EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Gordon, More Gordon and More Gordon


  • Gordon Hayward is playing a different game than he has ever played.   Why ?  Is he made that he wasn’t considered as an all-star?  Did he just realize how good he can be?   Walk though his game right now.  He is on from three and near 40% from the season so you have to close out on him.   He has become strong enough that he can take the hits while drive to the basket.   He can stop on a dime and hang in the air to create a shooting pocket on a drive in the lane and most of all he can jack it at the rim.  The last one might be the most important.  This is what separates a nice college player from an nba stud.  When G puts the ball on the floor there is a chance that he could take you all the way to the cylinder and put it on your head.   With that threat people cover your drive differently.  This is what allows G to stop and pop.  His strength is so improved that when he stops on a dime he is able to hold his body position, stay square and make the shot.    He has the whole package.


  • More Gordon.  Tonight he imposed his will on the game.  That is the difference between a solid player and a star.   Last year, the game and the opponent dictated what Gordon would do.  This last few weeks Gordon is dictating what happens in the game.   This is big time.


  • More Gordon – The dunk on Plumlee was stupid.


  • The Jazz got victimized by three items tonight.   Marcus Morris had a career night with 24 points and 12 rebounds and there was no sign that he was going to do.   We gave him a few open looks early and he has been miserable shooting the three since Jan 1st.   However, he got rolling.


  • Second the Suns who had struggled with the three since Jan 1st busted out.   They hit 14 of 27.  That is a lot to overcome.  The Jazz got victimized by the corner 3 for 7 three’s tonight.


  • Thrid, the Jazz didn’t get anything going on the offensive glass.  Credit to Phoenix who is a bad defensive rebounding team.   Teams are changing what they do to deal with the Jazz offensive rebounding.  The Jazz got just 6 of 40 chances on the offensive glass.  That is just 15% of all chances and the Jazz usually get nearly 30%.   Jazz got just 6 second chance points and have been averaging around 13.  That is the difference in the game.


  • Dante had a nice first quarter.  Exploding into the paint a few times.


  • Thomas and Bledsoe wanted to part of the paint.  A great way to look at defense is what shots you prevent them from taking as much as how you defend the shots that are taken.   This would be the Rudy corralary.


  • Jazz did a lot of things well.  They played with pace when it was available getting more fast break points than the Suns.  The Jazz negated the Suns fast break for most of the night allowing just 15 fast break points.  The Jazz eliminated the paint and held the Suns to 28 points in the paint.


  • Trey Burke has to find a way to turn his 2 for 13 night into a 3 for 9 or 4 for 10.   2 for 13 kills your team.    At least you have to find a way to get to the line.


  • It was cool to see Chris Johnson bust out and have a really strong game.   He is on the final day of a 10 day contract and I don’t know what will happen but seems strange to use his 2nd 10 day in the all-star break.   He played like a guy who has had 9 stints with an NBA club realizing it was a chance to be seen and he was terrific.  Love guys like this.


  • Impressive win by Phoenix.  3 game losing streak.  Tight playoff battle.  Back end of a back to back.   Sometimes the other guys deserve a tip of the cap.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Grizzlies are all that and more

