Emptying the Noggin — Despite a nice rally, Jazz’s game against the Thunder was never close

Summary: This game ended before it started when the Jazz announced they would be without Gobert and Favors facing the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Jazz would never be in the game and ultimately lose it, 104-112.

  • The Jazz are the number one team in the NBA defending the paint, allowing their opponents to shoot just 49%. Through three quarters, the Thunder were 26 of 39 for 67%. Favors and Gobert not playing decided the game.
  • Andre Roberson does as good a job defensively on Gordon Hayward as anyone in the NBA.
  • Without Gobert, there was no rim-roll pressure on the rim, so when the Jazz’s ball handlers came off the pick-and-roll, the Thunder kept two defenders on them and there was no room for any drives or action to create mismatches.
  • The Jazz now are 1-3 versus the Thunder and have lost the tiebreaker. The Thunder are four games back of Utah, but it is really three; All the Thunder have to do is tie to get superior seeding. If the Jazz can finish 9-8 (playing nine games versus teams .500 or better the rest of the way) the Thunder would need to go 13-4 to catch the Jazz. That is a tough task for both sides. The Jazz are going to have to play very well and be healthy to win nine of their final 17 games.
  • Dante Exum had a career high in points with 22, going to the line nine times. He had only gone to the line 32 times in his entire rookie season. He is showing a terrific burst to the basket and is beginning to learn how to use his length to get above the defense and finish. He is still very young, but as his body matures and gets stronger he will be able to make a lot of plays going to the rim if can maintain this quickness.
  • The Jazz’s fourth quarter was played by Neto, Exum, Burks, Lyles and Bolomboy.
  • Trey Lyles — —who was 1 for his last 22 — was able to get 26 minutes of action and make 4 of 10 and 2 of 5 from three.
  • Alec Burks scored 20 points for the first time since his major injury in December of 2015. The last time he scored 20 was also in Oklahoma City.
  • Joel Bolomboy played 14 minutes. He had 8 points and 2 rebounds.
  • Westbrook now has the second most triple doubles in a single season with 32. He had 33 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists.
  • The Thunder led by as many as 23 points. The Jazz’s rally was nice and it was great to see Lyles get some confidence, Burks get some run and Dante to have the best offensive game of his career, but this one was never close.
  • The Jazz have a really hard schedule, the hardest remaining set of games in the league. It is going to be really hard to hold onto the fifth spot, not to mention trying to be a four seed.

Emptying the Noggin — The Jazz never blinked

Summary:  A tremendous win for the Jazz over the third place Houston Rockets. Utah controlled the game the entire night and held strong down the stretch.

  • The Jazz led the majority of the way — and most of the night — by three or more possessions. The Jazz’s offense dominated the game through Houston’s numerous attempts to adapt their defense. The Jazz scored at will all night with great ball movement, super team work, sharp focus and astute basketball.
  • The Rockets opened the night by doubling the ball on all the pick and rolls and the Jazz moved the ball to the open man to find Rudy at the rim. Then, the Rockets went to a switching defense and the Jazz torched that approach. To open the second half, the Rockets brought a third guy to the pick and roll to eliminate Rudy’s roll while having two guys on the ball, and the Jazz passed out of this to get more and more open looks.
  • Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward are both playing at such a high level that it allows everyone else to function with ease. Hayward is making big shots. Gobert is a beast defensively, but his teammates are trusting him on the roll to the basket and he is making good plays. This makes the Jazz’s offense remarkably good.
  • Gobert is also getting at least one mammoth put back a night.
  • The Jazz were very clear with their defensive plan. They were not going to let the Rockets gets open threes off the action of James Harden. It was the first night all year James Harden didn’t have at least seven assists in a game. The Jazz played the pick and roll with two players. The guard would trail Harden over the pick and force Harden inside the 3-point line. Then, Gobert would cover ground and try to stay with Capela. The defensive numbers weren’t great because the Rockets are that good offensively, but it took the Rockets’ biggest weapon — the 3-point shot — out of the game.
  • The Jazz only allowed two transition points in the second half. The Rockets need transition to get the looks they want.
  • This defensive system works because of Rudy. I am not sure any other team in the NBA can play this way as well as the Jazz do.
  • The Rockets got most of their 3-point looks in transition and/or early in the shot clock.
  • James Harden went 0 for 8 from three.
  • With Hayward on the bench and Hill out for the game, Rodney Hood took over the offense and was terrific during a period in the fourth quarter. His ability to get a shot off is really special. He nailed those mid-range shots and kept the Jazz in control.
  • The most impressive part of this performance was the level of focus for the entire night. The Jazz never blinked. Utah took an eight-point lead at the end of the first quarter and led by six or more for the entire second quarter. The Rockets got it down to three in the third and then the Jazz stretched it back out and led by six or more points for all but one possession of the third. The same thing happened in the fourth quarter: The Rockets trimmed the lead down to four points and then the Jazz took it back to 10.
  • Down the stretch, the Jazz’s offense was clutch. The Rockets had the game within four points with 2:56 left and Gobert made two free throws. Harden got it back to four again on the next possession and then Joe Johnson hit a huge 3-pointer.
  • The Jazz were without George Hill, Shelvin Mack and Derrick Favors. Dante Exum and Raul Neto played a combined 30 minutes, meaning the Jazz went 18 minutes without a traditional point guard. Credit Neto for a very important 21 minutes.
  • By playing no point guard, James Harden had to guard someone. When Dante was on the floor, he just camped out on Dante and didn’t use any energy on defense. When it was Hayward, Ingles and Burks, he had to play defense
  • Boris Diaw and Joe Ingles play the game right. Diaw was +9 in 14 minutes and Ingles was +12 in 27 minutes.
  • Hayward: 23/7/4; Gobert: 23/10; Hood: 19/6/3; Johnson 16/2/2. Solid work across the board. AB was strong off the bench as well with 10 points in 15 minutes.
  • This was a great win for the Jazz tonight and the Clippers lost in Minnesota. The Jazz move within three games of the Rockets and now own the tiebreaker between them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emptying the Noggin — Rudy is unreal

