EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz get smoked in OKC

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN — Gassed Jazz get blown out in last game of long road trip
Summary: The Jazz got torched early and had nothing in the reserve to fight back against Oklahoma City.
• If the Jazz were going to win tonight, they were going to have to come with a burst early and then gain momentum as the night went on to be able to outlast the fatigue. The opposite happened. The Jazz came out stale, the Thunder hit them early and before you knew it, the Jazz were down 9-0 and then 17-2 and the game was over.

• Two moments exemplified how the Jazz started the game. Defensively, they wanted to build a wall to prevent Westbrook from getting to the rim in transition. The Jazz built the wall but they didn’t put up any resistance, so Westbrook waltzed into easy pull up jumpers and started the night 4 for 4.

• There was an offensive possession where the Jazz player who was supposed to go down to the corner to set the pick strolled down with no vigor and when he set the pick, the player who was supposed to sprint off the pick did nothing of the sort. The play went nowhere.

• Two other plays that jumped out were in transition when the Jazz first had a chance to commit a foul to stop a fast break and the Jazz player who was closest was a step slow and didn’t really make the effort to commit the foul. The next play, Russell Westbrook was going coast to coast and one of our players easily could have fouled him or grabbed him. It would have taken effort as Russell is strong, but instead he just side stepped him and let him go. The Jazz player had no fouls.

• This was a tough game. The Jazz just didn’t make it any easier on the themselves.

• Thabo Sefolosha had a very strong game. He was good cutting off the ball and getting free. He made some shots and seemed very engaged in the game.

• The Jazz seem to have nights where they are a step slow or seem out of gas. This could be in part due to the injuries. It puts a burden on everyone to have a larger role and this tires them out. In addition, if you match up the Jazz player to the other teams’ starter each night, how often is the Jazz player the superior athlete? It takes a lot of effort to play when the guy who is guarding you and who you are guarding is physically superior to you. This could be part of the reason the Jazz have these nights.

• The Jazz play the Thunder Saturday and can even the season series at 2-2 with a win.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Rockets explosion too much for Jazz solid effort and game plan

SUMMARY: An all-time barrage of 3-pointers ended a really good night for the Utah Jazz in a loss to the Houston Rockets, 120-99.

• The Jazz led the game 91-83 after a Thabo Sefolosha 3-pointer from the left corner. Then the Rockets went bananas. Eric Gordon hit three straight 3s from deep and that was just the beginning. The Rockets ended up blowing the Jazz out with a 120-99 win, closing the game in a 37 to 8 run.

• If you run through the history of the great NBA teams, they have these runs that are unstoppable. The great Bulls teams did it with defense. The current Warriors did it with a combination of O and D. This Rockets team does it with 3-point shots and when they link three or four of them in a row, it is lights out. When they hit 8 of 10, it is tough to handle.

• The game was terrific for the Jazz until the Rockets’ barrage. The game had 22 lead changes and 14 ties. The game had 11 lead changes and seven ties in the third quarter alone.

• The Jazz’s strategy was to try to get the ball out of the hands of James Harden or Chris Paul and they did it well. It slowed down the Rockets and took them out of their rhythm for most of the night. Even in the onslaught, the shots were made by Eric Gordon, Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza.

• Eric Gordon takes 3s them from five feet behind the line which increases the spacing even more.

• The third quarter was fascinating basketball. Both teams played 5 out (no center, five shooters all outside the 3-point line). The Rockets played it with drives to the basket and then would kick it out to shooters. The Jazz did it inverse with back cutters and passes to the cutters and the Jazz torched the Rockets.

• Donovan Mitchell only played 21 minutes. I believe this was because the other guys were playing well tonight. Ricky Rubio — who hasn’t been finishing games — was very good tonight and was running the team well. Rodney Hood had it going with 26 points and five 3-pointers. Joe Ingles has been so solid all the time and was again tonight. One of them would have had to be taken out of the game and I am not sure who that would have been.

• Joe Ingles played 37 minutes. He has played 21 games this year of over 30 minutes. Last year, he played 19 the entire season.

• Joe Johnson got some of his game going in and around the paint, but the 3-point shot is not falling.

