Emptying the Noggin — Jazz can’t slow down Celtics in Boston

Summary: Boston’s offense destroyed the Jazz’s defense, and the Celtics cruised to an easy win over the Jazz.

·       The Jazz found no answer for Boston’s offensive system all night. Boston plays a five-out offense where all five players are playing outside the paint. A player will cut through the lane, but then never stop in the paint and the offense continues with five out and the lane wide open. This sent the Jazz for loops we haven’t seen all year. Boston was able to get dribble penetration into the paint and then when the Jazz’s defense shifted into the lane to help, they ended up in a complete scramble.

·       The Jazz are the second best team at not allowing three-point shots to be taken by their opponents, allowing just 26.8% of opponents’ total shots to be threes. Tonight, Boston took over 40% of their shots as threes. The Jazz couldn’t control the ball and once that happened, it was over and Boston was bombing away, making shots.

·       Isaiah Thomas is unreal. He had a career high in assists. Again, he got into the paint, broke the defense down and could then throw it back out for a three. In his case, it was a direct pass to a basket with 15 assists. For many others, the pass led to another pass and another pass and the Celtics just kept getting looks.

·       The Jazz’s transition defense was not as good as usual to start the game, and at the same time, the Jazz had no presence on the offensive glass. The Jazz had zero offensive rebounds in the first half and the Celtics came into the game the worst defensive rebounding team in the NBA.

·       The Celtics were the first team who had a defense designed to take away Rudy Gobert. They had a body or two on Rudy on every roll to the basket. They switched a lot of pick and rolls so the guard or wing was big enough to stay between Rudy and the basket. This is where it would be nice if Rudy had some sort of the offensive back-to-the-basket game to take advantage of the smaller player. The Celtics eliminated the roll of Rudy. This is going to happen in the playoffs.

·       Gordon Hayward had a nice offensive game. He got cheers from the Boston crowd that sent Jae Crowder into a twitter tantrum after the game. Crowder was awesome tonight, hitting on all five of his three-point attempts.

·       Derrick Favors looked better tonight. He had a bit more bounce offensively. Defensively, he still seemed anchored to the ground a bit. His passes were great — he had his career high assists in the game.

·       The Jazz had a season-high in assists and had a really good offensive game. They just couldn’t get stops.

·       Joe Johnson took over and was unguardable for a while. The Jazz are going to need Joe Johnson to be this aggressive offensively until Rodney Hood can be a consistent night-in and night-out offensive scorer.

·       I loved Rodney Hood’s six free throws.

·       The Jazz went eight minutes without a point guard tonight with George Hill absent and it didn’t work out. In those eight minutes, the Jazz were a -10. The Jazz were trying to take advantage of Thomas defensively and didn’t have the personnel to do it. The last seven healthy starting point guards had crushed the Celtics. The problems were defensive and getting stops with these lineups.

·       Alec Burks didn’t play. There are not a lot of minutes for Alec right now. Quin is going to make an effort to get Alec on the floor, but he is rusty and probably can’t be expected to be very good for a while so it’s hard to find him time. There also aren’t a lot of minutes at the big man positions. If Favors is playing up to 30 minutes and Rudy is playing 36, then that is 66 of the 96 total big minutes accounted for. That leaves just 30 minutes to be divided between Lyles, Diaw and Johnson/Ingles (if we play small).”

·       This was the Jazz’s second worst defensive performance of the year — only the Miami game was worse by the numbers.

·       This game was the Jazz’s inability to stop the Celtics. The offense was really good with big additions from Diaw, Johnson and Favors. The defense never showed the slightest sign of stopping Boston, allowing a 126.9 defensive rating.

Emptying the Noggin — Jazz get their 4th win in a row

Summary: With the game tied going into the fourth quarter, the Jazz dominated the fourth and pulled away for a routine win over the Brooklyn Nets.

