EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – What is taking place here is mind boggling


  •  Unreal.  Part of me thinks this should stop after unreal and not post another work.  Unreal.  This team is just continuing to do things that we could never imagine.  Tonight it was absurd hot shooting.   The Jazz set a franchise record for 3’s in a quarter and a half and tied the franchise record with 15 in a game.


  • Maybe the most impressive part of the game was the Jazz hit 15 threes and never broke out of how they play the game.  They never screwed with the game, never dropped their guard and let Charlotte get back in the game.  That takes a level of mental toughness and respect for the game that very few teams are able to achieve.


  • The Jazz defense never blinked.   Hornets had no chance of establishing the inside game of Al Jefferson and anything else they hoped to get started never materialized.  They shot 29.5%, only hit 5 of 19 from 3 and scored the 2nd fewest points of any team in the NBA, 66.   What the Jazz are doing to people is crazy.   It is historic in fact.


  • For 16 games, some before the all-star break and the Kanter trade the Jazz are winning games by an average of 8.7 pts per game but the defense is the historic part.  The Jazz are holding opponents to 39% shooting, 31% from three and 84 points per game.  This is only for 16 games.  But 16 games is 20% of an NBA season.   20% is beginning to be a very real sample size.  The Jazz defensive rating over the last 16 games is 91.6.


  • The 1989-99 Spurs team with Robinson and Duncan is thought of as the best defensive team of all time with a defensive efficiency of 92.1.  They surpassed that in 03-04 with a 91.6.  The Jazz are playing Duncan/Robinson defense and have been for 16 games.


  • It’s only 13 games but since the all-star game the Jazz defensive rating is 89.7.


  • Over the past 37 years only 3 teams have won a championship with a defense ranking outside the top 10 in defensive efficiency and the Jazz are going to be a top 10 defensive team for the foreseeable future.   I am not telling you a championship is arriving next year, but the foundation of a championship team has to be build with a top 10 defense and that part of the project is over.


  • Stretch it further out.  The Jazz are 24-17 in their last 41 games.   That is half a season.  In that time the Jazz offense is 15th and the Jazz defense is 3rd and 5th overall in efficiency.


  • The coolest thing going on right now is Dante Exum and Rodney Hood playing as well as they are right now.  Hood has a new career high in 3 of his last 4 games.    Over the last 5 games Dante is averaging over 10 points a game and has hit on 13 of his last 25 from 3.


  • The player development that is taking place in this organization is mind boggling.


  • Today at shootaround one of the main focusses was better passes into players shooting pockets.


  • Be happy Jazz fans.  Season tickets are flying out of the building.  You want to be a part of this.  Find a way to get as close to this as you can because what is taking place here is truly remarkable.



  • Close game, late game wins are important for this team.  Jazz came into to tonight’s game at 10-16 in games decided by 6 or less.  They are the 2nd lowest FG% and 2ndlowest 3pt% team in the final 5 minutes of a game within 5 points.   To have success in those circumstances are important for the Jazz.
  • Playing Exum, Hood, Hayward, Favors and Gobert for most of the final 5 minutes the Jazz had 7 point lead until Jackson hit a prayer of a 3 point ball.  Then the Jazz committed back to back turnovers and the game was down to 2 with 3:48 left.  Hayward hit a shot, Favors missed and the game was 2 points with 2:36 left.  Favors split two free throws and then the Jazz got clutch.  Rodney Hood it a 10 foot pull up on the left side, Hayward missed a 9 foot drive but came back with a dunk off a Gobert pass on a backdoor cut and then Trey entered for the key offensive possession and in a 1 point game hit a runner on the left side of the floor to put the Jazz up 3.


  • Jazz shot 4 of 6 in the final 5 minutes and scored on 5 of 9 possessions.  Huge growth.


  • Derrick Favors has been an unreal beast in the 4th quarters since the all-star break.  Tonight he scored 11 points in the 4th.  Second most of his NBA Career.  He is posting up with authority.  He is posting up quicker in a possession.  He has a control of where is shot is going to come from.  He has added a legitimate enough mid range jumper that it has to be respected.   He was 3 of 5 in the 4th quarter tonight and is now 25 of 39 in the 4th quarter since the all-star break.


  • Dante Exum played 32 minutes tonight and has now played 128 minutes in the last 4 games.  He finished with 8 points, 2 rebounds and 5 assists.  He hit 2 three’s, had a huge floater in the lane and made the play of the night sprinting the length of the floor for a ball in back court catching it and finding Rodney Hood for the lay-up.  His speed was incredible on the play.