• I loved the way the Jazz played tonight. They trailed by one at the half. They held the Rockets to 51 first half points, one of their lowest totals of the season. They broke the Rockets rhythm and style for the majority of the night. Then a great team kicked in with its complimentary players. That is the sign of how good the Rockets are this year.

• I wonder when the last time a team took 16 more 3s than its opponent and lost. I am guessing it doesn’t happen much, if ever.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Rockets leave no doubt

SUMMARY: The red hot Houston Rockets showed every bit of why they have won 8 in a row and dismantled the Jazz in the 2nd half on their waty to 112-101 win that wasn’t that close.
• The Jazz started the night terribly with Rudy Gobert mishandling three straight possessions that lead to the Rockets taking a 6-0 lead and a timeout from Quin Snyder. From that point on the Jazz played the Rockets even and trailed by 5 at the half.

• The third quarter the Jazz got blitzed. Ryan Anderson couldn’t miss from three. James Harden who had scored the last 8 points in the 1st half kept rolling in the 2nd half and before the half had even got going the game was gone. The Rockets are now 16-1 when they lead at the half.

• The Rockets started the night with Trevor Ariza on Donovan Mitchell. It is clear that the best defender is going to guard Donovan every night. The lack of Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson is obvious when Mitchell is off the floor or they opponent digs into Mitchell.

• Rudy Gobert has not been able to impact games at his highest level since returning from the injury.

• The Jazz are starting Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert because they both deserve to start, but not for the well being of the offense or right now team success. Tonight when they were on the floor together the Jazz got outscored 27-10. This is a really tough situation for the Jazz and Quin Snyder. They are trying to sneak through the opening moments of the game and then get to the most effective lineups this year and it is not working the last three games.

• Donovan Mitchell started slowly, but by the end of the night had 26 points on 9 of 19 shooting and 2 of 6 from three. He is averaging 26 points a game the last 5 games. There are a lot of garbage time points in this total with the game a blowout so quickly into the 2nd half, but give Donovan credit for continuing to compete.

• Joe Ingles had a great start to the game. He was straight ballin

• Derrick Favors finished with 28 minutes and 2 of 4 shooting with 5 points and 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steak and 2 blocks . Rudy Gobert played 28 minutes as well and had 6 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks and 5 turnovers. Jazz need better production out of these two players. Both are much better than this level of production.

• Thabo Sefolosha was a plus 12 tonight and had 14 points and 5 rebounds.

• The Rockets followed the script they have been playing with all season. They won their 8 straight and their 14 of 15. They have won the 8 straight by an average of about 20 points and the 14 of 15 by an average of about 17 points. They have lead by 10 or more for 38% of their minutes played coming into the game tonight. They never lead by 10 in the first half tonight but did for almost the entire 2nd half. They have lead by 10 or more in over 50% of their 2nd half minutes and by 20 or more in 25% of those minutes.

• The Rockets are great. They are going to make a real run at the #1 seed and the Warriors should be worried.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Perfect Basketball

SUMMARY: The Jazz continued their brilliant play, winning their sixth game in a row in the third largest win in franchise history, 116-69.
• This is truly remarkable and honestly, it is beyond me what is happening. Twelve games into the season, the Jazz simply couldn’t score. We wondered if this team might finish the season 30th in the league offensively. After the loss to Brooklyn, the Jazz were 6-10 and the question was how many pieces could the Jazz move before the trade deadline, and whether or not it was worth tanking. Since then, the Jazz have won five games (in a span of eight) by 19 or more points. The offense is ranked in the top two in the NBA and the Jazz have the fifth best point differential in the NBA for the season. I don’t really understand what is happening. I am not sure any one of us are sure either, but we do know it is a great deal of fun to watch.

• The first quarter felt like the best basketball the Jazz have played all year (at least until the second quarter). The Jazz won the first quarter 29-15. They moved the ball and they got open look after open look. They got high percentage shots and forced the Wizards into mid-range jumpers.

• In the second quarter, the onslaught continued. The Jazz defense was even better and within 5 minutes, a 14-point lead jumped to 26 and within 6 was at 31. The Jazz led this game 52-21. That is unheard of.

• This was the second worst lost in Wizards history and the Jazz’s third largest win.

