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.


  • Thought we were on our road to Minnesota last year there for a moment but luckily the Jazz started making some shots in the 2nd half.   Offense is becoming hard to come by for this team.  Tonight Cleveland didn’t guard Ingles or Kanter, they went under on Trey and dropped off Favors a bit making it so there was no room on the floor for driving lanes and that makes it very hard to execute an offense without any spacing.
  • There has to be a little honesty in who we are playing right now.  This team was the 3rd youngest team in the NBA on opening night.  That is not good by the way if you are looking for wins.  Then as the season has gone on they have scored more points than any team in the league from players under 23 years old.   That is not great if you are looking for wins.  Now they have lost two players at the same position with a roster that doesn’t have a safety net.   It leaves the Jazz playing 75 minutes from rookies.  They played 32 minutes from guys on 10 day contracts.  They played about 140 of the 240 minutes from players with less than 2 years experience.  Wins are going to be tough to come by.
  • Points are also going to be tough to come by as well.   We have lots of guys who don’t really want to shoot.  We don’t have a lot of guys that have gravity on the offensive end.
  • When teams get into us defensively we don’t have a lot of answers on how to combat. At halftime we had just 40 points so we had scored just 109 points in 6 quarters.
  • Maybe tonight will ignite Enes Kanter.  Kanter had his 2nd 20-15 game of his career finishing with 24 points and 17 rebounds.  He had 14 points and 6 assists in the 4th quarter.  Nice of him to bounce back from a quiet first half shooting 2 for 8.
  • Jazz lead it 17-16 and then the offense went south.  The Jazz went from the 4:42 mark of the 1st quarter to the 8:08 mark of the 2nd quarter without a field goal and with only 3 points.  Then the Cavs opened the 3rd quarter on the wrong side of a 22-8 run and the game was over. Jazz down 28.
  • Trey Burke’s hot spell went out the window.  He is 2 for his last 20
  • Gordon Hayward is shooting 41% since December 1st
  • Milwaukee will be a real test they are one of the top defensive teams in the NBA over the past 15 games.   The offense will be tested.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz felt on half the floor


  •  Ok I finished watching and reading everything I can about the Seahawks win and nothing about Andrew Luck’s disaster so I will give you a quick run down on the Jazz loss to the Spurs.


  • It was obvious doing my prep the Spurs are about to click in.  They are healthy and the Western Conference is so nuts that they have very little margin for error.  It is time to make a run before the all-star break and tonight they looked ready to do it


  • The Spurs defense was stifling.  They made everything hard on the Jazz. Hayward was getting contested hard shots early in the game and then retreated out for mid range shots and they weren’t falling.   Favors was rolling to the basket and the interior of the Spurs defense was shutting everything down.   The Jazz would run a play and get what they think they wanted and the Spurs would take it away immediately.


  • The Jazz defense was really very good all night.  It is hard to have a good defensive night when your offense is as bad as the Jazz offense was tonight but the Jazz were able to do it.  For most of the night they kept the Spurs under 40% shooting and without many three pointers (4 in the first three quarters).  This slipped a little in the 4thquarter but overall the defense was super impressive.


  • Rudy Gobert was at the center of the defense again.  It is undeniable what a huge impact he has on games for the Jazz on the offensive end.   He had a career high 18 rebounds.  Many early came on failed tip in attempts but the 11 defensive rebounds is awesome.  Rudy finished the night with 13 points, the Jazz leading scorer, he also had 18 rebounds, another 2 assists and 4 blocks.   Plus, he altered the Spurs activity around the basket all night.   He is tremendous.


  • The offense struggled all night but it really struggled with Rudy on the floor.  This is going to be a work in progress.  That is all part of the development of the team.


  • Gobert started the 2nd half instead of Kanter.   Quin said after the game their were no long term implications.  He said Rudy was playing better.  Kanter was disengaged tonight.  He has to be active and he has to be better than he has been.   Kanter is seriously lacking effort plays right now.  Kanter finished with 20 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds.


  • Kanter has stopped passing or at least stopped passing for assists.  In the first 28 games this year Kanter had 21 assists.  Not great but at least showing some improvement.  He has 1 in his last 9 games.   He has 1 assist in his last 224 minutes.


