•  Jazz have won 6 of 9.
  • Hard to decide where to start. Do you start with Trey Burke’s incredible bounce back or the pure domination of Rudy Gobert? I’m going to start with Trey. What Trey did tonight is really special. He has always had a special moxie to him. To come out after the game he had the night before and be firing and playing without fear is awesome. He didn’t miss tough shots the other night. He was wide open. Tonight he may have been less open on his opening looks. This amazes me. I asked Ron Boone about it and he says that is what you have to do—if you’re a quarterback and you throw five picks you still have to make the next throw. Ok, I got that but it’s still remarkable and it’s what separates professional athletes. Interestingly, the rest of Trey’s game was super as well: 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
  • The defensive impact of Rudy Gobert is undeniable. Tonight was as impactful as he has ever been. His third quarter was just awesome. Pure domination. 11 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocks. Are you kidding? The Wolves shot 3-for-14 in the paint in the quarter. For the night, Gobert changed the game every time he stepped on the floor. When he was on the floor, the Wolves shot 20-for-58 (34%). When he was on the bench, they shot 14-for-28 (50%). There has been a difference all season long but this extreme. Some of this has to do with the opponent. As the Jazz have played better teams recently they have dealt with Rudy and understood how to attack a rim defender, but Minnesota is not at that point.
  • Trevor Booker had a career-high 6 assists tonight. He was terrific with his energy, and his passing was obviously vital. Booker also snagged a season-high 15 rebounds. This was much-needed without Enes Kanter, and playing on the second unit with Jeremy Evans. Evans had the first game-changing impact stretch. The Jazz went on a run early in the second quarter when Jeremy hit his first career 3-pointer and made a few other plays to spark the Jazz to a lead they would never relinquish.
  • Minnesota is really bad right now. They simply don’t have the talent or the experience to win games and barely have enough to compete. Without Martin, Pekovic and Rubio they don’t have the talent to win. Every one of our players was better than the guy they matched up on and therefore had very good nights.  Sometimes it’s that simple.
  • Ian Clark busted out three 3-pointers tonight. Really excited for Ian.
  • Minnesota had six fast-break points the entire night and none in the second half.
  • Overall, the story of tonight is effort and belief. This team has believed it’s making progress all season. Even during the losing streak it never felt hopeless and it never felt like a losing streak. Instead, there was a feeling it would turn around. It has. It’s still going to be tough. The thin roster with the injuries to Alec and Rodney is going to show up when the Jazz play.
  • Sorry this was late being posted. I was showing Ron Boone all of my shot locations excel spreadsheets. He will never admit, but I think he might have been interested. It has some very exciting information about what the Jazz are doing defensively. I will share them on TIPOFF on Monday.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – An injury scares the night


  •  The Patrick Christopher injury is all I can think about.  What a sad story.  Patrick come out of Compton, California to go to California Berkley.  You know already he is a special kid.  Then he gets cut by 5 different NBA teams and after 3 seasons in Europe decides to play D-League so he can finally accomplish his dream of playing in the NBA.   He scores his first ever NBA point in Los Angeles with 50 friends and family in the arena.  Then he get his first NBA start.  The storybook is awesome.  At 26 he deserves all of this.  He has battled persevered accomplished a ton and is a pleasure to be around.  He is well rounded intelligent and understands completely how significant what he is accomplishing.   And one strong close and his knee buckles, his ankle turns, his leg bends back and his knee cap is dislocated.    The players on the bench squirmed away the minute it happened.  The doctors quickly put a towel over the knee and Patrick laid on his back as they attended to him.  What he must have been thinking?   I stopped by the locker-room after the game to wish him his best and he seemed in good spirits.   I hope we see him again.  His journey has been tough and this is just a hurdle for a guy who has soared over most of them in his life.   The rest of the game paled in comparison.


  • Not sure if it was the injury to Patrick or the tenacity that the hottest team in the NBA is playing with but the Jazz seemed shell shocked to start the game.  The Jazz fell behind 28-9 before battling back and got within 3.


  • What was different about this game is the bench lead the comebacks and got the Jazz in the game.  Double figures from 3 guys off the bench tonight.  Booker, Gobert and Exum all notched double figures.  Booker’s energy off the bench was terrific.


  • At times tonight the defense was stifling.  Exum got into Schroder and made him a complete non-factor.   Gobert patrolled the middle and had his usual impact and Favors grabbed some big boy rebounds.  Dante Exum had a career high 3 steals.  At 6’6 he needs to be getting steals.  Before tonight he only had 14 steals.  That is way too few.


