EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Hots and a poor performance

  •  I am pretty blank tonight crew.   Sorry.  Tough night for everyone in the Jazz family and I am sure for you as well as a Jazz fan.  We lost one of our pillars.  This foundation has come a long way.  So far I don’t think many of us realize where it once stood.  Hot Rod brought legitimacy to this franchise.  He educated a city about the NBA and then he took us on a joyous ride through the ups and downs of a developing franchise until we peaked in the incredible run to the Finals.  Then he kept us on the journey.  Each night was filled with passion for the game and a love for the franchise.


  • Hots started as my hero when I was a kid.  Then he was my mentor over the 7 years that I was the studio host for the radio and finally he I am proud to say he was my friend.


  • There has never been a day when I have the radio voice of the Jazz where I didn’t feel like I was doing hot rod’s job.  Tonight it was overwhelming.


  • Very nice touch by the Denver Nuggets to do a moment of silence before the game tonight.


  • On the floor the Jazz were not good tonight.   For a long time I have been saying at some point the hard word and constant demand on these guys will lead to a dead night and here it was.  Other than Gordon no one could hit a shot early in the game.  Somehow at the end of 1 quarter they were still in the game.   The 2nd quarter was a game of runs with the Nugs going 13-0 the Jazz following with 11-0 and then Nugs got the extra one and the Jazz never recovered


  • The ball is beginning to stick on offense more than it did earlier in the year


  • Rudy has to roll to hoop and put pressure on the rim to flatten out the defense.  They were better at this in the 2nd half.


  • The Jazz allowed Ty Lawson to get in the lane and create and the defense collapsed.


  • The whole team was poor tonight.  But G put up another 20 point night finishing with 24 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.


  • Favors left the game with back spasms.


  • This team is really limited.  There are pieces in place but this roster is not complete.  For these guys to go on the run they did for over a month has to have taken a toll.  Most nights the other team is more talented so the collective energy and focus by the Jazz has to be at an incredibly high level to have success.   This may have worn these team down and there are not a lot of spots the rest of the way to catch your breath.


  • Dante Exum had the flu and that is why he didn’t play the 2nd half.


  • Trey Burke had another 25% or below night.  He has to find a way to not be under 25% 1 out of every 4 nights.


  • Denver hit a season high 13 three pointers.  They came in 29th in the NBA in 3 point shooting.



EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Great battle but All-Stars took over


  •  Really solid effort from the Jazz tonight.   Without Hayward, Hood and Burks it is almost impossible for Quin to build an offense and use his playmakers and these guys battled all night.  This performance shows all the same signs of the Jazz being a very good team with some adjustments.


  • The Blazers two all stars were terrific late in the game.  Namely Dame Lillard.  Lillard carried the Blazers late and willed them to the win.  Lilliard had 13 points in the 4th and 21 in the 2nd half.  He took over and he was the best player on the floor.   Aldridge had 9 in the 4thquarter and a huge offensive rebound.  The Blazers had to win tonight.  They had lost 5 in a row and had to win.  Simply couldn’t afford to lose to an undermanned team like the Jazz.   They didn’t.


  • Trey Burke was really solid tonight.  He stayed is lane.  He didn’t over play the game.  He made some runners, he hit a few mid range shots and only took 1 three pointers.  I would like him to take more than 1 three pointer a night but in this slump it is smart to take the other looks.


  • The Blazers on average shoot 28 three’s and only allow opponents to shoot 18.  Tonight the Blazers took 27 and the jazz took 16.


  • This was not a well officiated game.


  • Favors had 19 in the first half and finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds.  22nd time he has gone over 20 and 13th time he has gone 20-10.  His array of moves in the first half was awesome.  He hit a hook coming from each side.  He hit a fade away jumper on the left baseline.  He hit the free throw line jumper.  He had a vicious follow jam.  Very impressive outing against a high level defensive team.


  • Joe Ingles did not try to miss the free throw late in the game.


  • Favors was the release valve on the final play.  It was designed for Trey or Joe and neither could get open so Derrick is designed to come to the ball as the final option.  He almost banked it in.


  • Elijah Millsap did a lot of aggressive things tonight.  He really struggles to finish at the rim, he missed 4 free throws and he had 4 turnovers.  He also had 3 steals, 2 assists and 8 rebounds.  A real mix bag that showed that he has some NBA talents and that he need to make progress in other areas this summer. This is a great learning tool for him to understand the NBA game.  He has played in so many places but to finally have the NBA experience will help him grow a ton.


  • The jazz played 4 rookies, 3 2nd year players of the 9 players they played tonight.   The short minutes in the 2nd and the 4th quarter where Quin had to play Clark, Cooley and others were costly.  Jazz were -7 in Cooley’s 5 minutes but Quin didn’t have a choice he was trying to stretch the game and not bury Gobert and Favors.