  • Rodney Hood hurt his left foot again.   It is really sad.  I was in a good deal of pain in the locker-room after the game.  Hope Rodney is out.  Feet issues are scary and clearly his are not in good shape so far this season.   He was playing with great aggressiveness today and was making progress then boom.


  • Tough night was a tough offensive night all the way around.   The Spurs plugged in and locked down.  I was really impressed with the Jazz holding the Spurs to 43 1st half points  and keeping the Spurs under 90 for the game.   The Jazz dictated tempo.  The Spurs had just 2 fast break points and just 32 points in the paint.  The game plan n Tony Parker was executed very well he was a non factor.   The Spurs are the world champs and better than the Jazz in every facet of the game but the Jazz were able to make themselves felt on half the floor tonight.  That is a big deal.



EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz workman win over the Lakers

  •  Solid win by the Jazz tonight.  The Lakers have been a better team without Kobe all year and they put up a solid fight.   Coach Phil Johnson had a great point during the 4thquarter of the broadcast.   Don’t try to blow them out just try to win and that is what the Jazz did closing on a 11-4 run.


  • In two of the last three games the Jazz have forced over 20 turnovers.  That is an increase activity level on the defensive end by the Jazz.  Quin Snyder talks to the guys about activity index all the time at practice and it is the next step in the defensive process.  First was to understand the concepts and to know where to go and how to play.  Then the Jazz need to up the activity index to be able to impact plays and play with force.  The Lakers came in as the 4th best team in the NBA at taking care of the ball and the Jazz forced them into 21 turnovers


  • Gordon Hayward was solid in all 4th quarters.  He dominated the 1st quarter and then kept it rolling all night.  He had been having a tough January but the break in games made him look very re-freshed.  Hawyard is carrying one of the largest work loads in the NBA this year and fatigue is going to impact him.  Tonight he looked solid all night.


  • Jazz issue of scoring with Hayward on the bench continued tonight.  In the 6:21 he was on the bench in the 2nd quarter the Jazz scored 4 points and in the 4th quarter he sat for 6:02 and the Jazz scored 10 points.  So in the 12:23 he was on the bench the Jazz scored 14 points.


  • Derrick Favors and Trey Burke are building a nice relationship on the pick and roll.   Burke is coming off the pick and roll with aggressiveness and creating opportunities.   It looks as though the pick and roll is starting lower than it did earlier in the season.   Favors is really strong playing from the top and coming inside the 45 degree angle on each side on these pick and rolls.


  • Quin Snyder said minutes to the bigs would go to who is playing well.  Favors had 32, Gobert and Kanter 25 and Booker 13.


  • Hayward also had 7 assists


  • Over the last 14 games the Jazz have allowed the 4th fewest amount of points per game.   Tonight they only allowed the Lakers 85 points


  • The Lakers shot only 8 three pointers tonight and only took 1 one of them in the first 3 quarters.  That is criminal.


  • Rudy Gobert was solid again tonight.  He played 25 minutes and scored 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks


  • The Gobert effect tonight when Rudy was on the floor the Lakers shot 15 of 31 (48%) and when he was off the floor they shot 17/35 (48.5%).   The Jazz shot 21 of 43 (48.8%) with Rudy on the floor and 15 of 42 (35.7%) with him off the floor.  That is the most important note of the night.  The Jazz learning how to play offensively with Rudy.


  • Always good to beat the Lakers

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Warriors explode, Favors evolves another good one


  • Before the game talking with the Warrior people talked about how they just put together 6 or 7 minutes and then run away from opponents.  That is exactly what happened tonight.  The Jazz kept the Warriors in the half court and held them to 41 points for the first 21 minutes of the game.  In the next 15 minutes the Warriors scored 56 points.  It was incredible.  They hit 8 three pointers in the third quarter.  Once the Warriors get the bounce in their step no one has figured out how to stop it.


  • Derrick Favors was fabulous tonight.  This was the best array of offensive moves I have seen from Favors.  He hit the jumper, he rolled to the middle, he dropped baseline and this was against one of the best rim protectors in the NBA.   Favors has put together 4 20 point 10 rebound games in his last 5 games.   He is playing like a beast.