  • Rudy Gobert hit Gordon Hayward on a back cut dunk with :37 seconds left on a busted play that put the Jazz up 3 that was awesome.  Gobert got the ball on the left sideline with 8 on the shot clock and looked to be in trouble and Hayward back cutted to the basket and got a gorgeous pass from Rudy and finished with a dunk.


  • Ho Humm Rudy did it again.  10 points, 19 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks.  This is absurd but he is doing it every night.


  • The Pistons shot 16 of 40 in the paint.  The Pistons take 53% of their shots in the paint and tonight the paint was closed.


  • This game was played in sludge.  The game had 10 fast break points.  Their were very few fast break opportunities.   This game had about 88 possessions tonight.  Super slow.


  • Jazz committed 17 turnovers tonight which is a ton when you realize how few possessions there were.  The Pistons were physical and got into the Jazz bodies and disrupted what they wanted to do.  They played the exact same way Boston and LA did on the pick and roll and it caused the Jazz some real issues.


  • Rodney Hood 12 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals in 33 minutes.


  • This team is still learning how to win.   These wins are a big deal.  The streak and the momentum this team is on is terrific.  There are still lots of tweaks and steps that need to take place for this team to keep growing and the Pistons exposed a lot of them but the end result was huge growth winning a close game

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Get very excited

  • Wow. Quin Snyder said before the game this was a barometer test for the Jazz. If this was a barometer …
  • I can get really crazy with optimism right now. Is this team next year’s Hawks team? If they really are a top-3 defensive team, then where can they go? If Quin has turned this team into a top-15 offensive team, what can he do with a team that could actually shoot the ball? Is this a playoff team next year? Is this a team that could host a playoff game sometime soon?
  • Jazz started Exum, Hood, Hayward, Favors and Gobert started tonight.  This could be the  starting line-up for a long time.   Now you find the puzzle pieces that go with those 5.  It is not perfect but it has a lot of aspects of a great starting line-up.  It is crazy long.  Defensively all 5 players are going to be above average defensively.  Favors can switch allowing the Jazz to switch 1-4.  Favors and Gobert are athletic enough to shadow ball handlers off the pick and roll.    It has two shooters with Hood and Hayward (Exum will be a really good spot up shooter as well).  It has three pick and roll ball handlers who can drive and pass.   It has left handed and right handed pick and roll players who can come from both sides of the floor.  It has 5 willing passers.  Favors can stretch just far enough that they can create spacing.    This is a super line-up.  This is the future.
  • The Rockets offense is predicated on the drive to the basket to create the kick out for the corner 3 and Rudy and Favors eliminated the drive to the basket.   With 9 minutes left the Rockets were 17 of 31 shooting in the paint and 7 of 25 from 3.   The jazz had taken the Rockets completely out of their game.
  • Rudy was amazing.  He had 18 rebounds in the first half.  He is the 5thplayerdo that in the first half of game since 1980.   The Jazz completely dominated the offensive glass and Gobert had 12 offensive rebounds.  The jazz ended with 17 offensive rebounds.
  • Rudy had 19 points and 22 rebounds.  I am not sure what to say about him.  He is an unreal athlete.  He plays with amazing fire.  He wants to be the best who has ever played the game.  He is a franchise changing player.  He will be a dominating defensive force in this league as long as he stays healthy and the Jazz will be a top 5 defensive team for as long as they have Rudy.
  • All 5 Jazz starters scored in double figures.
  • The defensive plan on Harden was awesome.   Harden scored 2 field goals in the 1st quarter and then got his next field goal with 7:30 left in the 4th quarter.  He finished 3 of 13.  He never had a rhythm.  He couldn’t get to the rim with Favors and Gobert.
  • The Jazz held the Rockets to 22% from 3 tonight, 7 of 32.  They are holding teams since the all-star break to 29%.   Seems unlikely that this is sustainable.  This will have to come back near the norm.
  • This whole thing and not a mention of Gordon Hayward 29 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists.   That is absurd.  Harden who?   29 !!!.  Quin said it today.  Hayward is a warrior.  His leadership is showing on nights like this as well.  He was not right and he battled.
  • Rodney Hood got the start tonight and brought 3 of 8 from three. Players who shoot a ton of threes are undervalued in this league. That is what Rodney Hood can be in this league. He can bomb and still have enough other skills to get to the rim.
  • Jazz started on a 7-0 run and led it 22-10 and never looked back. A wire-to-wire job by the Jazz.
  • Be excited. This team is good. Maybe really good.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz notch another win