• The Jazz’s offense was clicking. They got into the front court quickly and then started putting the Wizards in the blender. “The blender” is when the Jazz are able to break the paint with the drive, kick the ball out, drive again and kick again. At this point, the defense is in a scramble. The other night on the plane, Quin Snyder jokingly said that wasn’t a blender, we had them in the Vitamix. Tonight, they had the Vitamix on high.

• Every Jazz player had a field goal and an assist by halftime.

• My halftime question for Igor Kokoskov was what is it like to watch your team play perfect basketball. He didn’t disagree. That is the best way I can sum up the Jazz’s performance.

• The game never went inside 30 points in the second half.

• Rudy Gobert returned and looked fine. At times, he was a bit off balance. There was a play where you would have thought he would have dunked, but fatigue may have been an issue. He blocked two shots of Gortat’s early and eliminated Washington’s interest in going to the basket.

• Three minutes into the first and third quarters, Quin Snyder subbed out Derrick Favors and brought in Jonas Jerebko, so the Jazz played only six minutes the entire night with Favors and Gobert on the floor together. The score was 7-7 in those six minutes.

• Favors circled back and played with Jerebko at the 6-minute mark. Favors was +25 in the 18 minutes he played the center and Gobert was +18 in the 15 minutes he played center with someone other than Favors playing power forward.

• The Jazz shot 34 of 75 shots as 3-point shots (45% of all shots) and made an incredible 47%. The Jazz’s shooting is through the roof. They entered the game at 39% for the season and as the third best 3-point shooting team in the NBA.

• Alec Burks led all scorers with 27 points, making it was the first time in his career that he scored 24 or more in three straight games. This is a new Alec Burks playing the game in a different manner than we have seen before.

• The Jazz held the Wizards to 28.8% shooting which is the seventh lowest by a Jazz opponent in franchise history.

• Dan Clayton pointed out the Jazz didn’t need to score for the final 18 minutes of the game and they still would have won.

• Ekpe Udoh was out of the rotation.

• Raul Neto was back and superb.

• Joe Ingles is 31 of his last 56 from 3. That is simply stupid.

• I don’t know who this team is right now. The metrics are beginning to make you believe this team might have something, but they also said this team was on the verge of being one of the six worst teams in the league not too long ago. The Jazz may not be favored in more than one game until after Christmas. This stretch will let us know.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Alec Burks play represents the Jazz developmental program

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN — Utah’s offensive prowess continues in blowout win over injured Clippers

SUMMARY: The Jazz’s offensive explosion continued as they turn a close fourth quarter game into a blowout 126-107 win over the Clippers.
• The story of the night was Alec Burks. Alec finished with 28 points (a season high), 7 rebounds (a season high), 5 assists (a season high), 3 steals (a season high), and 1 blocked shot.

• Alec has been working really hard to change his game and he saw the result of all that hard work tonight. The East coast road trip was a disaster for Alec, but he continued to work. His assistant coach Jeff Watkinson has been working with Alec to get wider in his stance. When you think of Alec, you think of that tall, rhythm, bouncy dribble. That left him with poor balance and the inability to stop on drives. Playing with a wider stance and shorter, choppy steps gives him the ability to stop in the lane before he is in trouble, keep him on his feet, pick his spots so he can attack, pull up or pass.

• He threw a pass tonight on a play in the paint that I had never seen from him. He was in the paint and stayed on the ground. Because he was on balance and playing slower, he was able to rip a pass to Ingles in the corner for a 3. In the past, this play was Alec driving to the basket recklessly, and if he made the pass he threw a wraparound from the baseline.

• He played under control the entire night. He made floaters in the lane. He curled out on a 1-on-2. He had DeAndre Jordan on a switch and he lifted into a 3-pointer instead.

• Talking to Alec today at shootaround, he said he is just trying to play slow. He had to change because his former game wasn’t working. When I asked him how hard that is, he said it is really hard because everything he did before was about explosion, which he’s trying to learn to play without. The irony is by taking away away and slowing down, he will give himself an opportunity to use those explosive qualities again.

• The Jazz are doing so many things with their coaching staff. I talk about preparation so much in regard to in-game adjustments, but each player has an assistant coach assigned to them for floor work. That same coach will do film work with the player. They do this every day.