  • Wow, Memphis looked great.  They are the perfect combination of elegance and nasty.  They move the ball, they space, they hit backdoor, they are so crisp and at the same time they pound, they hit, they impose their will and they dominate.   They are going to be a super tough out in the playoffs.  The NBA is going to be overjoyed when they get Atlanta v. Memphis.
  • What impressed me about the Jazz tonight is they maintained 48 minutes of effort against the most grueling team in the NBA.   Moreover, very little of what the Jazz wanted to do or what they have done to be successful was working and they still stayed engaged and grinded through the game.
  • The Jazz had a lot of creative elements to the their game plan and how they wanted to effect the Grizzlies but the Grizzlies were too good.  The Jazz could never impose what they wanted to do on the Grizzlies.   Again, when nothing is going you way to stay and fight for 48 minutes is pretty impressive.
  • The offensive rebound has become a weapon for the Jazz.  The Jazz are the #1 offensive rebounding team in the NBA and the Jazz got nothing on the glass for most of the night.  In the third quarter the Jazz had 0 offensive rebounds.  Through three quarters the Jazz had 4 offensive rebounds on 26 chances.  In the 4thquarter the Jazz got 5 offensive rebounds but that is very misleading.
  • Memphis has the best perimeter defense in the NBA with Conley and Allen and then add Gasol down low and they are unreal.   Jazz players didn’t have their usual nights or what you might want them to have and it was not because of the Jazz it was because of Memphis.
  • Trey Burke has played very well off the bench.  His minutes are the same but he is splitting them against the first team guy (Conley) and the 2nd team (Udrih) and the minutes against Udrih are allowing him to get his confidence and have an impact.   In the first half v. Conley Trey was 0 for 1 with 1 turnover.  Then in the 2ndhalf he went 4 for 6 v  Conley whereas he was 3 for 6 when Udrih was on the floor.
  • Nothing Dante is doing right now is going to tell you how he is going to develop.  This is an experience year.  He is going to be overwhelmed and if he has a good game tomorrow it doesn’t mean he has turned a corner.   This is going to be a long year.  He is learning how hard it is and what he has to do to get better and how much better he has to get.   The answer is a lot but he has all the skills.  No one thought he was going to have some major development jump this year.  He is in the weeds.   Think of it as parenting an infant.  One good day never means the next is going to be easier or that some corner has been turned.  It just takes time.
  • Rudy had a limited impact on the game tonight.
  • I thought Enes Kanter played the first half as well as he can play.   He finished with 16-10 and had an assist to Derrick Favors.
  • Quin said it which ever big is playing well is going to play.  Tonight Enes 31 minutes, Favors 29 and Rudy 24.   Quin has been very consistent in this regard.
  • Jazz just played the 4 best teams in the West so far this year.   They went 1-3, they never got blown out.   They competed well for all 4 games and 48 minutes of each.  They didn’t look outclassed but these teams are better than the Jazz.  Playing teams that are better than you is very difficult at the highest level the game is played.
  • Another good night for the Jazz and the growth of this franchise.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Huge progress being made by the Jazz

  • What’s going on with the Utah Jazz is really impressive. This is a collection of assets. The Jazz have not moved  into team-building mode. Yet somehow, Quin Snyder has formed a team that is beginning to get an identity and it’s playing the best in the NBA toe-to-toe each night. The Jazz have played the Clippers, Warriors and the Blazers (three of the top four teams in the West, with the fourth one coming Wednesday) and looked like they belonged in every minute of these games.
  • Tonight there were numerous chances for the Jazz to wilt and for the Blazers to run away, and each time the Jazz fought back and at different times took the lead.
  • We’re not a very good final five minute team yet. The Jazz entered the game with the second lowest FG percentage in the final five minutes and the lowest 3-point percentage in the final five minutes of a game within five points. With 5:00 left tonight it was Portland 90-87, and within 90 seconds the Jazz were down by nine. In three possessions, Mathews hit two threes and Aldridge got 2 FTs while the Jazz went empty—Burke missed a three, Favors missed inside and Burke missed a runner.
  • The Jazz started the third quarter with Rudy Gobert on LaMarcus Aldridge and Gobert completely shut him down. Aldridge had 0 points in the third quarter on 0-for-4 shooting. In the fourth quarter, Aldridge made one great move to hoop when he brought out all the bag of tricks, but that was it as he went 1-for-3 in the fourth quarter. Aldridge was 1-for-7 while being guarded by Gobert.
  • Favors had a big game on the pick-and-roll playing from the top coming straight down the lane to the rim.
  • The Jazz had the best pick-and-roll sequence I’ve seen from them all season. Trey hit Favors on back-to-back plays going to the basket. Then Trey drove, faked the pass to Favors and finished at the rim. Then the Blazers began adjusting and Trey hit a pull-up 15-footer. Finally, Trey passed to Favors, who swung it to the corner for a Hayward three. How good is that sequence?
  • Favors and Gobert played a little more than 20 minutes together on the floor. The Jazz were +1 in those 20 minutes.
  • The Jazz are playing a slow pace and it is disrupting teams. If Gobert is going to be a core to this team, there is a value to playing slow and keeping teams in the half court where he can impact games the most. Fast breaks are a low percentage of plays in the NBA (about 10%). If you can be great in half court defense, you’ve got a chance to do big things.
  • Trey played the pick-and-roll tonight really well.
  • Enes Kanter got yanked after two plays of the game and then was put back in the game after being coached by Quin.
  • Enes has a part of his game that is elite (offensive rebounding) and a part of his game that may be his downfall (no passing). Tonight he had four offensive rebounds. He has been averaging four offensive rebounds a game over the last 10 games.  This is mammoth. Assuming he scores 6 to 8 points on those plays, it has a crazy large impact on the game. The other issue is he doesn’t pass. More specifically, he never passes in a way that he creates for teammates. He had three assists in over 300 minutes in January and had zero tonight in 23 minutes. He’s assisting at the same rate he did as a rookie when he had eight assists in 800+ minutes.
  • Jazz starting guards were 1-for-8 with five points and three assists.
  • I hope we’re not taking this for granted: Hayward 27-5-5. On 16 shot attempts. WOW. That is a huge night. He has scored at least 20 points in 5 of his last 6 games, and he’s 20 of his last 42 from 3-point range.
  • Elijah Millsap had another good defensive game.
  • I have tonight’s game at 86 possessions, so allowing 103 points to the Blazers is not going to be a good defensive rating. The Jazz got in the penalty early in the third and then allowed 28 points in the third and 31 in the fourth.
  • The Jazz threw the ball all over the gym in the third quarter, but were really solid with the ball other than the third quarter.
  • Solid night. Great fight. Super experience-gaining games. Still a long process, but progress is obviously being made.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz handle the NBA’s best