  • Jazz held the Blazers to a season low 12 points in a quarter in the first and stymied them again in the third allowing just 18 points.


  • This was a lot to ask a lot of guys.   Asking Trey to carry this team, for Joe and Elijah to be offensive initiators and for Clark and Cooley to battle in important minutes is tough and they all gave everything they had in the effort. The all-stars were really good late.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – 1 play somewhere


  • Disappointing loss tonight.   Even without Hayward and Hood for most of the night the Jazz at home should beat a short handed Wolves team.   The jazz had control of the game with a nice 4th quarter surge but allowed the Wolves to score 11 points in their final 4 possessions of the 4thquarter and that sent the game to overtime.


  • In close games this year the Jazz have relied on Gordon Hayward to handle the ball in late game situations and when Gordon couldn’t play v. New York they turned it over to Rodney Hood.  Neither were available tonight and it was really evident.


  • If the Jazz make 1 of the 4 defensive stops they needed late in the game, if the Jazz made some of the free throws they missed early in the game, if the Jazz didn’t allow 36 4thquarter points, if the Jazz didn’t turn it over 18 times tonight we are not talking about Trey Burke.


  • However, they didn’t and Trey Burke went 4 for 22 on a night when the Jazz desperately needed Trey to deliver.   I said on the broadcast I don’t care if Trey shots 20 shots tonight no one else is willing to shoot it and he is going to have to fire.  Had he made 5 the Jazz win.


  • Trey does need to find a way to avoid these brutal shooting nights.   I discussed this earlier this year.  Too often he has terrible shooting nights.  26 out of 70 games this year (37% of games) he has shot 33% or less.  In 18 of 70 games this year he has been at 25% of less (26% of games)


  • Without Hayward, Joe Ingles and Trey Burke were the primary ball handlers and they combined for 11 turnovers.


  • The Wolves double teamed Favors in the post and forced the ball out of his hand.  The Wolves were guarding him with Budinger for a large part of the night and he is much smaller but with a double coming all the time the Jazz were unable to take advantage of mismatch.   With the lack of shooting from many of the Jazz players they were unable to victimize the doubles.  Ingles did a nice job early in making them pay.


  •  Rodney Hood left with Gastointestinal distress.  I don’t know if this is related but last year at Duke he had issue with getting sick before games and in the Clemson game got sick and then came back to hit the game winning shot.  I believe this is not the first time this year for him to experience this but it is the first time he missed time.


  • Trey did a nice job defensively the time he was switched onto Wiggins battling him in the post and denying the ball


  • Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine have sick skills and were both terrific.  The athleticism is amazing and as they learn the game they will be really good.  If Kevin Love leaves Cleveland after 1 season it may go down as the worst trade in NBA history.  Cleveland will have traded one year of Love for a 14 time all-star


  • Elijah was more aggressive driving to the basket tonight.  He made some nice plays and drew some fouls.  He is struggling to finish at the rim.


  • Gobert had 18 points, 17 rebounds (11 on the offensive) and 6 blocks.


  • The Sean Kilpatrick story is pretty special.  Painful when he is not on your side but the idea that he got an NBA contract because he was close enough to an arena in an emergency and then in that contract gets a chance to play because Kevin Martin decided he was uninterested in playing and then he hits 3 three pointers and scores the first 13 points of his NBA career.  Pretty cool.


Gordon Hayward is really important.  Sure glad the Jazz matched that contract.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Every bit as good in person


  •  The Warriors are fabulous.  They are statistically one of the great teams the NBA has seen.  They are one of 7 teams with a differential over 10.  They are #1 in FG% and DFG%.  They are #1 in defensive efficiency and #2 in offensive efficiency (a good game away from #1).  They look every bit the part when you see them in person.


  • The Jazz fought hard.  They stayed in the game for most of the night but the Warriors are on a totally different level.  The Warriors hit you with their explosion and the game is over.  Tonight they hit the Jazz and the Jazz fought back to get into the game but it never felt as though the Warriors weren’t in control or were in any trouble.


  • The Warriors defensive game plan was great.  Bogut would be in the restricted area while Gobert had the ball outside the three point line and they wouldn’t worry about it at all.  Steph Curry didn’t guard Dante Exum.  Curry leaked over into every play never fearing Dante would do anything.   This is exactly how someone should guard the Jazz right now.  The impact is no room for Gordon and every offensive possession becomes a sludge.


  • Rodney Hood was very good.  He is doing some nice things offensively.  He is figuring out how to get where wants to on the floor.  How to hold his ground and when to go and catch.   Hood went 9 for 14 without making a three pointer he finished with 19 points.


  • Trey Burke was an offensive savior from the three point line.  Burke hit 5 of his 11 three point attempts.