• Add to that the advances the Jazz are making with their medical staff and the Jazz have the complete package for player development. Each player is doing table massage work before every practice and every game to activate their muscles. The same professional is working with them each day so that trainer knows that body and what is needed. Each player has a specific strength plan that is built for them, largely based on what their body needs and what is discovered in those table sessions.

• That’s a pretty good recipe for player development: High level work on the player to prepare them to be ready on the floor then individual coaching attention dedicated to specific aspects of the player’s game. Couple that with a head coach that gives players every chance to have success and the Jazz have the premier player development program in the NBA.

• The offense continues to be remarkable. Over the past 10 games, the Jazz have been taking 38% of their shots as 3-pointers. Tonight they took 34 of 85 shots as 3s (exactly 40%) and they hit an incredible 16 of 34.

• The Jazz had 38 assists; The last time they did that was 2010. Every Jazz starter had at least three assists and five players had five or more.

• It was a 1-point game with 10:30 left in the fourth quarter and the Jazz went on a 21-4 run to blow out the Clippers. That run stretched out to 50-19 to end the game.

• The Jazz didn’t play a lot of defense (or couldn’t get stops) until late in the third quarter. The Clippers shot 66% in the second quarter.

• This was statistically the best offensive game of the year for the Jazz.

• Derrick Favors was terrific again. He had 7 offensive rebounds and was a beast.

• The Jazz being 6-4 in 10 games without Rudy Gobert is surprising. The level of offensive play has been completely stunning.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Quin Snyder is showing his brilliance

SUMMARY: After a back-and-forth second quarter, the Jazz exploded and never looked back en route to a 106-77 routing of the Denver Nuggets.
• The Jazz trailed by one point at the half and outscored the Nuggets 58 to 28 in the second. It was stunning. Frankly, it was stunning from both the Jazz and the Nuggets.

• The Jazz continued the exceptional ball movement that started in Orlando and has led to high level 3-point shooting. Over the last eight games, Utah had taken 38% of their shots as 3-point shots and made 40%. Tonight, they took 32 of 87 shots as 3-point shots (37%) and hit on 14 of those for 44%.

• Derrick Favors was great. He is annihilating big centers with less movement. Jokic is not good laterally and Favors made him look super slow all night. This is the same thing he did to Vucevic in Orlando, Mozgov versus Brooklyn, Henson versus Milwaukee and Lopez versus Chicago. Derrick has been a beast. He was great on the roll tonight. He had a big job on the defensive glass. He is finishing at the rim back at the 70+% rate he did before last year’s injuries.

• Remember two years ago, there were days when we wondered if Derrick was the best player on the team? He is playing at that level right now on both the offensive and defensive end.

• The offense has been much of the focus since Rudy’s injury and how the Jazz have performed with a stretched floor. Tonight, they were just as good defensively as they were offensively.

• Part of me is wondering if this is the stretch where we are seeing the pure brilliance of Quin Snyder. Maybe we saw it last year when with all those injuries and gimpy George Hill, Quin found a way to get that team to over 50 wins. This stretch feels really masterful. His offensive schemes are finally playing with a stretched floor. He had it a little with Joe Johnson last year in the second half of the season as a stretch 4 and the Jazz were unguardable at times. They are again. Coming into the game tonight, the Jazz were the third best offensive team in the NBA over the past eight games. The offensive rating was 118 tonight and will likely go up. Quin has always wanted to play with a stretch floor, but the roster he has forced him to play with two big and adapt. When Favors was out last year we saw this offense. In the first round of the playoff the Jazz were unguardable and now again for a 9 game stretch with a group would never be classified as a offensive group they are unguardable. Quin Snyder is ahead of the game and we are seeing what he is capable of building.

• The Jazz are doing things offensively that no one else in the league is doing and Quin is pushing teams’ defensive principles into areas of confusion, allowing the Jazz to take advantage of that to get amazing looks.

• In six of the last nine games, the Jazz have had 14 3-point makes or more.

• In seven of the last nine games, the Jazz’s offensive rating has been above 110. Only the Warriors averaged more than 100 for the season.

• Over the last nine games, the Jazz are shooting above 50% on corner-3s.

• Tonight, they did it without Rodney Hood, Rudy Gobert, Joe Johnson and Dante Exum.

• Joe Ingles’ passing was incredible. He used ball fakes like a magician to open up opportunities.