  • Ugly is the new beautiful. This one was not for the faint of heart, but it’s a win and the Jazz have now won 3 straight, 6 of 7, and 10 of their last 13.
  • Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert were the two best players on the floor tonight.  Favors dominated the game early with 20 points in the first half and finished with his second-highest point total of his career with 29 points. Plus he added 12 rebounds.
  • Rudy had his impact again—10 points and 14 rebounds to go with 3 steals and 4 blocks. Gobert played 38 minutes.
  • The Jazz really struggle offensively without Gordon Hayward and tonight was no different.
  • Two 50-50 plays changed the game tonight. the Jazz were up 80-77 when a loose ball rebound was batted around, and after an extended battle, Gobert cleared the rebound. Favors scored on the next possessions and Rodney Hood followed, and the Jazz were up seven instead of the Knicks with the ball in a three-point game.
  • Then it got nervous. Hood missed with 1:00 left and the Knicks had the ball within five points, but Danté Exum stole the ball from behind and the Jazz maintained possession and control of the game.
  • Hood did a lot of the ball-handling tonight late with Hayward not playing.
  • Joe Ingles scored seven straight points in the key portion of the fourth quarter to help the Jazz to the lead they never relinquished.
  • Trey Burke was as off as I’ve seen him in a long time. This is not good. Quin rewarded Trey with a starting spot with Gordon out and he didn’t take the challenge. Instead, he was out of sorts and shot 1-for-11 and just 3-for-6 from the line.  Everything was off the front rim.
  • Trey has to stop having nights like this. Trey has had 20 games where he’s shot 30% or less (32% of his games) and 15 games where he has shot 25% or less (24% of his games). You can’t have games like this every third of fourth time out.
  • Knicks are very poor. Thursday against Houston will be great.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz finish East Coast trip at 3-1

  • A 3-1 East Coast road trip. Impressively, this team is not blinking. They’re not taking steps back. They aren’t doing anything to make you believe what we’re seeing isn’t real and going to last.
  • This is super exciting to be a part of this process. To watch Coach Snyder’s system begin to take hold. To watch the player development on so many levels and to realize that what we are seeing is real.
  • So much fun to be a part of this.
  • Gordon Hayward thinks he’s the best player on the floor right now. He’s taking over games. He’s finding the smallest gaps that are Harden gaps. Small little windows and he is making plays.
  • Derrick Favors’ move to the 4 might be as big a story as Gobert moving into the starting lineup. Derrick has become an offensive force in the post and is making plays from all over the floor. He put up another 20-10 line. He’s averaging close to 19-8 since the All-Star break. He’s so solid right now and what he’s doing defensively is big-time.
  • The Nets’ primary offensive set is a low post up for Deron or Joe Johnson that can become a low pick-and-roll with Brook Lopez. The Nets only got to the play once the entire game. The Jazz’s preparation every night is impeccable. Coach Snyder and his staff find a key part of the opponent’s offense and find a way to blow that up and disrupt the entire offense. Against Milwaukee, they took away a certain pass to start their offense. Tonight, Gordon and others did an amazing job fronting Joe Johnson and not allowing him to catch the ball in the post. This dislodged Brooklyn’s entire flow and they got very little of what they wanted tonight.
  • The game was a one- point game at 78-77 with five minutes left. This was the perfect script for things to fall apart—but the opposite happened. Hayward scored five straight and seven points in Utah’s 14-2 run. The Nets had an experienced, veteran team on the floor in what should have been a must-win (though they didn’t act like it at all). The Jazz made every play and ran away.
  • Elijah Millsap makes some of the most fearless steals.
  • Joe Ingles and Millsap do a lot of little things well, but both of them have been cut by at least four teams in the last few years and they are now starting and closing games for this team. It’s remarkable that Quin and his staff are finding ways to make these players productive parts of a winning team, and it’s a tribute to them to understand how to be successful in the NBA.
  • Danté Exum had a nice offensive game tonight. I have vowed that I’m not commenting on individual nights in connection with his development. However, his consistently remarkable play defensively has to be mentioned. He shut Deron down tonight. He handled Conley well in Memphis. He was strong on Parker v. San Antonio, and the list goes on and on. Each night he moves his feet with such alacrity and grace and makes plays that are terrific.
  • Utah’s defensive starting lineup of 6-6, 6-8, 6-8, 6-10 and 7-1 is a big part of this story as well.
  • The Jazz have won 7 of 9 since the All-Star break and 20 of their last 37. I think the second number is a bigger deal.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Take a win and go home



  •  Take the win and go home.  This game was super ugly and had no flow.  This might be how we are going to play.   A bad defensive team can be victimized by talented professional players who get hot, but the Jazz are a good defensive team that exposes the weaknesses of teams and players and that showed tonight.