  • Rudy Gobert came off the bench tonight.   When he was on the floor the Warriors shot 26/63 for 41%.  However, that is a bit misleading because in the 4th quarter without Curry, Thomspon or Green playing a single minute the Warriors shot 6 of 24 which skewed the numbers.  Prior to the 4ththe Warriors were shooting 20 of 39 from the floor.  However, the other side of the equation is clear the Warriors shot 71% with Gobert off the floor.


  • However, the Jazz offense shot 62% with Gobert off the floor and 40% with him on the floor.


  • Enes Kanter had 13 points and 10 rebounds and continued his assault on the offensive glass with 5 offensive rebounds.  However, he had 0 assists and is not doing a lot to make his teammates better.  His plus minus tonight was not good.


  • The Jazz defended well in the first half.  They kept the ball on one side of the floor most of the time.  They generally kept the Warriors in a half court game and they had good pick up points to prevent easy early three’s. Then the Warriors hit their rhythm and it was over.


  • Trey Burke had his 5thstraight strong game.


  • Steph Curry is just terrific.  He is the MVP in a talent laden league.  He has worked so hard on his ball handling and is in complete control of the game.   27 points, 11 assists on 16 shots in 29 minutes.   Wow.


  • The Jazz had a big focus on Klay Thompson tonight and they took him out of the game a bit.  He only got 8 shots off.  Joe Ingles had the assignment and did it well.


  • Warriors third quarter had an efg% of 77


  • Dante Exum needs to play harder.  I am sure he is fatigued but he needs to assert himself on the game a bit more.  He needs to challenge himself to be better and to learn how to play every moment.  In Australia, he didn’t need to play every minute.  Here he does and we can’t afford him to get bad habits.


  • The Warriors are the best in the NBA.  They are playing at near Chicago Bulls 72 win levels.  It is really awesome.  The Jazz lost by 11 and that is what the average is.  Nothing about tonight changed how I look at the Jazz over the last 14 games.  They are playing so much better and are engaged at a higher level and making huge progress.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Nothing left in the tank


  •  The effort was there.  The idea was there.  The bodies didn’t show up.  Every step was a bit off.  All the timing was screwed up.  Tonight shows how much they left on the floor in Chicago and Oklahoma City.  Really those outings were pretty remarkable without 3 of the 8 regular rotation players and what it took for the Jazz to fight and compete for those 96 minutes was obvious with how off they were tonight.


  • Early on the turnovers looked like they were because of the active arms of the Rockets.  The rockets are #2 in the NBA in steals.  Seemed like they were getting a pieces of passes we thought we could make but couldn’t.  Then it just came unglued.  The turnovers came from everywhere and a ton of them came above the free throw line.   Saving balls back to mid court, not clean passes after rebounds, forced passes, poor fast breaks all types, kinds, whatever you could imagine it happened on the way to 31 turnovers.


  • The defense in the first half was remarkable.  To stay in the game and be tied or within one possession for all but the final two minutes of the first half when committing 18 turnovers is a tough task.  The defense only allowed 19 shots in the restricted area all night.  The Rockets took 31% of their shots in the non-smart areas (midrange and paint non restricted) that is a little more than usual.  The Rockets did take an amazing 17 corner 3′s


  • The Jazz wanted to force Harden right for most of the night and they were able to and play good team defense corralling him  and his drives. The turnovers just gave too many open floor chances and quick 3’s to keep Harden down.  Furthermore, he is just great.   Really great.


  • Jazz played big moments of the 2nd half with 2 d-leaguers, 2 2nd year guys and rarely used Jeremy Evans.


  • Enes Kanter returned tonight and scored 16 points, grabbing 4 offensive rebounds


  • For all the nights we have talked about +/- positively Rudy Gobert +- the last two nights is pretty tough, -30


  • Rockets took 34 of their 77 shots behind the 3 point line.  44% of their shots.  Remarkable.


  • I am not sure the Rockets took 10 shots tonight in the non paint mid range.


  • Favors had a solid night with 15 points, 7 rebounds in 17 minutes


  • Dante Exum was benched for the 2nd half after a completely out of synch first half including throwing a one handed loose pass into the backcourt from the right wing back to the top uncontested and it went into the backcourt.   He also airballed a free throw and airballed a 3 by a mile.   He looked spent.   Plus, the Rockets pressure was a real issue.