·       Quin Snyder won his 100th game of his NBA career tonight, and his moves were a large part of it.  Snyder decided to open the second half with Boris Diaw instead of Derrick Favors. That didn’t work because the Nets didn’t guard Boris and he didn’t knock down shots. Then, Quin went to Lyles as the four and that didn’t work either. Finally, he decided to go with Ingles/Johnson at the power forward along with Favors or Gobert at center, which changed the game for the Jazz.

·       The Jazz put the defensive clamps down against the Nets in the second half. In the first half, the Jazz did a poor job containing the ball and stopping the quick penetration of the Nets. In the second half, they were vastly improved and that helped them control the game. It ended up being a very good defensive night for the Jazz.

·       Hayward carried the Jazz through the third quarter, scoring 13 of the Jazz’s 20 points. The Jazz’s offense was brutal through portions of the third quarter; They couldn’t knock down shots and couldn’t get into any sets. Everything was dying late in the shot clock.

·       Hood opened the fourth quarter with a scoring burst after starting the night 2 for 11. Mack also hit a few big shots in the fourth, mostly his right-handed floater on the right side of the floor.  Hayward added a few to get himself another 30-point game.

·       Hayward came out in the first quarter and was dominant, then took over the third and scored when he needed to in the fourth. He has passed 30 points five times this year and 18 times in his career.

·       Trevor Booker played with a ton of energy tonight and was terrific for the Nets. He seems really happy about where he is. It was great to see Trevor before the game. He might be the most liked player in the league.

·       Joe Ingles has done so much for this team. He has played point guard, has been a defensive stopper, and he was the power forward and grabbed nine rebounds tonight.

·       The use of four different guys — and none of them being Derrick Favors — at the four in the second half shows the versatility that this roster has for Quin Snyder.

·       Rudy Gobert had 15 points and 16 rebounds while holding Lopez to 14 — 7 points below his season average.

·       I loved that Joe Johnson hit the three that clinched the game.

·       Alec Burks returned for three minutes tonight. I’m not sure where his minutes come from. His only shot was a buzzer-beater attempt. He seemed to struggle a little containing the ball on the dribble.

·       Jazz win their fourth in a row, and now the road trip starts to get really hard.

Emptying the Noggin — Jazz get another ‘Wow!’ night from Rudy Gobert

Summary: The Jazz get in a tight game with Suns, but are able to close it out for a win with a great defensive effort. The 91-86 win puts the Jazz into fourth in the Western Conference.

·       The Jazz couldn’t muster enough offense tonight to run away from the Suns, and found themselves in a possession by possession battle down the stretch, but the Jazz showed improvement in being able to close the game out for the win.

·       Rudy Gobert had one of the most remarkable defensive plays I have seen. He got switched out on Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe isolated on him and drove to the basket — the possession before Bledsoe had missed a three on the switch. Gobert stayed with Bledsoe and blocked his shot. It went out to the Suns and the they drove to the basket (not sure who) and Gobert stepped out to deny his shot and he passed to a seemingly open Chriss on the left baseline. Chriss rose up to dunk and Gobert swirled back to block or alter the dunk and force the miss. The amount of multiple actions on this play is incomprehensible. This is one of the most incredible examples of Rudy’s motor, of his balance, his athleticism, his understanding of the game, his commitment, his fight. It is amazing that he forced the pass and got back to the guy who received the pass to block the next attempt. It might have saved the game.

·       The Jazz’s defense was incredible in the second half. Without George Hill (out for concussion protocol), the Jazz held the Suns to 13 of 34 shooting and just one three-pointer. In the first half, the Suns were scoring 1.16 pts per possessions, and by the end of the night it was just .947 pts per possession.

·       Rudy was a large part of that defense. The Jazz guards were trying to force the ball handler to the sideline, and had a hard time executing that plan. But with Rudy, they were able to stymie the Suns.

·       Devin Booker had 18 points in the first quarter and just two the rest of the night, including missing a three to tie. The Jazz had the Booker stopper and it was Joe Ingles. Quin Snyder subbed Rodney Hood out of the game with 5:00 to put Joe Ingles on Booker — quite the move by Quin. It also showed that Quin is not worried about who finishes, and all that he is worried about winning.

