ll be back in Michigan for the next game where he was great a year ago.
  • Rodney hood went out with plantar fasciitis and was not available after the first quarter.
  • Kanter and Favors combined for 7 turnovers.
  • Alec Burks is not having an impact on the game offensively right now. He’s not great at going off picks in the pick-and-roll—he would rather play one-on-one, and those chances are not how the offense is built.
  • Dirk is awesome.
  • Off to the road we go. Interested to see if the Jazz can play better defense against bad offensive teams like Detroit, Indiana and New York.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Was this Utah’s “Phoenix” night?

  • Wow. What a night. This could be a big one. Jeff Hornacek was asked when the Suns turned the corner last year and he talked about the team playing head-to-head with the Spurs on the fifth game of the year and even though they lost they learned they could play with the best. This was the fifth game of the yearDid the Jazz just learn they could play with the best?
  • For Hayward, it’s huge. He has been brilliant. Quin Snyder said before the game that Gordon has been playing with “fire.” That shot changes him. He was great. He had 21 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists. He’s putting mammoth games linked one after another.
  • So many plays tonight that were the key to the game—Burks hits four free throws late in the game, Booker hits the three off an inbound with 1.9 seconds left on the shot clock. Burks makes a hockey assist to Booker, who finds Favors on a paint-to-paint pass on a mid-roll.
  • The Jazz controlled this game most of the way and were better than Cleveland most of the night. The Cavs took their first lead in the fourth quarter. Impressively, after giving up the lead, the Jazz battled back to regain control. For the first three quarters, the Jazz moved the ball, they got great looks, they simply outplayed Cleveland.
  • Joe Ingles throws the inbound for the game-winner. That’s the level of detail that Quin Snyder deals with. Who’s my best passer? Plus Ingles pump-fakes the pass to the baseline to move the defense to open the passing lane to Gordon.
  • Danté Exum had to play a lot of key moments tonight because Trey got into foul trouble. He played 25 minutes. He’s making improvements. His defensive length is a problem for other teams. He’s penetrating the paint more and getting out of the paint without making mistakes. He had zero turnovers tonight.
  • Utah’s ball movement was great. The Jazz are playing like a team. Thet had 26 assists tonight. The offense came in ranked fourth in the NBA and they hit 51% of their shots, added seven 3-pointers and hit on 17 foul shots. They had a good offensive night.
  • Cleveland has major issues. I’m not convinced they are going to figure it out, and I’m not convinced that LeBron is right. Mentally, he is way out of his game, but physically he is not doing what he used to be capable of doing. He is lacking lift.
  • With that said, LeBron had 31 points. But his night was strange.
  • Favors is really figuring out how to play in the spacing of Quin’s system. He almost never has to play forcing the ball into the post. He’s catching on the block lower with a quicker move, and when he plays up top he has room. Also, he’s coming off the baseline to get the ball and do damage.
  • Do you like Trevor Booker yet?
  • Rodney Hood in as a defensive replacement late to get Trey off the floor with five fouls and not as much length. I love these type of moves.
  • Rudy Gobert was really good tonight as well. Three blocks in 12 minutes.
  • If the Jazz get good bench minutes, this team will be much better than people anticipated.
  • Jazz go to 2-1 at home, and each team has been on the back end of a back-to-back. So will Dallas on Friday.
  • Great crowd tonight. My head still hurts. Standing most of the fourth quarter. Jazz Nation, you are awesome.