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

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

Emptying the Noggin — Tough night for the Jazz

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

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

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

Emptying the Noggin —  Unprecedented shooting night puts Thunder over Jazz

Summary: The Jazz fight back after a historically hot shooting start by the Thunder to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but Russell Westbrook is simply otherworldly and carries the Thunder to a win, 109-106.

  • The Thunder opened the night hitting 12 straight threes. They are 30th in the NBA in 3-point shooting and they hit 12 straight. This has never happened to open a game in NBA history. They equaled a record set in a game between the Seattle Sonics and the Vancouver Grizzlies. It was absurd — the hottest shooting sequence you can imagine.
  • Westbrook had 18 points in the first quarter, which was the most he has had in a first quarter this season. He scored 15 straight Thunder points at one point.
  • The Jazz stayed in the game. They trailed by 12 at the half, 11 going into the fourth quarter but never got blown out of the game. The Thunder finally cooled down and the Jazz got some lineups and matchups they were able to exploit and took the lead in the fourth quarter.
  • Westbrook scored 12 straight points in the final two minutes of the game for his second straight 40-point triple double. He has 16 30-point triple doubles this year and the Thunder are 14-2 in those games.
  • With the Jazz up four points, Westbrook hit a tough three from the left wing. The Jazz got an open look for Hayward but he missed, Westbrook skied over Gobert for the rebound and went coast-to-coast with an unequalled recklessness, scored over Hill and drew the foul to give the Thunder a two-point lead.
  • The Jazz got a good look for George Hill but he missed the three for lead with :10 left. The Jazz got the rebound and Joe Johnson drove baseline on Steven Adams, but turned it over on the drive.
  • The Jazz had a very good offensive night. They got the mismatches and switches they wanted, and were able to execute at a very high level. The offensive rating for the night was 113, which is really good.
  • The Thunder finished the night 16 of 23 from three and are the worst 3-point shooting team in the league.
  • The trades for McDermott and Gibson completely change the Thunder. They are a ton better than they were previously. They have no gaps other than at backup point guard.
  • George Hill played 38 minutes tonight and in the 10 minutes he was off the floor, the Jazz played Dante Exum and Alec Burks at point guard and the Jazz were -13 in those minutes.
  • The Jazz were +5 with Joe Johnson at the 4 tonight.
  • Westbrook was 1-13 on midrange shots tonight and was still is able to dominate the game. It is incredible.
  • Alec Burks had 13 points and it was his first time in double figures in six games.
  • This is a big win for Thunder. A loss and the Jazz would have been up four games on them in the loss column and that is too much to overcome. The Jazz need to split the season series with a win in OKC next time.
  • From a Jazz standpoint, I am not sure how to feel about this one. A win would have been remarkable and it felt like they might get it at some point. However, if the Thunder are going to hit 12 straight threes and 16 of 23 overall, then it isn’t your night. To fight back and be in position to win is pretty awesome. Lastly, the best player on the floor tonight was on the other team. The last two nights, the best player on the floor was on our team.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz Defensively shut down Wiz and Wall

Summary: The Jazz play a fabulous game and lead by as many as 24 before winning by 10 in Washington. Jazz defense was dominating throughout the game and completely overwhelmed the Wizards.
• The Wizards had won 18 of 22. They were 25-7 at home the most wins of anyone in the NBA and the Jazz blew them out of the gym.