  • Jazz are now 19-17 over the last 36 games.   This is an extended stretch of above .500 basketball.  Moreover, we are getting better over the 36 games.   Since the all-star break the Jazz are 6-2.  Since Feb 1st the Jazz are the #1 defensive team in the NBA.   There are a lot of these nuggets and they all tell the same story the Jazz are good and getting a lot better.


  • Gordon Hayward had another mammoth game.  25 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists and only 1 turnover.  What is nuts about this is he is going this with a starting guard line that has no on floor gravity at all.  Ingles and Exum were 2 for 7.   Burke was 3 for 12.   How Gordon Hayward finds space to make any plays is remarkable.   What happens when he is playing with a 2 guard that can shoot or a true penetrating point guard.


  • Hayward hit 2 of 3 from 3 largely because he got back to the angle right 3 where he is hovering around 50% on the season


  • Elijah Millsap changed the game with his defense, making three plays in a row that pushed the Jazz to their lead.


  • The Jazz are stealing the baseline pass to the corner at a very high rate.  This shows they are playing 5 man defense.  I wonder if Rudy and Favors are eliminating the passing lanes back to the top with their length and this is the only outlet for the ball hander.  It is a great read by the defensive player to get into that passing lane.


  • Derrick Favors couldn’t dominate the undersized 76ers in the post.


  • Since the all-star break the jazz have their lowest offensive rating with Rudy Gobert on the floor.  This is still a work in progress for the Jazz to figure out how to floor space and use Gobert and Favors offensively.   It is crazy hard to do when non shooters are on the floor.


  • The Jazz are playing offense with Hayward as the only shooter and maybe Hood, otherwise everyone else is below 33% from three or 40% from the field.   The Jazz always have at least 3 non shooters on the floor which makes it very hard to run a flow offensive system.  Remarkable they can get anything done.


  • Trey Burke 3 for 12.   He just hasn’t found an ability to avoid these games.   One pops up every few games and almost all of the his 5 and 10 game trends come right back to his season shooting numbers.


  • Rudy Gobert has 55 rebounds in 3 games.


  • Jazz win against a hapless team but wins are good.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Do it enough and it becomes real


  •  This is getting real.   For 34 games we are 18-16.  Since Feb 1st we are the #1 defensive team in the NBA.   Over the last 9 games we are allowing 85 pts a game and have won 7 of 9.   Since All-star break the numbers are just crazy.


  • To win a game on the road against an elite team you have to have the big dogs deliver.  Hayward had 13 points in the 3rd quarter to get the Jazz going and Favors then carried the mail home in the 4th quarter with an array of offensive moves.  Memphis coach Dave Joeger  about Favors and Hayward “they were excellent in the second half. I thought individually they just rose up and they were tremendous”


  • This might have been the best offensive sequence I have seen from Favors.   Back to back post moves early in the 4th stretched the lead to 7.  Then he hit a 10 foot turnaround to bring it back to 6 after a Memphis surge and then the capper a 13 foot jumper off an Exum give to cap it.   He had 8 4th quarter points to seal the win


  • Gordon Hayward had a miserable first half and couldn’t buy a shot.   He answered with a 15 points, 4 rebound, 4 assist, 3 steal 2nd half.   Big time.


  • The Jazz interior defense was crazy good.  Memphis shot 22 of 52 in the paint.   IN THE PAINT.  They were 5 of 12 in the first quarter.  5 of 12 again in the 2nd and 6 of 16 in the 3rd quarter.  Through 3 quarter they were 16 of 40 IN THE PAINT.


  • Without Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol had to be the offense and he couldn’t get a rhythm.  Gasol finished the night 6 of 15.    Conley is the bell weather for the Grizzlies, in wins Conley shoots 47% and 44 % from 3 and in losses he shoots 39% and 26% from 3.  Tonight, he was 4 for 11 and 0 for 2 from 3.   Dante Exum was spectacular on Conley.  Trey Burke had a good game on him as well.