• Ricky Rubio took 10 shots and has not taken more than 10 shots in eight games.

• Jonas Jerebko and Thabo Sefolosha have been a forceful power forward combination. They played 40 minutes, shot 7 of 15 (Jonas was 6 of 10) were 3 of 7 from 3 (Jonas had all 3), had 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals (both Thabo) and scored 17 points. This night it was Jerebko that did most of the damage on the corner 3s but on other nights, it has been Thabo.

• Royce O’Neale got a ton of time with Rodney Hood out and hit three 3-pointers, including two corner 3s and had a career high 11 points.

• The Nuggets’ offense is handoff-based and the Jazz blew it up. The Jazz’s offensive is a pick-and-roll advantage-based offense and they scorched the Nuggets.

• This was a stunning performance by the Utah Jazz. To blow out the Nuggets by 30 while being shorthanded is unheard of. Being 5-4 without Rudy is unthinkable. Having the best offense in the NBA over a nine game stretch with this set of players makes you believe Quin Snyder is a mastermind.

• The Jazz have discovered something. How all the puzzle pieces fit for the rest of the season and with everyone healthy is unclear.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Perfect Game plan and ball movement lead to blow of Bucks

SUMMARY: The Utah Jazz used electric ball movement and a brilliant game plan to exploit the Milwaukee Bucks in a 121-108 win.

• The Jazz set a franchise record 18 3-point makes and had brilliant ball movement all night. The Bucks are the most aggressive defense in the NBA; They double the ball off every pick and they over-shift to the strong side more than any team in the NBA. The Jazz were perfectly prepared for the Bucks’ defense and moved the ball all night, finishing with 31 assists. They ball faked, threw skip passes and toyed with the Bucks’ defense as though they were on strings on most of all their made shots.

• The Jazz got 10 corner-3 shots tonight and made seven of them. That is a huge amount. It is not the 20 they got last year against the Bucks, but it was still a lot. The Bucks have altered their defense to try to take away the corner-3 since they got so exploited last year.

• The Jazz have now beaten the Milwaukee Bucks in 16 straight games in Salt Lake City. It is the third longest streak by any home team in NBA history. The last time the Bucks won in Salt Lake was 2001

• The Jazz took 40% of their shots from 3. To do this without a bona fide one-on-one breakdown player is a tribute to the offense, the ball movement, the teamwork and the system.

• The Jazz came into the game number one in the league in setting picks and number one in passes made, which showed tonight as they abused the Bucks more and more on every pass and every pick.

• It didn’t feel like Giannis Antetokounmpo had a great night and he finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. That is a tribute to what an incredible player he is. He seemed unstoppable at times. It just felt normal.

• The Jazz only had 10 turnovers tonight despite all the passing. The Bucks are third in the NBA at forcing turnovers.

• Joe Ingles had a regular season career high with 9 assists tonight. He is also 21 of his last 31 from 3. That is absurd.

• Rodney Hood took over the game for a period and ended up with 21 points for his 12th straight game in double figures, which I believe is the longest streak of his career with double figures. He is a much better offensive player right now. He is above average in efficiency for the first time in his career and he is doing it with an increased usage rate.

• Donovan Mitchell has spurts where he just jumps off the floor. Whenever I watch a college game (rarely to be honest), my rule is an NBA player has to jump off the floor. A good example is when I was watching Stanley Johnson and this kid from UCLA kept jumping off the screen. It was Norman Powell. Donovan is doing this in NBA games. He is doing this against the best players in the world. To jump off the floor as an elite player in your first 20 games as a rookie is rarified air.

• The Jazz’s December schedule is brutal and Utah could play well and still lose almost of all of their games. At the same time, the Western Conference is not what we anticipated, and if the Jazz can stay above water it may turn out to be a nine-team race for eight spots.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz feast before Thanksgiving

SUMMARY: The Utah Jazz blow out an inferior Chicago Bulls team and have a group feast, 110-80.
• Quin Snyder once talked about his team as a group who goes to Thanksgiving dinner and shares the meal, passes the yams, the stuffing and the turkey, passing it to all of the other people at the table. Some teams let one player eat everything they want and then they pass it and the next person takes everything they want. Tonight, the Jazz emulated exactly what Quin Snyder wanted from his team at Thanksgiving.