  • It is going to be tough sledding for Gordon Hayward with these injuries.   Hayward got no room tonight at all.  He still finished with 18 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists but shot just 6 of 14.  This felt a bit like last year with no room to maneuver.


  • Down 4 in the final 80 seconds Jazz got a good look from Favors and Hayward that would have made it a single possession game and both missed.

*  One big picture thought on the Hawks.  I really like what they are doing.  They are good.  They space the floor great on offense and they wreck havoc on defense. Amazing to me they are the #1 defensive team in the NBA since December 1st.   This is a testament to perimeter defense, length on the wings and playing together.  They seem to have their hands in on every play.   This should all be very encouraging to Jazz fans.  This is year 2 in a very similar system to what the Jazz are running and they are making huge strides under Coach Bud and the system.

  • Jazz held the Hawks to 41% shooting and just 8 for 23 from 3.  That is good stuff.  They did allow 30 free throws.   But you are better off defending the shot, forcing turnovers and committing fouls in the early stages of your defensive improvement and then as you progress decrease the fouling.    Jazz only allowed 24 shots in the restricted area and 4 corner 3’s in 81 shot attempts.


  • The jazz have been dominating on the offensive glass recently and again tonight had 17 offensive rebounds in 53 chances for over 30% of available.  This lead to 23 second chance points.  The offensive rebounding is becoming a huge part of the offense and at the same time the Jazz are not allowing a lot of fast break points.  It is a really good balance.   Tonight the Hawks were able to get out and get fast break points with 21 fast break points but most of those were off the 14 turnovers which lead to 20 points.   The Jazz are 25th in nba in points off turnovers and one of the best in transition defense.  This must mean the Jazz are elite at getting back off misses.  This has been a huge focus this year.


  • The Jazz game plan was largely about dealing with Kyle Korver and he only got 5 shot attempts tonight.  Jazz are getting better and better at executing the morning game plan at night.


  • Trey Burke had one of the worst shooting nights in nba history.  He went 0 for 11 from 3 which I believe is the worst 3 point shooting night without a make equaling Antoine Walker who also went 0 for 11.  Trey was 2 for 19 overall.   I will be curious to go back and look at the three pointers.  What I saw was a Hawks defense that tilted the floor to Hayward and Trey wide open for most of those looks.  You have to take them.  You have to make some too.  Frankily, I am more concerned on the inability to get a shot off when going one on one in the open floor on Kyle Korver or his inability to run the fast break on 2 on 1’s or 3 on 2’s.  Those are things that if done better tonight would have overcome the absurd night from 3 point land.  That is an anomaly.  Trey has not shown to be a good three point shooter this year but he is not 0 for 11 bad.   It happens.  It builds on itself inside a night.   His second to last one was deep in the cup and rattled out.  I am not a shooting doctor but it looks to me like he is kicking his legs every which way in a fashion I have not seen before and there is not way he can be on balance in that circumstance.
  • Going to be tough to get wins.  Without Burks and Hood for at least the next 5 games the Jazz are going to be crazy thin.  Now add Christopher and you are likely starting Joe Ingles with Hayward at the 2 and Ian Clark coming off the bench.   Then add the Enes Kanter injury and the Jazz are down to Favors, Gobert, Booker and Evans or Novak as your bigs.   Jazz probably will have to start Favors and Booker with Gobert off the bench with either Evans or Novak.  Lots of opportunity and watching the little things will be more important than ever.







EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz break the 3 googles in roaring comeback


  • The Jazz took advantage of a younger team and closed the game like the team that had been there before.  Closing the final 9 minutes on a 28-12 run.   The young jazz have been on the wrong side of this numerous times but tonight it was the Wolves with their injuries and inexperience that made the mistakes that let the Jazz back into the game .


  • Your resume is not good enough to make 3 googles at another bench.   Sorry those 3 googles are now broken and in pieces.


  • Jazz took the lead on a terrific play by Enes Kanter. The Jazz doubled the post and Kanter read the passing lane made the interception and then took it coast to coast for a Eurostep layup over Wiggins and the Jazz got a lead they never relinquished.


  • A night after being shut out in the 4th quarter Gordon Hayward had 11 4thpoints.