  • The two players from the D-League on 10 day contracts combined to shoot 4 for 17.


  • Strong trip.  Exhausted team.   Things are heading in the right direction

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz add to the excitement in OKC


  •  The improvement of this team is remarkable.   They walked into a hornet’s nest tonight and fought every step of the way.  The Thunder had lost two in a row.  They had been blown out in the 2 previous games in the opening moments and the local newspaper was killing the coach for using Durant and Westbrook too much.   The Jazz handled it and almost won if it weren’t for two of the best players in the world dominating the final moments.


  • The flight and self belief is what is most obvious to me about this team.  They are playing so hard and they believe in what they are trying to execute.


  • This game was loaded with great sequences and highlights.  The Trevor Booker volleyball shot over his back on the inbound with .2 seconds left is the best of them all.  Maybe the best ever.


  • Gordon Hayward faking out Kevin Durant then Durant answering with a 3 and Hayward beating Durant on a back door only to have Durant answer again.  Wow.   Hayward was the best player on the floor in the third quarter.


  • Derrick Favors went 20-10 for the third straight game.  Another accomplishment.  His jumper is so good right now from straight away and from the baseline.  He is beginning to have spots on the floor where he knows how to knock down a shot.  That is what the great players do.  Then he is terrific rolling down the middle of the lane on the pick and roll.  I talked about this early in the season but I love Favors playing between the 45’s straight to the basket rather than in the post.   It is where he is at his best.  The next step is going to be some quick seals in the post where he uses his strength early in a possession


  • The Jazz did a better job at times tonight playing with some pace.   OKC was incredibly physical in the front court.  They grab and they hold and they manhandle you when you try to go somewhere both with the ball and without.  The Jazz haven’t master how to deal with that yet but they are considerably better then they were.


  • The Jazz lead it by 7 when Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka came in with 8:13 left.  What a challenge what most people thought was the best team in the Western Conference at years start desperate for a win at home in the final 8:13.   The Thunder answered.


  • Westbrook and Durant took 15 of the final 19 shots for the Thunder in the final 8:13.   I get people what something elegant out of the Thunder offense but dang it getting the ball in the hand of your best players and giving them looks is all the game is about.   That is good basketball.  Might not be ascetically pleasing but it wins.


  • Jazz had a sequence of 4 possessions offensively late that were 4 of the worst consecutive possessions they have had all year.   New guys playing together.  Jazz haven’t finished a close game with Gobert yet and Millsap closed as well.


  • Millsap looks like an NBA player.  Any chance he is Tony Allen?


  • Trey Burke was terrific.  This is by far his best game of the year.   Tonight he was a legitimate force on the game.  He made open looks, he penetrated aggressively.  He hit a floater in the lane.  He defended hard.  This was a really exciting performance from Trey Burke.   Plenty of nights this year you had to wonder what his future was in a bad way tonight makes you wonder if he has turned a corner in the correct way.


  • Rudy Gobert played 38 minutes.   He scored 4 points, had 7 rebounds, passed out 3 assists, took 3 steals and blocked a career high 7 shots.   Scott Brooks said after the game, this guy isn’t blocking jump shots he is blocking layups that is 14 points.   The Thunder actually shot very well with Gobert on the floor tonight.   The defensive rebounding tonight was not as good as it needed to be.  Guys got shoved around a little.  5 defensive rebounds in 38 minutes for Rudy is below where he has been.   This may have been a strength issue. Thunder had 19 second chance points tonight.


  • Thunder got out on the break off Jazz turnovers and also on insane Westbrook coast to coast drives.   Thunder had 25 fast break points.  Couple that with 19 second chance points and that is 44 of the Thunder’s 99 points and 19 of the Thunder 42 field goals.


  • Jazz missed all of their three pointers in the 2nd half.


  • Nothing is tougher to guard than the Westbrook/Durant pick and roll.