·       Favors looked better tonight: 9 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, two of which were gorgeous high-low passes to Rudy Gobert.

·       Raul Neto was forced into action with George Hill out after the last play of the first quarter.  Neto did a solid job executing the defensive game plan and is more aggressive going to the basket this year.

·       Hayward finished with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Phoenix did everything they could to eliminate him from the game.

·       The story of this game is two-fold: The Jazz winning defensively in the second half without George Hill, and another “wow” night from Rudy Gobert with 18 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks on 7 of 8 shooting, and this doesn’t even begin to tell the story of his defense.

Emptying the Noggin — George Hill is brilliant in his return to the lineup

Summary: George Hill returned to the Jazz’s starting lineup and the Jazz used a 30-9 fourth quarter to blow out the Philadelphia 76ers, 100-83.

·        George Hill was brilliant in his return to the lineup. He played 29 minutes, hit on 8 of 10 shots for 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds, dished six assists and had three steals. The Jazz were a remarkable +31 when he was on the floor tonight. He plays in control. Everyone is in position.  The team gets into their sets when and where they need to. Defensively, he is able to get back in front of his man and he reads and understands the game terrifically.

·       Jazz lost the first quarter, 24-22, tied the second, 27-27, and lost the third, 23-21 before exploding for a 30-9 fourth quarter in order to beat the 76ers.

·       It was only the second time all season the Jazz played their preferred starting lineup together.

·       At shoot around today, the Jazz went through offensive attack drills, working on how to deal with the double team on the ball from the 76ers and where the passes would be to get weak side threes. The Jazz got them all night. The corner three was open all the time. The Jazz had eight corner threes in the first half, which was equal to the most they had in any game all season. The Jazz hit 15 of 26 from three.

·       Jahlil Okafor had a big second quarter with 13 points, and never scored in the second half. He finished the night 6 of 15 for 13 points.

·       Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were not available for the Sixers tonight.

·       Rodney Hood got out of his shooting slump with an early three and then rolled through the night. Hood had missed 17 straight threes — largely due to the hamstring and the flu — but it was nice for him to get going tonight.

·       Trey Lyles is having a very good shooting month in December. Tonight, he hit 3 of 5 from three. He is 11 of his last 20. His added offensive game can make this team unreal offensively.

·       The minutes tonight look very much how they will be when this team is healthy. Hill played 29, which will likely increase, but Hayward (32), Gobert (33), Hood (32) and Favors (24 – could increase) and the bench was Mack (18), Diaw (17) Ingles (15) Johnson (17) Lyles (18). That is probably what the rotation will look like.

·       It was great to see the preferred starting lineup together again.

Emptying the Noggin —Ingles and a brilliant Gordon win it for Utah

Summary: The Jazz hold off the Lakers for a 102-100 win. Joe Ingles hit the game-winning three and had two key defensive stops late in the game. Hayward’s 31 carried the Jazz throughout the game.

·       If you look beyond the Lakers’ 10-23 record, you will realize this is a very good win. First, you don’t beat teams four times in a season very often, and the Jazz now have a 3-0 season series advantage on the Lakers. Two of the Jazz’s main cogs — Rodney Hood and Derrick Favors — were way off their games. Then, you add that the team was without George Hill, Alec Burks and Dante Exum. That is a hard game to win and the Jazz got it.

·       The depth that Dennis Lindsey added to this team in the offseason won this game. Boris Diaw had a brilliant first half of the game. For a portion of the game, Quin turned the offense over to Joe Johnson, and then down the stretch Joe Ingles was the hero on both sides of the ball.

·       None of this is possible without a brilliant night from Gordon Hayward. He finished with 31 points, 9 rebounds and lifted the team for most of the night until he got some help.

·       The game was tied at 99 with 56.5 seconds left and the Lakers isolated Lou Williams on the right side of the floor with the shot clock winding down, and Joe Ingles had the defensive assignment.  He denied his Williams’ hand and forced him to the right, and Lou never got a look. Instead, he threw up a shot that went off the side of the glass.