• The Jazz transition defense was terrific keeping John Wall out of the open court and the presence of Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, each with 4 blocks, keep the Wizards from penetrating. Then when the Wizards got into the half court set the Jazz were able to keep them on their heels with very little rhythm.

• John Wall was only able to get 5 shots off in the first 6 seconds of the shot clock. That is his game.

• Bradley Beal got into foul trouble and the Wizards desperately need him in the half court. He didn’t have his first field goal until early in the 3rd quarter.

• The Wizards make a run at the Jazz and got it to 6 but Gordon Hayward scored the final 7 Jazz points with an incredible offensive rebound and follow, then a straight away three and finished with a step back 20 footer. Rodney Hood after the game on radio when asked about Hayward said that “He is a bad boy”

• Hayward had 30 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists.

• The story is the same each night. The jazz star players are awesome. Rudy Gobert had 15 points and 20 rebounds. This was the 15th time Gobert has had 15 rebounds, the 22nd time he has had 15 points and the 9th time he has had a 15-15 this season. That is remarkable.

• The Jazz are throwing two lineups out on the floor right now. They play Gobert and Favors together and teams really have a hard time scoring against the Jazz. Then the Jazz play the spread floor Joe Johnson at the 4 lineup and teams have a miserable time trying to stop the Jazz offensively.

• Tonight Jazz were even when Joe Johnson was at the 4. Jazz starters who have not been great this year were +8.

• Jazz are 10-1 now with this starting line-up, 22-6 when Hayward and Hill both play and 25-9 when Hill starts

• Game was tied at 24 after 1 but the Jazz stifled the Wizards in the 2nd quarter holding them to 15 points (Wizards shot 7 of 23 with 0 for 3 from 3) and winning the quarter 25-15. Then the Jazz stretched it to 24 in the 3rd.

• Jazz allow very few three point shots.

• This was not a good night for Dante. John Wall was too much. Jazz were -12 in 10 minutes he played

• Washington front court did no damage – Morris had 7, Gortat 6 and Potter 6

• This game was really not very close. The Jazz lead by 10 or more from the first 21 minutes of the 2nd half. This was an impressive win by the Jazz.

Emptying the Noggin — Bucks get no run against dominant Jazz

Summary: The Jazz started slow but surged ahead of Bucks in a game that was never close. The Jazz had every chess move to answer the Bucks in a blowout win, 109-95.

  • The last time the Jazz and the Bucks played, the Jazz shot 19 corner threes. Tonight, the Bucks altered their defensive approach to take away the corner three. As a result, the Jazz waltzed down the middle of the lane for dunk after dunk after dunk — 11 in total thru the first three quarters. The Bucks were covering the corner three shooters and the Jazz had the answer to whatever the Bucks threw at them.
  • The Jazz changed the rotation tonight and played Joe Johnson exclusively at the 4. Joe Johnson checked in for Favors as the first sub. In the next 14 possessions, the Jazz scored 26 points. The floor spacing and the offensive versatility with Gobert at the 5 and Johnson at the 4 is incredible. Going into the game, the Jazz were averaging 125 pts per 100 possessions with this lineup.  Tonight, it wasn’t as good over the whole night, but this is a key lineup for the Jazz moving forward.
  • Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward continue to be unbelievably reliable, night-in and night-out stars. Gobert dominated the inside of the game defensively and offensively. He got great seal position on numerous possessions and scored at the rim. What he did to Monroe and others at the rim all night was remarkable. Hayward was unstoppable offensively, scoring of 11 of 17 shots and finishing with 29 points.
  • There were so many good performances tonight. The rotation felt very solid with nine players playing, with the 10th man providing 10 minutes or so to prevent anyone from playing too many minutes. Ingles played behind Hood, sliding between the 2 and the 3 and Burks played when Hayward was on the bench for most of the night. Favors slid to the 5 for some minutes with Joe Johnson. The rotation looked good because everyone played well and the Jazz controlled the game.
  • Over the break, I did a bunch of research on players coming off ACL injuries and they all played noticeably better post the All-Star break. Dante Exum’s first game after the All-Star break was solid: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal in 16 minutes. He still has a ton to learn, but he looks much more a part of what is taking place.
  • Joe Ingles had 7 rebounds and 5 assists and was +15 in 26 minutes.
  • Derrick Favors had a great game: 26 minutes and 19 points. He was a force tonight both offensively and defensively. I have said this all year — the key for the Jazz is going to be how they play defensively with Rudy Gobert off the floor and Derrick on. Coming into the game, in 500 minutes the Jazz’s offensive rating was 107 and defensive rating was 109 with Favors on and Gobert off. If the Jazz can start defending with this lineup, there are big things ahead.
  • The Jazz won their sixth straight game against the Bucks.
  • The Jazz’s offensive rating tonight was a 120, which is their eighth best offensive performance of the season. The defensive rating was a 105, which is a notch above league average but the Bucks are the tenth best offense in the NBA.
  • Everyone should be mentioned as the entire team played terrific basketball for the final 44 minutes of the game, and the Bucks never made any run at all.