  • The Warriors exposed the Jazz weaknesses.  The speed made some of the players look slow.  Their physical presence made some of them look weak and moveable.   This is what great teams do. They play with such force and pace that they expose where your weaknesses are and that is what happened to a few of the Jazz players.


  • Favors was nice in around the rim and hit his first three pointer of his career. Favors really battled inside and worked insanely hard on defense getting switched out on Curry on numerous possessions.   The role of playing the power forward is causing Favors to move a great deal more than as the center and the fatigue factor has to be higher.


  • Gordon Hayward was clearly affected by the fall in LA.  He was not himself.  He was not quick and didn’t have any explosion.


  • Rudy Gobert had a limited impact on the game


  • In the first quarter the Jazz only allowed 3 field goals in the half court and allowed 4 in the fast break.  But as the game went on the Warriors started scoring in the half court as well.  The Warriors are a lot like the Oregon Ducks football team relentlessly coming at you.  They come fast and with lots of weapons and it has to wear you out as the game goes on.  Defensively they rotate perfectly and are always in the correct area.


  • The Warriors top 7 minutes players from last year are back this year and that allows them to have terrific continuity to everything they do even with a new coaching staff.


  • Warriors average 110 points, they got 106.  They average 25 fast break points at home, they got 25.  The Jazz defense was not able to have an impact on the Warriors.


  • This was a great test and reminder of where the Jazz want to go and how far away it is.  The Warriors are the elite team in the NBA.  No one else is close.   They are 33-2 at home.  The Jazz battled played with the Warriors but never for a moment had a chance to win.   This was a great reminder of how long the road still is going to be for the Jazz to the elite of the NBA

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Impressively Stifling Defense for a Tired Team


  •  Tired, worn out, emotionally and physically spent and the Jazz put out an awesome defensive effort.   I get it the Lakers aren’t good.  But they aren’t 73 points not good.  The Jazz defensive rating tonight was around 82 pts allowed per 100 possessions.  The Lakers average 101.  That is a crazy big difference.   To do that when you don’t have an offensive game going, when you are tired and it is hard to play defense is really impressive.  Jazz went over 10 minutes without a field goal and won the game.  That is amazing.


  • I was talking with someone with the Lakers on my way out and he said, dang every shot was contested.   It is a good point.  The Lakers were just 3 of 11 from 3.  They shot 8 of 35 outside of the paint.    Gobert is awesome.  Favors is formidable.  But the defensive growth is more than any one player.  Gordon Hayward told me after the game that the guys are really holding each other accountable and when guys screw up the guys are yelling at each other to get it right.


  • A huge part of the Jazz game is offensive rebounding.  They are #1 in the NBA in offensive rebounds.  The Jazz got 2 offensive rebounds and 0 2nd chance points tonight.  Never thought I would see that with this team.  The Offensive rebound is such a vital part of the offense to lose those points is really hard to overcome.


  • The Jazz were dead early in the game and in the third quarter Hayward did what really good players are supposed to do.  He willed his teammates along the way.   He brought an increased energy level and command on the game and forced his teammates to join along with him.


  • Huge night for Trey Burke.   Dante is 0 for his last 11 and the Jazz needed Trey tonight and he delivered.  Trey kept the in the game in the early 2nd quarter and then made two mammoth plays late in the game.  The split of the pick and roll defense on the low dribble was one of the better plays I have seen from him.


  • Gordon Hayward is averaging 21 points a game since Feb 1st.  when you consider the Jazz are playing only 92 possessions a game and the league is averaging 96  Hayward’s 21 points is probably closer to 22 on an average pace team and 23 or 24 on Golden State or Houston.


  • Tonight Hayward scored 27% of the teams points and had 5 assists.  He accounted for 10 of the 25 field goals and 11 free throws.   He is being a complete stud.  Did I mention his 4 steals?


  • Joe Ingles 3 three pointers were very big tonight.


  • Trevor Booker put up 10 points, 5 rebounds (the only 2 offensive rebounds) and 4 assists.


  • Jazz starting back court was 0 for 11.  Lots of wins have blurred the picture a little bit but this team still has a long way to go and the last two nights from Exum and Hood are a good reminder of how long they still have to go before they have a solid footing every night.


  • Rudy’s streak of 10 consecutive game with 10 rebounds ended tonight.


  • Ron Boone had the TV stats guy chart the Jazz in the last 4 seconds of the shot clock and the Jazz were 4 of 9.  The Jazz for the season are using 11% of their possessions in the final 4 seconds of the shot clock but recently that number is up to 14%.  For the season the next closest is 9%.


  • Winning games when the starting line-up shoots 11 of 36 is really hard.   Harded when that is 1 for 11 from three.


  • Jazz have won 4 of their last 6 they trailed at halftime


  • Solid defensive win.  The defense was crazy good again.  The Lakers never scored over 20 points in a quarter.  They shot 40% and below 30% from 3.    Continuation of lots of really good things taking place.