·       The Jazz came back with a quick-hitter. Just 11 seconds into the possession, Joe Johnson set a great pick for Joe Ingles, who flared to the corner. Julius Randle didn’t help out, Ingles was open for the three and buried it. The right corner is his sweet spot. Jazz led it 102-99 and wouldn’t relinquish the lead.

·       After the Lakers got one free throw from Randle, Rudy Gobert missed both and the Lakers had a chance to tie with the score at 102-100. The play was for Lou Williams, but he said that Ingles was facing-guarding him and denied him the ball. Russell came off a double pick to his right and Ingles switched out on Russell and forced him into a bad look three that was an air-ball.

·       The play that is being forgotten is the Rudy Gobert tip-in and follow with 1:00 left after a Hayward missed a three with the game tied at 99. Gobert had his 11th straight double-double and 17th in 20 games.

·       Quin really used his bench well tonight. He didn’t play Rodney and Favors late because they simply weren’t playing well enough. There are going to be lots of tough calls when this team gets healthy, and tonight Quin showed he is going to play who is playing well.

·       Lyles had one of his most aggressive defense and hustle games I have seen from him. He took only one shot in 13 minutes.  He grabbed six rebounds.

·       The Jazz ran a lot of offense out of the post with Diaw and Lyles getting the ball down low, then looking to distribute.

·       Raul Neto’s solid 13 minutes were vital.

·       Julius Randle was outstanding. He attacked Gobert late in the game, going right into his body, and was able to score. Randle’s work on the glass dominated the first half. He has the ability to handle and play make a little. He looks much improved in what is turning out to be a questionable draft.

·       The Jazz’s bench shot 17 of 33 from the field and 6 of 14 from three.

·       The Jazz are negative for the season when Hayward and Gobert are off the floor. This is an area that needs to improve.

·       When Hayward went to the bench in the fourth quarter, Joe Johnson was huge for the Jazz.

·       The Jazz committed 19 turnovers in the first three quarters and one in the fourth.

It was a cool moment to end the night Joe Ingles embraced Marcelo Huertas — Joe’s teammate in Barcelona, where Joe lost a love for the game and almost quit. Huertas was the one who kept him going through that stretch, and to have Huertas see the greatest night of Joe’s career on the NBA stage is cool symmetry.

Emptying the Noggin —  Incredible performance by Lowry owns the night

Summary: The Jazz were on the wrong side of one of the most awesome fourth quarter performances I have seen in my 25 years covering the NBA. Kyle Lowry scored 19 in the fourth and bested the Jazz, 104-98.

·       Kyle Lowry came into the game as the hottest player in the NBA, and it isn’t any different after tonight. He scored 36 points, a total which he had only surpassed three times in his NBA career (one v. Utah); He scored 19 in the fourth quarter, the second-most points he has ever scored in a quarter.

·       Lowry was absurd. He went 9 for 10 in the fourth quarter. The Jazz started with Neto and Mack on him, but he was too strong and could just shoot over them. Then, the Jazz put Joe Ingles on him. The added length changed the looks he was getting, but it didn’t matter. Lowry drove to the rack, bulldozing the smaller defenders and then — when Ingles was on him — he would work off the pick and then pull up in the mid-range prior to running into or challenging Gobert.  He was in complete control and he was awesome.

·       Lowry left the game in the third to get stitches in between his nose and his lip.

·       The Jazz did a good job on DeRozan. He started hot, but then was 1 for 8 in the third quarter and finished with 24 points on 24 shots.

·       Without Rodney Hood — who played just 13 minutes while being sick — the Raptors doubled Hayward on the pick-and-roll, and as the game went on, the Jazz understood what skip passes were open against the double teaming and over-shifting defense.

·       Lyles found his shot and played with more definitiveness in his offensive game. He has had a tendency at times to stop the ball, but tonight he was terrific with his aggressiveness and his shooting. He is so incredibly talented, it is a process for him to understand how to use all those talents.