  • Rudy !!!!! Absurd.   15 points, 24 rebounds.   I took a huge step recently and thought he could average 10 pts, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks.  Now I wonder if that is not enough.   He is getting better around the rim as an offensive player every game.  He is understanding his spacing and his floor placement and how to make himself available.  He runs – RUDY runs.   His rebounding is ok right now and he is still grabbing huge numbers.  He is going to be so much of a better rebounder when he gets stronger over the next years and he is already grabbing a ton.  He could become a DeAndre Jordon rebounder.  Rudy grabbed 33% of all rebounds when he was on the floor tonight.  That is crazy


  • Dante Exum made three of the best defensively plays I have seen from a point guard.  The most obvious was an open floor transition defense of Mike Conley where he picked his pocket and then collected it for an outlet pass.  He got switched on Jeff Green and Green started left and spun back to his right and Exum cut him off on both.  On the left side of the floor Dante was guarding the ball and they ran a wing to wing pick and roll and he got back out on the shooter to affect a three.  The kid has special talent.


  • Rudy threw the best outlet pass of the season to Gordon after one of his rebounds.


  • You leave Slow mo Joe open and he is nailing it.


  • Rodney Hood played with a confidence tonight.  He had 13 off the bench and is a good defender as well.


  • Jazz got another 7 steals tonight.  They are playing collective defense at a really special rate.


  • Wonderful to see Jeremy Evans get time and contribute.


  • One NBA executive told me he see no reason why the Jazz aren’t top 25% defensive team next year.  That makes you a legit contender for the playoffs and on the road to great things.   This is incredible.   I am blown away at how this has taken place and with the speed it is taking place.


  • Quin is really special.  I hope everyone is aware that Quin is really special .

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Tough wins are better wins


  •  What a game.  Yes, tons of turnovers and missed shots but this might have been the two best defensive teams going head to head.  The Bucks are the #2 defense in the NBA for the season and no one has been better than the Jazz defensively for a while.  Couple that with neither team having an individual player who is going to dominate a possession and this is the game you get.  I kinda loved it.

*  The Bucks are the #1 team in the NBA at forcing turnovers.  Not that surprising that the Jazz committed 23 of them tonight.   What is stunning is the Jazz forced 23 of them tonight.

  • It is hard to play defense when you are not scoring and these two teams amped their defense up even higher every time they didn’t score.  It was sort of awesome.


  • Derrick Favors couldn’t have made more big plays late in the game.  Huge blocks defensively.  An offensive rebound put back in traffic for the biggest basket of the game.  The rebound on the following possession.   Wow he was BIG !!! 16 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocked shots.


  • This was a mentally hard win on a back end of a back to back.   Quin talks a lot about moments where the team wouldn’t have been able to do that before.  This is one of those nights. The Jazz couldn’t have won this game as many as two weeks ago.


  • The 5 man defensive communication with the Jazz is incredible. The Jazz are really tight on the rotations.  They are running some very complicated switching systems and they are doing them perfectly.


  • I have no numbers on this but Derrick Favors got switched on a small numerous times and they did not beat him very often if ever.


  • Trey Burke has been very good since the all-star break.   One of the reasons Trey has been so bad defensively is teams were putting Trey in the pick and roll with Enes Kanter and it was a disaster.   His defense has been much better when he is put in a pick and roll with Favors, Gobert or Booker.   We might need to re-evaluate what Trey can do defensively.  Time will tell I it is because of something Trey has developed.


  • When Trey is good the Jazz win.   Tonight he was very good offensively – 23 points when no one else could find a window to score.   He had 6 assists and just 1 turnover.


  • Rodney Hood closed the game


  • Elijah Millsap had the best 0 for 6 game – 7 rebounds and 3 steals.  Millsap ability to cover the main pick and roll ball handler has helped alleviate the burden on Trey Burke defensively.


  • 6 offensive rebounds for Trevor Booker. The Jazz are the #1 offensive rebounding team in the NBA and they are best offensive rebounding when Trevor Booker is on the floor.


  • Gordon Hayward had a tough shooting night but there was nothing soft about his play.  He gamed it hard at the end.


  • Jazz have won 6 of 8 and 16 of the last 31.


  • I really like this win.  Maybe like this win more than San Antonio or Portland.  This is not a better team but it is a tougher team and nothing was going right for the Jazz offensively and they won the game defensively.  That is a huge statement of who this team is becoming. The pride they are playing with is impressive.   Wins when things are going wrong are the sign of a good team.   Jazz showed that tonight.