  • The Wolves were awful down the stretch.  They committed 4 turnovers, 3 of them lead to Jazz run outs.  Mo Williams was brought into the game to settle things down and just kept the Jazz fire burning.


  • The Jazz looked like a team playing on the brutal back end of a back to back and weren’t sharp in the early going but when they went down 10 in the 4thquarter they found a way to turn it on and win the game.   Any win is a good win.   Wins are going to be hard to come by.


  • Alec Burks is out for the season.  This is going to be a gaping hole for the Jazz. Rodney Hood is a nice player but you don’t see 23rdpicks of an NBA draft get inserted into starting line-ups and have a lot of success very often.   Hood is shooting 31% and less from 3.  To expect much out of him in the starting lineup for a 50 game stretch is a mammoth ask.   In fact it is a unrealistic and therefore this is going to be hard for the Jazz to be able to keep this level of play without Alec Burks


  • Going into the game seemed as though the Jazz should have a huge inside advantage. The Jazz are the best team in the NBA since Dec 1st in 2nd chance points, the Wolves allow the highest FG% in the restricted area, the Jazz get the 4th most amount of points in the restricted area and the Wolves are 28th in defensive rebounds.   However, the Jazz ended with just 12 2ndchance point.   The jazz did get 11 offensive rebounds in 37 chances nearly 30% which is high but they couldn’t convert.


  • Good post offense first takes players who get post position and then it takes guards who can throw the entry pass.  Those are hard things to do and the Jazz aren’t very good at either right now.


  • Trey Burke was very good tonight.  He is breaking the paint much more than he has been in the past.  He is scoring 39% of his points in the paint over the last 5 games and for the season it has been 29% of his scoring.   This is a significant change for Trey and step in the correct direction.


  • Enes Kanter has lost his mid range shot he is 25% over the last 12 games on mid range shots.


  • Andrew Wiggins is the whole package it is just going to take sometime to put it together.


  • Trevor Booker got 23 minutes tonight after 7 the night before.  Match-ups.


  • Jazz have won 4 of 6



EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Big steps by the Jazz in LA


  •  Jazz have played two elite Western Conference teams on the road and played both of them down to the wire.  Winning in Memphis and falling short in LA tonight. That is big time progress.


  • This was the first time the Jazz have d’d up an elite offensive team.  Usually when the Jazz have played the best offensive teams they have been able to get to the 3rd and 4th options and the Jazz defense breaks down but that was not the case tonight.  The Clippers shot below their season average


  • The Jazz made a defensive switch 11 games ago to better fit the personnel on the roster and they have been an above average defensive team since that switch.


  • The Clippers only scored 18 points in the paint.  This is where the defense has really changed pts in the paint have been shut down greatly.  Weak side shifts have improved and the paint has been closed off.  The Clippers are the  3rd best team in the NBA shooting in the restricted area and tonight they were 9 of 23 in the paint.


  • Rodney Hood got his 4th start and it was a tough one trying to guard JJ Redick.   Hood had a nice impact on the game.   He had 9 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block.  He also had a 3 turnovers and shot just 2 of 6 but overall it was a very good night.


  • Jazz made a rotational change tonight.  They brought Gobert and Exum in together as the first sub playing Exum and Gobert with Favors and Hayward.   This is new.   It really limited Trevor Booker’s minutes down to 7 for the night.


  • Favors and Gobert played together for 12:42 and the Clippers outscored the Jazz 34-33.


  • The Clippers starters are one of the best +/- units in the NBA – Tonight the Jazz starters were +4 in 16 minutes outscoring the Clippers 34-30.  Most exciting, the Clippers who are a juggernaut offensively only scored 30 points in 16 minutes.   This is a big deal.  If the starting 5 is holding there own on a night in and night out basis then if the bench gets built up in the off-season this team makes a jumper faster than anticipated.


  • Cool to see Patrick Christopher score his first NBA points in his hometown.  He grabbed a rebound and went coast to coast for his first NBA points with 50 friends and family in the crowd watching.   Well deserved for a guy who has had a long journey to get to this day.


  • Jazz went to Hayward 1 on 1 late in the game and it didn’t work tonight.   Hayward had 0 points in the 4th quarter.  He had a strong game prior to the 4th quarter – 22 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists on a defense that was zeroed in to shut him down.   Quin Snyder is still learning how to use these guys and Gordon has been great 1 on 1 in most circumstances but tonight the Clippers shut him down.