·       Without, Hill, Exum and Burks, there were not a lot of defensive choices for the Jazz on how to match up with the Lowry/Powell/DeRozan back court.

·       Rudy Gobert got his tenth straight double-double. Jonas Valencinus powered into Rudy early in the game and gave Rudy a tough time. He would just drop his shoulder into Rudy and force him to back up, creating enough space to shoot.

·       Hayward had 23 points on 8 of 16 shooting.

·       Shelvin Mack had a nice offensive game with 17 points. With the pressure on the wings, he took advantage of the driving lanes made available to him.

·       Joe Ingles had four steals He is having a great season and is a good NBA player. He is being asked to a lot without Hill, Exum and Hood. He had to put the ball on the floor a lot tonight and was able to distribute for seven assists.

·       The Jazz have lost three in a row.

·       The Jazz’s defensive rating tonight was 111.7, which is holding the Raptors to nearly four points below their average. That is incredible. The Raptors are the number one offensive team in the NBA and it is not close right now. Tonight, the Raptors had to work hard and have a super-human fourth quarter by Lowry to get to 111.7. Good work by the Jazz’s defense.

·       The Raptors’ scouting report focus on Gobert was immense. Keep an eye on this.

·       Incredible performance by Lowry owns the night.

Emptying the Noggin — This one stings

Summary: The Jazz blow numerous leads and lose a winnable game to Sacramento, 94-93.

  • The Jazz led by 20 points – 64-44 in the third quarter. They led by 11 heading into the fourth quarter and they led by six points with five minutes to play. The Jazz were crippled by injuries without the entire projected first- and second-team backcourt (Hill, Exum, Hood and Burks), but with those leads, you have to find a way to hang on.
  • The Jazz were terrific defensively for the first three quarters of the night. The Kings’ offensive rating going into the fourth quarter was 94.7 and then the Jazz couldn’t get stops. Similar to the Miami loss, the Jazz guards were not able to stop the dribble penetration of the Kings. Against Miami, it was Goran Dragic and tonight it was Ty Lawson having a career revival.
  • The Jazz led it 24-17 at the end of the first quarter and stretched it to 10 at the half. Then, the Jazz exploded to open the third quarter for their 20-point lead.
  • Boris Diaw had a season high eight assists. He was terrific conducting the offense and creating for his teammates. He was +13 in 24 minutes. For Boris to do this on a back-to-back is terrific. He really played great tonight.
  • For Sacramento, this is a mammoth win. Last night was the first time they had won trailing going into the fourth quarter and now they have done it on back-to-back nights. Plus, they have played the fewest home games of anyone in the NBA.
  • Gobert continues to be terrific. He had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Cousins was a non-factor until the end. Cousins shot 5 of 18.
  • The Kings came back with a bench unit of Lawson, Temple, Afflalo, Toliver and then Cousins returned with six minutes left.
  • The Jazz needed to make sure this game never gets to a point where Cousins returns.
  • When I review the Jazz’s fourth quarter offense — which shot just 7 of 21 from the field — I think I am going to see a lot of good looks. In the final five minutes, the Jazz led it 86-80. Hayward missed a three, then on the next possession, Hayward nailed a 23-footer. Then Hayward missed a 16-footer and got his own rebound, throwing out to Joe Johnson for a good look three that he missed. Johnson got into the paint for the next attempt and he missed a 9-footer that he has made all season. Mack got a wide open look on the right side, and maybe he is not the one you want shooting, but he was wide open and missed. The next possession was the really bad one when Ingles drove and turned it over with a difficult pass. Those last two are guys that you don’t anticipate trying to make plays at that point in a game.
  • Rudy then missed one of two free throws that would have tied it, and those were the first free throws Rudy had taken in a late game situation since 2015.
  • The real issue was the Jazz’s inability to get stops in the fourth quarter. The Kings shot 8 of 13 and went 13 of 18 from the line in the fourth quarter. The Kings scored on 6 of 8 possessions in the final five minutes before it became a free throw contest.
  • This one stings. Even with the injuries, when you are able to get the lead the Jazz had you need to find a way to close the game.