• The first quarter was close as both teams shot relatively well, and the Jazz led 25-24. Utah took a 9-point lead at the half, going on a 15-6 run from 5:22 to 1:02 (remember this). In the third quarter, the Jazz went on a 24-9 run from 9:55 to 3:15 and blew the game out.

• Timeouts had an impact tonight. The new rules mean that the first two timeouts are the two mandatory timeouts, no matter who takes them. In the second quarter, the second timeout got taken around the 7:20 mark and the same thing happened in the third quarter. This meant that there was extended basketball at altitude, and in both cases, the Jazz ran away from the Bulls. The only way to stop the clock is a team timeout and they are just a minute. It has been noticeable in the early portion of the season that these are not enough to stop a run. I think this is something Quin could consider using to the Jazz’s advantage. We are a deep team and are used to altitude.

• Derrick Favors was the best player on the floor tonight. He was totally dominating. He was able to get inside and to the rim. He had a gorgeous floater. He was able to move inside and around Robin Lopez. Derrick has consistently been dominant against tall centers who aren’t as mobile as he is. He finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds and was a +27.

• The Jazz moved the ball and got a bunch of good 3-point looks and it resulted in a night of 14 3-point shots on 35 attempts. That is 40% of the Jazz’s shots. This is heading in the correct direction from a shots composition standpoint. Since Gobert has been out, the Jazz have been taking 38% of their shots as 3-point shots. After tonight, they would rank second or third in percentage of FGA that are 3-point attempts. This is a great tribute to the offensive system Quin is running and how he is finding ways for guys to get good looks.

• Over this same stretch, the Jazz have hit 40% of their 3-point shots. This is worth watching. They may have figured out something offensively with the spread floor and a roster of average to above to average 3-point shooters.

• Ricky Rubio took 10 shots tonight. This is more in the realm of where he can be successful.

• I love that Rodney Hood is able to get nine 3-point shots off. If he can add a few more free throw attempts to those nine attempts from 3, he will be become an efficient, bona fide offensive force.

• Jonas Jerebko is playing really well for the Jazz. He had 10 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes. He is near 50% for the season from the 3-point range.

• Donovan Mitchell went 1 for 10 and looked exhausted. He has never been through a stretch like this in his career. Lauri Markkanen looked the exact same way and was 1 for 9. Both of them are terrific players, but the schedule in the NBA is so brutal there is no way for a rookie to be able to prepare and be ready for it.

• Mitchell did a nice job of doing other things when he realized he wasn’t making shots.

• If you watched “On the Floor” — the Facebook Live show that airs on the Utah Jazz Facebook page an hour before the game — you saw Donovan learning a new way to finish at the rim. Remarkably, he was able to implement it in one night, though he was not able to finish with it yet. He is a little too strong with the attempt.

• This was a solid win against an inferior opponent. The Jazz did what they needed to. The next two home games (along with some good rest) are really important. As Quin Snyder said, they may only be favored once in all of December.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz early woes too much to overcome in loss to Wolves

SUMMARY: A furious rally couldn’t cut the first half deficit as the Jazz fall to Minnesota, 109-98.
• The Jazz offense had another tough first half. They opened the night 1 of 7 and trailed 15-3. By the end of the first, they trailed 33-14 and had hit just 6 of 21 with an 0 for 6 3-point shooting start. The first quarter shooting% and EFG% was 28.6.

• The Jazz’s second quarter got a bit better as they won the frame 28-24. However, the start of the third was bad and the Jazz found themselves back where the game started. Utah hit just three of their first 10 shots to start the third and were down by 19 at the first time out of the quarter.

• Ricky Rubio’s shooting woes continued as Minnesota obviously left him unguarded. This disrupted the Jazz’s ability to get into the pick and roll game to Favors that worked versus Brooklyn, and Rubio couldn’t make them pay as he went 0 for 5 from 3 and is now 1 of his last 24.

• The hustle from the Jazz in the first half was really solid and allowed the Jazz to cut into the first quarter deficit.

• In the fourth quarter, the Jazz rallied to get to within 11 but were never able to get the game down to single digits.

• The 40 3-point shots from the Jazz are the most they have taken in a regular season, non-overtime game in franchise history.

• The Jazz shot 12 of 20 and 7 of 12 from 3 in the fourth quarter, which kept their overall numbers respectable.

