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.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Strong night in L.A. for Jazz in loss

  • Strong night for the Jazz. The Clippers hadn’t clicked in yet, and after playing three lackluster games you knew they would be sharp tonight. Lots of things went wrong tonight, and the Jazz fought through them and improved throughout the game. By the end, they were battling the Clippers to the horn.
  • Derrick Favors was limited by foul trouble, and for the Jazz to have a partial performance from their big man and stay in the game is impressive. Favors finished with just six points and three rebounds in 26 minutes. Derrick played nine minutes of the first quarter and had four points and two rebounds. He looked like he was on his way to another substantial night but he played just seven seconds of the second quarter and never found his rhythm.
  • The Clippers hard hedged on the pick-and-roll, which means the big comes out and traps the point guard. This caused a lot of problems for the Jazz early in the game as they committed six turnovers and scored just 20 points in the first quarter. However, the Jazz improved as the night went on, making more and more plays out of the trap and getting more and more open looks. This is a difficult one for the Jazz because they do not play the hard hedge, so they very rarely play against it in practice. Neither Houston nor Dallas play it either.
  • Through four games, Gordon Hayward is averaging 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game. He’s shooting 48% from the field, has hit on 37% of his threes and has been perfect from the free-throw line. Tonight, he carried the team when Favors was out. When everyone is asking for leadership, this is a good example of leadership. Tonight, he had 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists. He did commit two turnovers in the fourth quarter.
  • The Jazz went on a 13-0 run in the third quarter to come all the way back from a 15-point deficit in the second quarter to tie the game at 62. The group on the floor was Burke, Burks, Hawyard, Booker and Favors, and when Favors picked up his third foul he was replaced by Kanter. And Hood came in for Burks in the midst of the run. It’s a good sign when a run continues even in the midst of substitutions.
  • The game was tied at 62, 70 and 75. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin came back in the game with 7:33 left in the fourth quarter with the Clippers up 85-82. They promptly stretched the lead to seven at 91-84 with 6:19 left and to nine with 2:52 left.
  • Utah’s bench had a nice night for a road game. Booker was strong again with 12 points, five rebounds and two 3-pointers. Rodney Hood hit two threes and had six points. Danté Exum wowed the crowd with a quick left-hand drive on the left angle with an incredible burst of speed for a layup. Exum finished with seven points, two assists and an awesome blocked shot. Rudy had another solid 15 minutes. He ended up on a Jordan poster, but you have to love that he tries to make those plays.
  • Consider that Exum had eight turnovers the first time he played the Clippers in preseason and tonight he was fine and really was more than fine. That’s remarkable. He has incredible ability to take instruction and integrate it into his game. He made three or four plays with his length. All signs with Danté are pointing upward—it’s just going to take some time. The goal this year is to build the foundation for him to build off in the future. This is as much off the floor as on the floor. There will be times when he is overwhelmed and times when he finds a rhythm. We’ll all want it accelerated, but it is a process and it will be slow.
  • Enes Kanter had a nice offensive night with with 17 points and nine rebounds.
  • Trey is shooting 33% with just two 3-pointers. He’ll get it going. He was trying very hard tonight to make plays.
  • Solid night tonight. Looking forward to the next two at home.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Favors, Hayward deliver Quin his first win

  • Congratulations to Quin Snyder on his first NBA win.
  • Derrick Favors was masterful tonight. The team did a lot of things well, but it was all propelled by the play of Derrick Favors. Derrick played in a way he has never played before in his life. He had continued effort on numerous plays. When he got denied, he took it as an affront and took it right back at the Suns the next play. Maybe most impressive was his postgame interview when he said that he saw his team come out sluggish and he had to pick them up and lead the way. He saw them begin to feel bad about themselves and he needed to take control. Did he ever. He was a beast and the Suns don’t have the big men to answer this type of performance.
  • Derrick rang the 30-point bell for the first time in his career. The question now is did he just find out something about himself? The last time Derrick had a game like this was his high school championship game when he had 38 points and 21 rebounds. Did he just realize what he is capable of accomplishing in the NBA? Derrick is in a really good place. I have thought Derrick would be the player who takes the biggest jump under Quin. Next stop is Blake and DeAndre in L.A. How does Derrick attack them? That’s what this whole season is going to be about. Derrick never scored 30 points in college, and he only scored more than 20 twice.
  • Derrick also had nine rebounds, an assist, two steals and two blocked shots.
  • The Jazz allowed 19 fast-break points in the first half and only two in the second half. The Suns played last night v. San Antonio and got a great win. They were ripe for the picking, but you have to get them. The first half proved the Suns would get out if you allowed them to, and the Jazz cut that off in the second half.
  • Five different guys had at least three assists. That’s what this team is going to be about.
  • The team scored in the second quarter when the bench came on and didn’t have the offensive stall when Rudy was on the floor. I’ve said numerous times that I don’t see where it is reality to Rudy, so I think it will be solved.
  • Gordon Hayward did so many things well tonight. His rebounding, nine defensive, was great. The outlet passes he throws off the rebounds is changing the way the other guys are approaching it. Quin wants a rebound and an outlet. Not a rebound and a dribble. He wants a pass up the wing and then another ahead pass where the attack at the 45 takes place. Too often, guys are getting the first outlet and then never making the ahead pass and never attacking at the 45. Gordon is changing that by doing it right. His open-court play was terrific. He’s really good in the open floor. His confidence in attacking the basket is at an all-time high.
  • The Jazz still only shot 7-for-26 from three. Some guys are not stroking it right now—Rodney Hood is 1-for-10; Trey Burke is 2-for-15.
  • Rodney Hood is a really nice player. He’s going to be a good NBA player. Lots of people have wondered how he dropped in the draft. One play told that story tonight: He drove the right baseline and had a chance to go up and pack it, but he isn’t that type of athlete. Instead, he jump stopped in the lane and the defender jumped on his back and he got fouled. A top-15 pick (maybe top-10) rises up and flushes.
  • Quin wants the wings and guards to flatten the defense with an initial probe at the 45. Too often, our guards are willing to just stop outside the arc and get into the flow without trying to probe the 45.
  • Quin went to Trevor Booker just a few seconds into the third quarter, and he played very well with the other four starters. It changed the course of the game. Enes is not playing as well as he has at other points—he’s just 10-for-25 shooting. The Jazz need Enes to play well and find a way to be productive.
  • Great win. The ball movement was excellent. The intensity was terrific. They never let the Suns get going in the game. Great to have something positive to build on. Now time for another road game against a playoff team. This opening month is brutal, so every win should be cherished.