Emptying the Noggin — Jazz blown out by vastly superior Warriors

Summary: The Warriors blow out the Jazz with a second quarter run that seemingly never stopped.

·       On the second play of the game, Rodney Hood signaled to the Jazz bench that something was wrong, and from that point on the Jazz were without three starters against a completely loaded Golden State Warriors team. There is no chance.

·       The game started with a completely ugly display of offense that reminded you that these were the second and fourth best defensive teams going head to head. The two teams combined to miss 23 of the first 25 shots of the game.

·       The Jazz were within five points at 30-25 mid-way thru the second quarter and the game was playing exactly how the Jazz wanted. The crowd wasn’t into the game. The Warriors were playing in the half court. Then: Boom!

·       The Warriors missed 16 of their first 22 shots with Rudy Gobert on the floor. He has a tremendous impact. The Warriors would drive the paint and not want to challenge him at all.  They were making one or two extra passes because of Gobert and it was ruining their rhythm.

·       The Jazz’s offense couldn’t handle the speed and activity of the Warriors’ defense. The Warriors were brilliant defensively and held the Jazz to a season low 74 points, making them shoot 35.5% and allowing only 9 of 30 from three. The Jazz had two points in the midrange all night.

·       The Warriors’ speed was overwhelming. It made the Jazz look really slow.

·       Gobert had a good night: 11 points and 16 rebounds on 5 of 6 shooting.

·       Rodney Hood was way out of sorts in the 10 minutes he tried to play.  It was nice that he made the effort, but he was nowhere near right.

·       Gordon Hayward didn’t play well tonight. He hit on just 2 of 10. Gordon is not going to have good nights against good teams when the starting backcourt is out for the game. He missed some looks he usually would knock down, going 0 for 6 from three. He may have been rushed all night by the speed of the Warriors.

·       This was a whitewash. The Warriors were vastly superior.

·       There was a three-play sequence in the second quarter when Durant went high pick-and-roll as though he was a point guard and scored on the first two. That is why the Warriors are different than they were last year. Durant can just go to work by himself or off of a simple action and score.

Sacramento is in town tomorrow (or today) and Boogie Cousins is coming off of a 55-point night.

Emptying the Noggin — Jazz show toughness against gritty Grizz

Summary:  In one of the most physical regular season games you can imagine, the Jazz took over late behind three straight three-pointers from Diaw, Hayward and Mack to beat the Grizzlies, 81-72.

·       The Jazz’s starting lineup of Exum, Hood, Hayward, Diaw and Gobert has been really good together, and they started the game on an 18-6 run. The Grizzlies fired back on a 12-0 run to close the quarter and from there, the game was within four points until the final minutes of the fourth quarter when the Jazz busted it open.

·       Rudy Gobert was unreal. Defensively, he was the primary defender on Marc Gasol who went 4 for 22. Offensively, his rim-rolls are changing everything. Gobert was 9 for 9 shooting and had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Gobert’s presence around the rim is also opening up things for his teammates. Mack had a drive to the basket where Gasol left the help defense to protect against Gobert and Mack went straight to the rim for a layup.

·       The Jazz’s defense was amazing. The Grizzlies had an offensive rating under 80 tonight. The Grizzlies shot 28 of 93 for 30% and, more importantly, 2 of 23 from three.

·       This game was a boxing match; It was an incredible fight. The battle on the glass was a blood bath and there was physical play on every cut. You couldn’t do anything without getting blasted, and the Jazz showed they had the mental fortitude to withstand this game and match with their own physicality.

·       In the first three quarters, the Grizzlies had nine offensive rebounds. In the fourth quarter, they had 10. They had nine in the opening seven minutes of the fourth quarter alone.