  • Rudy Gobert with another double double.  Crazy to have 11 points and 13 rebounds in 25 minutes of play.   He is having an enormous impact on every game.   More and more he is forcing his way on the floor and the better he plays the more time he is getting.  His improvement over the course of the season is beyond reason and his improvement since he first arrived is a tribute to Rudy and his commitment as well as the all the members of the staff who have been a part of it.


  • With Alec Burks out Dante Exum played with Trey Burke and played 27 minutes tonight.   He finished with 7 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.


  • The Clips are a Western Conference contender.  They are playing with multiple time all-stars and 10 years veterans against our guys all in the infancy as NBA players.  To battle them to the wire possession for possession is a great step.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz grind way to 4th win in 5 games

  •  This game was ugly, but it was a win. Jazz have won 4 of 5.
  • This was really ugly and the offense didn’t come to the game tonight, but with 5:51 left the game was Jazz 69, Sixers 66.  From that point on, the Jazz didn’t allow another field goal and ran away on a 19-5 run to close the game. This is what you should do against an inferior opponent. The game got close when it was closing time, and the Jazz were the better team and did what they should have done.
  • The Jazz couldn’t make a three tonight and that was why the game stayed close.  The jazz hit 4 of 23 from three. Had they been able to knock down a few threes, this game changes entirely. But they didn’t and so you have to win the game with defense—and the Jazz did.
  • The Sixers are terrible on offense and the Jazz held them below their season average. The Sixers on average shoot 41% and 30% from three. Tonight they were below both those marks.
  • Jazz lived off second-chance points in the first half with 17.  They didn’t get any in the third quarter and that sent the offense into a tailspin.
  • Derrick Favors was a beast—17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 5 blocks. That’s what you need from one of your best players against an inferior opponent.
  • Trevor Booker was really important off the bench tonight.
  • The Jazz offense without Gordon Hayward on the floor is really having a tough time, and Quin has tried everything. Tonight Gordon was +22. Therefore, they were -6 when Hayward was off the floor. The Jazz scored 13 points in the 10 minutes Gordon was on the bench.
  • Michael Carter Williams is one of six players since 1985 to take 20 or more shots in a game and make two or fewer of them.  The other five are Allen Iverson, Jrue Holiday, Chris Webber, Thurl Bailey and Mookie Blaylock.
  • Jazz have won 4 of 5.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz finish trip with win in Memphis


  •  Impressive.   Finshing the road trip 3-3.  Winning in Memphis.  The Grizzlies have not lost to a below .500 team.  Grizzlies were 12-2 at home.  Grizzlies were 7-2 in games decided by 5 or less.  I know the Grizzlies were without Randolph and Allen but they are still a high caliber clutch team and to hold them off and dominate the final 4 minutes is a really big deal


  • Ton of progress made on this trip highlighted by the play of Rudy Gobert.  Rudy has played 4 games over 29 minutes this year and all 4 of them were on this trip.  He has an enormous impact on the game.  This is an enormous jump for him over last year and his years in Europe.  It is stunning to me that Rudy Gobert went 27th in one of the worst drafts ever.   I was in the gym the day of his workout and he dominating that day with his length and energy.   There was no way you could pass on him if you saw him that day.  16 rebounds tonight.  His lenght is his greatest attribute but he also plays with great energy and super tenacity.  He is fearless.  He blocked Marc Gasol in the 2nd quarter and Gasol was never the same the rest of the night.   Jazz only used 3 bigs tonight with Trevor Booker out and each of them played a very strong 30 minutes.


  • Huge amount of big plays in this game.   Trey Burke hustling back defensively to alter Mike Conley’s route so that Hayward could block his shot.   The Jazz lead 84-81 with 2:34 left and Conley was on the verge of making it a 1 point game and the jazz defense answer and Trey Burke hit a lay-up plus the foul to make it a 6 point game.  Game winning play.


  • Not sure why Memphis went to Udrih and Conley with Lee late.  Unclear to me the match-up they wanted to get but it took Trey off Conley and onto Udrih and it put Burks on Conley and Lee on Hayward.  Maybe they were trying to avoid Prince on Hayward.


  • The game was tied at 73 and 75 the lead swapped until Favors scored 4 straight and the final two were on a perfectly executed play and a great pass from Trey to Favors.  Favors then go and catch to the basket with one big step for the layup


  • Rudy and Derrick played together for nearly 11 minutes in the first half and the Jazz won those 11 minutes 19-17.   That is not good offense but it is great defense.   They played 5:40 together in the 4thquarter and the score was 7-5 Grizzlies.  So in 16 minutes the score was even at 24.  That equates to a 72-72 game.  So not good offense but great defense.