  • Overall another exciting night of Jazz basketball and another night that builds more excitement to the future.  Think about it this way.  If the Jazz were contending for the West and went into OKC and battled down to the wire and lost you would be a bit bummed since you had the lead but understand they are the best there and wins in their building would be tough.  Instead, tonight is a young inexperience team with more points coming from players 23 and under than any team in the NBA without 3 of its 8 rotation players battling to the end.   Impressive.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – All around fabulous


  • WOW


  • That was a big time performance by the Jazz tonight.  The Bulls are bonafide terrific and the Jazz held them to a season low points, a season low FG% and more than anything else took the game to the Bulls and the Bulls didn’t have a response.


  • The Jazz were ahead by 12 going into the 4th quarter.  The Bulls are the #1 2ndhalf team in the NBA.  You could feel the Bulls clamping down and the Jazz putting out a 5 for 23 quarter with 5 turnovers and the game getting away and the exact opposite happened. The Jazz went on a 14-3 run to end the game.  Just terrific.


  • A lot of the excitement is going to be about Rudy and rightfully so.  This was an entire team effort.  So many players I could single out in tonight’s game for terrific play.


  • Everything went wrong to start and the Jazz absorbed it.  Ingles got 2 fouls almost immediately meaning Exum had to play the 2.   Favors got a ticky tack foul for his 2nd and the Jazz were without Favors for over 6 minutes of the first quarter.  With Hayward on the bench in the 2ndquarter the Jazz went 1 for 8.  In the third quarter, the Bulls went on a 8-1 run and the Jazz didn’t freak out they answered.   That is the biggest sign of growth to me is how much this team endured to get through the game and stay in control. That might be the biggest change of all.


  • Yes as crazy as it all seems Rudy Gobert, at 22 years old.  A year after playing just 434 last year he has become a legitimate game changer.   His defense is franchise changing defense.  His multiple effort plays defensively are what separate him from a good defender and could make him a great defender.  The growth is remarkable.  He still needs to get a lot stronger.  He still needs to mature, but the change in the last year or even the last 18 months since he was drafted is out of this world.


  • Tonight Gobert simply took Pau Gasol who was crazy hot out of the game.  By the third quarter Gasol was playing like a stretch 4 in order to take Gobert out of the paint.  The Bulls couldn’t handle Gobertland.   Gasol knows Gobert from this summer and he couldn’t do anything against him.   Every drive in the 1sthalf was altered by Gober.  In the first quarter the Bulls shot 6 of 23 from the field with Gobert on the floor.  By halftime they were 8 of 33 with Gobert on the floor.  With him on the bench the Bulls were 5 of 13.   By the end of 3 quarter the Bulls were 17 of 55 shooting with Gobert on the floor.  (30.1%)  The impact is incredible.


  • The Bulls shot 16 of 39 (41%) in the restricted area.  That is incredible.


  • Trey Burke played really well tonight. He battled on the defensive end against Derrick Rose.  He went at Aaron Brooks.   He finished the night  with an impressive 6 of 13 with 17 points and 4 assists.  He outplayed Derrick Rose.


  • Derrick Favors was a beast tonight.  We talk a lot about Hawyard’s strength increase but Favors is considerably stronger than he has been.  Jazz strength staff is elite.   Favors dropped 20 again tonight.  10thtime this season, equally the same amount he had all of last year.  Favors had 20 points and 11 rebounds going against the defensive player of the year Joakim Noah.  Favors was 7 of 11 in the paint.  He was the stronger man.


  • Gobert’s offense is not refined but going 5 for 8 with 11 points is a good offensive game. There is a real value to having a dunker.   Tyson Chandler and Brandon Wright are good offensive players.  We get lost needed moves and range when the point of the game is to score points and 8 shots for 11 points is scoring at a nice level.


  • Millsap played very hard tonight.


  • Gordon Hayward played Jimmy Butler to at least a draw.  With 5 assists and 4 rebounds Hayward may have out played him.


  • Joe Ingles is a wonderful complimentary player – 7 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.  You rarely see him get in defensive problems.  Trevor Booker is playing nicely off the bench in the last few games and was very strong tonight.


  • A wonderful night.  Jazz have won 7 of 11.  The Favors pass to Gobert for the dunk on the high low was the play of the night or was it the Favors dunk or was it the Booker’s shot, or was it Trey’s corner 3 or was it ………