·       The game was tied at 66 with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter — yes, FOURTH quarter. The Jazz got a stop after the Grizzlies got three chances in a possession, and then Diaw hit a three to make it 69-66. Tony Allen missed and Hood missed two attempts, but Gasol threw away the outlet and the Jazz got another chance. Hayward hit a three to make it 72-66 with 2:59 left. Gasol answered, but the Jazz came back with a Shelvin Mack three to make it 75-68. The Jazz got a stop and then Conley flopped, drawing a foul on Hayward. Conley got two free throws and it was 75-70, and Mack found Gobert for great layup and the Jazz win.

·       That is an incredible stretch. The Jazz scored 13 point in nine possessions against the number one defensive team in the NBA

·       The Grizzlies don’t lose these games. In games that were within three points in the final three minutes over the past six years, Memphis is 119-60. In games within five points with five minutes to play, they are 156-87. For the Jazz to win in Memphis without their starting point guard is awesome.

·       The Jazz have won 11 of 13.

·       The Jazz played without a point guard for a while, and played Gobert and Favors together.

·       All this and I haven’t mentioned Gordon Hayward yet. He had 22 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. The only player to do that this year is Anthony Davis. Hayward also had nine free throw attempts.

·       Mike Conley looked rusty in his second game back and shot 3 for 16.

·       I still don’t quite understand how but Boris Diaw helps you win games.

·       It is going to be interesting to see if Lyles and Exum get minutes as the season goes on. Young players traditionally don’t get a lot of time on really good teams in the final 20 games of the regular season. Good teams don’t have the patience for the mistakes that are natural for young players. This is not a statement about either of their futures, it is only a comment in regards to young players playing on a really good team late in the season in big games. That doesn’t usually happen.

·       The was a huge win for the Jazz. It was a crazy, physical game and the Jazz showed a toughness I didn’t know they had and one they can recall when they need to do this again. I have said time and time again, this team had to have a winning stretch early in the season to be able to build confidence and believe in each other. I had no idea they would have to do it without George Hill.  This is a remarkable stretch that is going to carry the team for a while. This team is really good.

Emptying the Noggin — Rodney Hood’s big 3 wins it for the Jazz

Summary: Rodney Hood’s three-point shot with .8 seconds left saved the Jazz from a massive fourth quarter collapse and propelled the Jazz to a 103-100 win. The Jazz led the game 100-91 with 4:23 left and the Mavericks went on a 9-0 run to tie it before Hood hit the game winner.

·        Rodney Hood told Jake Scott on the postgame show that it was the first gamer of his entire life.

·       I’m not sure why Deron Williams went so early with the game tied and the shot clock off. That was a really big mistake. Dallas had a chance to play for the game winner with no chance to lose.

·       The Jazz’s offense completely fell apart late in the game. They didn’t have a field goal after the 7:17 mark of the fourth quarter until Hood hit the three.

·       The game was a slow paced, half-court game with great offense on both sides. Neither defense was able to get stops.

·       When the Jazz were able to break the paint, they got good ball movement and then got great looks offensively.

·       The Jazz were really balanced tonight. Gobert led the way with 16, Hood had 15, Lyles and Hayward each contributed 13, and point guards Exum and Mack had 11 a piece.

·       The Mavericks were hard hedging and doubling the Jazz on the pick-and-roll and it stagnated the Jazz’s offense late in the game.

·       Gordon Hayward had seven turnovers and three of them in the fourth quarter.

·       Harrison Barnes played a ton of isolation at the top of the key on the Jazz after a switch which left him matched on Shelvin Mac. He also went iso without a switch when he was guarded by Joe Johnson and finished with 21 points, but it took 22 shots to get there.

·       The Mavericks play a slow game and shoot a ton of threes and when they are hitting the threes, it is a tough combination to beat. They hit 12 of 28, only 2 of 8 in the fourth quarter.

·       Rudy had his fifth straight double-double.

·       Favors played just 13 minutes.

·       Dante Exum played a solid game. He has linked a few good games together. He didn’t look like he was moving great on his sore knee, but he made a tough drive in traffic and defended better.

·       Nine Jazz players had assists.

·       Rodney Hood for three wins it for the Jazz. Hood is 2 for 11 in game on the line shots and both are against Dallas.

Jazz have won 10 of 1