Emptying the Noggin — Jazz get a must-win against bad defensive team

Summary: The Jazz broke a three-game losing streak heading into the All-Star break with a blowout win over the Portland Trail Blazers, 111-88.

  • The Jazz’s defensive plan on Lillard and CJ was terrific. They played a bit more aggressively with the big man on the ball handler and it stymied the Blazers’ flow. Lillard went 3 for 19 and CJ went 8 for 19.
  • George Hill was incredible defensively tonight, denying passes, making Lillard and CJ work and then forcing them exactly where the Jazz wanted defensively. This was a great leadership night for Hill as this team needed a good defensive game.
  • The Jazz’s offense struggled early, scoring just 18 in the first quarter and 22 in the second quarter. The Jazz hit on only 3 of 17 shots outside of the paint in the first half of the game. In the second half, the Jazz started to make shots you would expect them to make and ran away from Portland.
  • The Jazz went 8 of 10 from three in the second half to finish 11 of 22 from three against the Blazers who are the 28th ranked team in the NBA defending the three-point shot.
  • Dante Exum had a really exciting game for himself and the fans. The burst that made him the fifth pick and the draft was there, and he was — for the most part — in control around the basket, not throwing wild shots at the rim. Dante is going through a nearly impossible task of figuring out who he is in the league and rehabbing from the ACL at the same time. He looks more and more healthy by the game and as that worry subsides, he will be able to discover how he can be a valuable NBA player. Right now, it is with his aggressiveness to the basket. He is a poor shooter (29% on all jump shots) but he has a gift with his length and his burst of speed.
  • In the first half, Gordon Hayward was 2 for 9, George Hill was 3 for 8 and the Jazz still led by three points. They got rolling in the second half: Hayward hit 6 of 9 and Hill hit on 4 of 7, and the Jazz exploded for a 71 point second half.
  • Joe Johnson has been on fire from three – 20 of his last 36.
  • Derrick Favors’ 25 minutes were really good tonight. He only scored 2 points and had 6 rebounds, but he was good defensively tonight in his roll with helping on the guard play.
  • Joe Ingles got free for three, hitting on 4 of 6. He has not been given that air space recently.
  • Gordon Hayward capped off an awesome first half of the season with 22 points 6 rebounds 7 assists.
  • This is a nice, must-needed win. Portland is awful defensively and the Jazz took advantage. The Jazz go to an impressive 26-7 against below .500 teams.

Emptying the Noggin — Clippers impose their will on Utah

Summary: The Jazz get blown out by the Clippers, 88-72, trailing by as many as 29 late in the third quarter and offensively struggling the entire game.

  • The Clippers came into this game physically imposing their will on the Jazz. Thurl Bailey mentioned early in the game that it was chippy. The Clippers came in tonight with the objective of establishing a dominance over the Jazz in case they met in the playoffs and they did exactly that to the Jazz.
  • The Jazz’s offense never got rolling. They scored 19 points in the first quarter and then went 12 of 41 shooting combined in the second and third quarters. The Jazz did the same versus Boston, hitting on 12 of 44 shots.
  • Gordon Hayward was 2 for 12 and George Hill was 2 for 11.
  • This is a great win for the Clippers. They are 2-0 in the season series versus the Jazz. They just went 3-2 on the road trip without Chris Paul, though I still don’t believe Blake Griffin and Chris Paul complement each other.
  • The Jazz have lost at home to Memphis, Oklahoma City and the Clippers this month, all of whom were behind Utah in the playoff picture at the time. Those are games you would like to win at home.
  • There is not a lot of analysis that goes into this game. The Clippers took it to the Jazz, and as the Jazz’s offense got worse and worse, their defense got a bit softer. Playing defense when you aren’t making any shots is a nearly impossible thing to do in the NBA.
  • Boris Diaw got the first run at power forward tonight instead of Trey Lyles. Lyles came in the second half when the game was virtually over and went 0 for 9 in 13 minutes.

The All-Star break can’t come soon enough for this group. They need to re-establish who they are, get a clear picture of everyone’s roles and get ready for a final push for playoff position.