  • Incredible effort from the Jazz. The Jazz took a 20-10 lead and never relented for 48 minutes. The Jazz never allowed the Warriors to have their usual run. They had a 6-0 surge on two Steph Curry 3-pointers but that was it. The Jazz led wire to wire and it was the first time all year. It was also the first time the Warriors were on the wrong side of a wire-to-wire game.
  • One of the huge plays of the night was a Favors mid-range shot with 5:47 left in the third quarter. The Warriors had gone on a 6-0 run to cut the game to 12 and Kanter scored one free throw, the Jazz got a stop, and then Favors hit a jumper that put the Jazz back up 15. The Warriors had hit the Jazz with a solid six-minute surge and the Jazz had stretched the lead from 11 to 15 and you could see it took a little out of the Warriors.
  • Favors had some big jump shots in the fourth quarter as well.
  • If you’re going to beat the best team, your best player has to be very good and Gordon made a statement tonight playing against two All-Stars. He was terrific.  Gordon finished with 26 points,15 rebounds and 6 assists. That is a mammoth night when you’re being guarded by one of the elite defenders in Andre Iguodala for a good portion of the night.
  • Jazz had length on Steph Curry all night with Danté Exum and Elijah Millsap and Curry still had 32, but it was a hard 32.
  • Gordon started on Klay Thompson early in the game and Klay never got going. He had 12 points after dropping 52, 32 and 31 in his previous three.
  • The Jazz did a lot of late switching on defense and were willing to have mismatches on the floor if it broke the Warriors’ offense. The Warriors ended up with just 21 assists on 37 field goals. The Jazz got the Warriors out of their offense for a lot of the night.
  • Seven assists for Trey Burke.
  • Trevor Booker had a great second quarter. He had 12 points in the second quarter on 5-for-5 shooting and it catapulted the Jazz to an 11-point lead. He finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Funny to do it against Steve Kerr, who last year on a TNT broadcast said that Trevor Booker was his favorite player in the NBA.
  • Joe Ingles ignited the first quarter with seven points and two big threes. He’ll get those looks as scouting reports say to drop off.
  • This was an all-around team effort. The defensive effort was solid. The gameplan from Quin was terrific and the team followed it terrifically. The execution on both ends of the floor was terrific and the 48-minute effort was as solid as we’ve seen all season.
  • Jazz are 11-11 over the last 22 games. The last two games were against the #1 and #3 offenses and Utah’s defense had an impact on the game.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Clippers late game superior to the Jazz


  •  This is a high emotion night against a very annoying team the Clippers.  But wow what a game.  The Jazz lead by 7 for a total of 6 seconds otherwise the entire game was within 2 possession.  The game had 12 lead changes and 14 ties a great many of those came in the 4thquarter.


  • The game was tied with 5 minutes to play.  That is when high level playoff teams win and developing teams lose.   Really it is not that complicated and the Jazz offense went away down the stretch.  Jazz went 6 for 25 in the 4th quarter and 3 of the field goals were off offensive rebounds.   That has become a huge part of the offense but that is too much.


  • Trey Burke finished 4 of 15 and 1 for 9 in the 4thquarter.  In the 4 games off the bench he is shooting 22 of 59 (37%) and 12 of 34 from 3 (35%) almost exactly his season numbers.  He has 6 assists in those 4 games, 1 in the last 2.


  • We can over simplify this one a bit that the Clippers made some big shots. Blake hit a tough one over Derrick.  Matt Barnes hit a tough 3 and Chris Paul gets to that spot angle right on the floor and it is lights out.  That is why they win.


  • The Clippers are a dominating offensive team.  They are #1 in the NBA in offensive efficiency, they are #2 in shooting at 47.5, #3 3 pt field at 38.4%.  Tonight the Jazz held them to 94 points which is great.  The Clipper shot 45% and 36%.  This is terrific.  To hold the best offensive team in the NBA below their league averages is a clear sign the Jazz are moving toward a top 10 defensive team.