• Donovan Mitchell scored 20 or more for the fifth time in nine games and more importantly, continued his increased efficiency as he shot 10 of 19 on his way to 24 points. In the opening games of the year, he really struggled to finish at the rim and has now learned how to get to the rim and finish in traffic. His growth is really impressive.

• Minnesota took advantage of Rudy Gobert’s absence and attacked the rim from the very beginning of the game; Towns and Gibson each had 9 points in the first quarter.

• Minnesota’s transition defense is as haphazard as any team I’ve seen, but the Jazz were unable to take advantage of it with any consistency.

• One thing to keep an eye on is if the Jazz continue to force turnovers. So many of the Jazz’s turnovers are forced when teams drive into Rudy and then have to throw a pass out that is not in the natural offense. There wasn’t that fear around the rim tonight without Rudy Gobert.

• Alec Burks was 5 of 8 and had another solid game.

• This was the home stand when the Jazz had hoped to get some rhythm and confidence. Unfortunately, that has not taken place.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Favors dominates and did the Jazz discover some things

Summary: Derrick Favors dominated the inside and the Jazz break a four game losing streak with a 114-106 win over Brooklyn Nets.
• Derrick Favors started at center tonight with Rudy Gobert out of the lineup with a knee contusion sustained in the Miami game. Favors starting at center this pushed Thabo Sefolosha into the starting lineup as the 4. The floor was wide open and nearly immediately you could see the impact it had on the Jazz offense. Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors were able to play a pick and roll game with room and available passing lanes that have not been present with Rudy Gobert. In addition, Brooklyn only played 11 minutes of the game with a center and this allowed the Jazz to dominate the restricted area and punish the Nets.

• The Jazz may have discovered a few things tonight they can use moving forward. The combination of Rubio, Favors and Gobert has struggled very badly this year. They simply have not been able to score. With just Favors tonight, the offense had a flow and players had room to work. Quin Snyder had planned on using Derrick more in the pick and roll and more at center and he did it with great success. I would anticipate Derrick playing the non-Rudy minutes at center moving forward.

• The other discovery is using Thabo Sefolosha as the 4. The Jazz have been playing around with this recently but saw it for an extended period tonight and it has some value. Thabo is a great defensive player. He is a super cutter and an average 3-point shooter. On offense, teams respect him enough that they move out when he spreads to the 3-point line. Opponents have not been following Favors at all and stretching him was having no value. Sefolosha’s cutting is not very valuable when Favors and Gobert are both in the paint, but with just one big he brings another element. He is also a good rebounder.

• Defensively when Sefolosha, Joe Ingles, Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio are on the floor they can all switch, but more importantly they are all active hand defenders. Ingles, Sefolosha and Rubio were all top 10 in steal percentage last season and Mitchell is impressing people with his defense. Couple this with either Favors and Gobert as a rim protector and you have quite a defensive unit.

• Favors’ rim protection was very good tonight

• Brooklyn is limited and not a good enough team to make season long determinations around, but what the Jazz saw tonight gives them some things to try moving forward.

• The Jazz shot selection was more in line with what it should be this season, particularly in the case of Ricky Rubio. Rubio has been unsuccessful as the second highest volume shot taker for the Jazz and took just nine shots tonight. That is where he should be. If he has a bad night, the impact is lessened. He had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists tonight.

• Rubio and Favors had a connection tonight we haven’t seen with Rubio and Gobert. Was it because the floor was spread or is there something about Favors’ game that better fits Rubio?

• Favors is better at catching bounce passes than Rudy and a bit better at catching on the move and exploding in traffic to the basket. Rudy is a vertical offensive player.

• Rodney Hood bounced back tonight with a really solid 7 of 16 shooting and 19 points. This is his third straight game with 19 points and he has shown a level of consistency in the last five games.

• Donovan Mitchell made a ton of plays tonight. He was driving to the basket and corkscrewing at the window; he was really special with some of the plays he made. He finished with 26 point and has now scored 20+ in four games this year equaling the most by any rookie.

• Joe Ingles had another well rounded line of 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

• Solid win. Much needed win. I’m a bit reluctant to take too much from the discoveries because of Brooklyn’s limitations, but all of them are worth trying again.