  • More impressive is the defensive improvement of this team has not been exclusively Rudy.   Tonight he was a non factor. He played 10 minutes and the Clippers were more successful offensively when he was on the floor.  For the Jazz to have this type of defensive night with Gobert playing just 10 minutes is a big deal.


  • This was an incredibly slow paced game.  I have the possession count around 85 for the game.


  • The Jazz got 14 offensive rebounds on 40 chances  – 35%.  The Clippers usually grab 76% of the defensive glass.  This is impressive.


  • Gordon Hayward did not have a field goal in the 4th quarter for the 2ndstraight game against the Clippers.


  • Enes Kanter was terrific tonight.  21 points, 11 rebounds and he even had an assist.


  • Joe Ingles equaled his career high in assists and lead the team with 7.


  • Jazz held the Clippers to 34 points in the paint.  Last time these teams played they only allowed 18 points in the paint.


  • Frustrating night because the Clippers bring that out of you but in the big picture this is a really strong night.   The defense is playing really hard and the things that are leading to losses are not surprises when you see the age of this team.  Clippers starters have played over 3,500 games and the Jazz starters have played just over 1,000.   That is a world of difference.



EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz get beaten up by Celtics



  • Boston got physical and knocked the Jazz out of everything they were trying to do and for the first 24 minutes the Jazz didn’t respond.  Down 24 at halftime and the game is virtually over.  Very little chance you are coming back to win.   It is nice the Jazz had some fight and brought the game back and gave us some entertainment but the reality of the final outcome is they got beat in the 1sthalf that is it.


  • Jazz rallied to within 4 but never got to the top of the mountain.  The Celtics made a quick surge to get it back to 11 and that was it.   Tayshaun Prince and Tyler Zeller were terrific for the Celtics.  Zeller is a nice NBA player.  They got him for free in a salary dump by Cleveland.  He is a solid rotation player.


  • Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart are probably the toughest most physical defensive combo in the NBA and they dominated the Jazz guard.  Dante Exum was physically overwhelmed tonight and finished with 0 field goals.  Trey Burke who made some shots in the 2ndhalf after a poor first half had 0 assists.


  • Trey Burke’s 7 for 20 is a bit misleading he missed two buzzer beaters from longer than half court and two late game bombs.


  • Joe Ingles defense ignited the Jazz in the third quarter. He got up on Even Turner and got two steals and made a bunch of plays.   Another 5 assists as well for Joe.


  • Enes  Kanter had a brutal opening 5 minutes but rallied back with a 20 point and 6 rebound night.  He grabbed another 3 offensive rebounds.   He is averaging 4 offensive rebounds per game over the last 10 games.  He is a big time force on the offensive glass.


  • The Jazz were incapable of playing without Gordon Hayward tonight.  Jazz were -22 in the 13 minutes with him on the bench and +13 with him on the floor.


  • The Jazz are 0-13 when trailing going into the 4thquarter at home.


  • Gordon made a huge defensive play late in the game with a chase down block but none of his teammates ran the floor after his block.  This is going to be an embarrassing film watch for 4 guys.


  • Gordon is averaging 25 over the last 3 games.


  • Enes Kanter has 2 assists in his 302 minutes on the floor and 1 assists in his last 175


  • Boston Celtics shot 55% with Gobert on the floor and 39% with him off the floor.  Jazz shot 40% with him on the floor and 46% with him off the floor.


  • Jazz got physically beaten up today.  Bottom line.  Game was over by halftime.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – All around dominance


  • This is going to a quick one as I have to drive to Jackson Wyoming to see my sons ski race tomorrow


  • Simply a dominating performance from the Jazz.  They got a Nets team that is reeling and they spanked them.


  • The game turned in the 2nd quarter when the Jazz hit 7 three pointers in the quarter.  The Jazz have not been able to score all year with Gordon Hayward off the floor and Trey Burke lead the 2ndunit to a runaway.   Jazz lead it 58-37 at the half and the night was over


  • Very balanced solid all around performance from the Jazz. Hayward had 24 and a big 1stquarter.  Trey added 19 off the bench and Exum and Ingles threw in 13 and 16 respectively.


  • The defense was solid all night and the Nets never made a run.   The Nets finished shooting just 38.7% and hit only 5 threes.  Plus the Jazz forced 18 turnovers.


  • Turnovers have been a major issue for the Jazz recently.  They are 30th in the NBA at taking care of the ball over the last 10 games.  Tonight they turned it over 6 times in the 1stquarter, then reduced it down and ran away from the Nets.  They ended with 17 which is still high.


  • Ingles had a career high 16 points the night after he had a career high 7 assists.  Not sure why having Dante playing as the starting point guard is helping Joe but it seems to have ignited something in his game and his opportunities to make plays.


  • Jazz defensive game plan was built to deal with the Johnson/Lopez pick and roll low on the left block and they completely eliminated that.  In addition, the Nets never got the Johnson/Jack pick and roll going.  Joe Johnson only had 6 points on 3 of 7 shooting and Lopez was 2 of 9.  Those are the Nets two threats.


  • I thought Enes Kanter moved the ball better tonight than I ever seen from him.  They were creative passes makingplays but they were passes in the offense that kept the tempo and the flow. This has not always been a strength.


  • When the Jazz used both sides of the floor they got good looks and the offense was very effective.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Exum starts, Enes shines and Jazz win

  • The Jazz have beat the Milwaukee Bucks, the Detroit Pistons and the Charlotte Hornets all on their floors. Those teams are going to be the 6, 7 and 8 seeds in the East this year. The Jazz would be an Eastern Conference playoff team. I have no doubt. Think about how different everything would feel if we could play in the East and have the confidence of winning half your games and making the playoffs.
  • Good win tonight by the Jazz. Solid fourth quarter performance taking care of the ball. Turnovers were the story of the night. The Bucks are long, active and physical.   They are committed on the defensive end. They are long and able to switch all over the floor. This caused the Jazz major issues. The Jazz, who are having an issue taking care of the ball right now, turned it over 22 times leading to 32 Bucks points.  But in the fourth quarter, the Jazz only turned it over three times and when the Bucks don’t have turnovers they have a hard time scoring in the half court.
  • The Bucks really adjusted to Rudy Gobert tonight. He was dominating in the first half of the game and in the second half they clearly changed how they were playing, bringing a weakside slasher for a pass and never trying to challenge Rudy.
  • Trevor Booker’s shot will forever be the play of the year, but Rudy’s reverse dunk from the left side of the floor to the right side of the rim without a dribble is going to be tough to beat for second this season. That was absurd,
  • Gordon Hayward was the best player on the floor down the stretch. He took over. He scored or assisted on 10 straight points in a 10-0 run that won the game for the Jazz. He was guarded by O.J. Mayo for a little while in that stretch (and yes, you should be asking yourself why the Bucks would have Mayo on Hayward).  Gordon had 13 points and two assists in the quarter and was nails at the line.
  • Back-to-back 20-15 games for Enes Kanter. Wow. Tonight was strong with 13 defensive rebounds and a huge mid-range jumper late in the game. He finished with 23 points and 16 rebounds and hit all six of his free throws. Jazz grabbed 12 of 37 chances on the offensive glass as well.
  • Danté Exum made his first start of the year with a healthy Trey Burke. He looked a bit different tonight. The Jazz played with great pace early in the game and got into the early thrust. Quin wanted three things from Danté tonight: the early thrust on offense, make himself felt on defense and make some plays. 3 for 3. It helps when you hit your shots, and Exum is not going to be a 50% 3-point shooter, but if he can make that shot enough he’ll be able to start driving and getting to the basket when he gets stronger. He had 5 assists tonight. The 35 minutes was a big chunk for Exum. He told us on the postgame show he was coughing and tired on the floor.   Hopefully, with strength he’ll have better stamina than he has right now. He gets tired very easily.
  • The biggest part of Danté’s game was how good he was defensively. He took Brandon Knight out of the game to start.
  • Trevor Booker played great defense late in the game on Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  • Might take Rudy over Giannis, which would make Rudy the #1 pick of that draft if you re-drafted.
  • Rudy had another 14-10 night with huge impact on the defensive end in 35 solid, impactful minutes
  • Jazz played just 8 players.
  • Shooting 45% and nailing 14 3-pointers is a great offensive night on a team as good as Milwaukee. Jazz EFG% tonight was 58%.
  • Joe Ingles had a career-high 7 assists. His biggest assist of the night came before the game when he met with a young Australian girl who has been through major surgeries for a disease that is eating away at her face and the expert in the world is in Madison, Wisconsin. She has followed Joe’s career and Joe met her before the game. Joe is wonderful to have in the Jazz organization.
  • Tip of the hat to Trey Burke for how professional he was dealing with Danté Exum starting and how well he dealt with the media before the game. He also had a solid game.
  • Two soft landings for Danté with Brooklyn and Jarrett Jack and Boston with ???? before he gets Chris Paul and Steph Curry.