  • Huge play of the night was late in the 3rdquarter.  The Grizzlies were closing out the quarter with a flurry.   Jazz had been up 6 with 3:39 left and the Grizzlies pick it up and were causing the Jazz some major problems.  The line-up with Exum and Hood was coming a bit unglued.  Grizzlies were on a 9-2 run and Hayward hustled off a pick to alter a Conley 3 and then on the other side buried a three to quiet the run and put the Jazz back up by 2.   That is what a star player does.


  • Jazz did not get a steal all night.


  • Grizzlies took a 77-75 lead with 5:31 left and the Jazz next offensive possessions were as follows – Burks 3 Jazz up 1; Burks 17 footer Jazz up 1; Favors 2 FT’s Jazz up 3; Favors layup Jazz up 5; Hayward travel, Hayward miss, Kanter travel and then they go back to making plays – Burke layup and a foul; Burks 21 footer, and Jazz up 5. That is big time


  • For Alec Burks to have the 4th quarter he had in New Orleans, not good.  Then start his 4th quarter with 1 for 4 start and a turnover and to bounce back and end up with 13 in the 4thquarter is terrific.  These are the lessons.  Alec is taking a bigger step than we have talked about.  He is a full time starter at 30 minutes a night for the first time in his career.


  • Dante may have become a 20 minute a night player this trip.


  • Good trip.  Lots of progress is being made.  Fun season so far. Have a happy holidays.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – New experience and not dealt with well


  •  The story of the season is learning experience and guys doing things they have never done before.  Only Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward have ever played significant roles on teams that were playing 4 games in 5 nights.  Last year, we never played 4 games in 5 nights.  So even Hayward and Favors have never carried this big a burden in a 4 games of 5 nights.


  • This team was searching all night.   They couldn’t find a rhythm or a momentum in the game.  At some point in one these nights you have to get a momentum as a group to find a way to fight through the fatigue.


  • Enes Kanter,Alec Burks and Trey Burke both had poor games.  From a shooting standpoint as they do this a few more times they will figure out how to turn a 2 for 9 into a 3 for 7.  That becomes a really big difference.  You can feel you legs are dead and you have no explosion.   So you end up settling for the first open jumper you get but because your legs are dead you end up front riming all of those shots.


  • Al Jefferson caught the ball with a foot in the paint on every touch early and Favors was dead from the start.   Jefferson got him on pump fakes, weezies and everything that big Al does


  • Rudy Gobert was the highlight of the night.  He had his first double double of his career.  In the 2nd quarter he was dominant.  He impacted shots, grabbed rebound and even began to make some plays on the offensive end.   A GM once told me when evaluating players look for dominant plays then they can play in the league.  Then look for dominant sequences, then they can impact the game.  Then look for dominant quarters, then they can start to determine who wins game.  Then look for dominant games, weeks and months and then you have a player you can use as a core piece of your franchise.  Rudy is dominating sequences and getting close to quarters.   He will dominate games and weeks.  He is going to be a core piece of a great defensive team.


  •  Alec Burks played his 23rd game of 30 or more minutes tonight – he had only played 36 games of 30 minutes in his career prior to this season.


  • Joe Ingles got it going and had 13


  • Jazz battled back to within 10 but never were able to get past that.


  • New experience and the Jazz didn’t deal with it very well.  Let’s see if they deal with the next 4 games in 5 nights better than this one.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz making consistently strong efforts


  • Solid performance from the Jazz tonight.  Before the game Quin Snyder talked about in Sacramento when he say something that told him the team was turning the corner.  He talked about the club making 3 or 4 plays in row correctly rather than 1 every now and again.   Since then the Jazz have been much better.  Tonight they did it defensively.   Sequences of the game tonight the Jazz was exactly what they talked about doing in shootaround.


  • Some of the best defensive execution plays were Kanter digging in on Vucevic and then getting back out on Frye.   Hayward had a play where he got into the legs of the cutting Vucevic and then got back out on Harris forcing him to give up the look and the Jazz made the next rotation to the next shooter.   This happened on numerous occasions tonight where the Jazz were sharp defensively.


  • I didn’t think Orlando played with a lot of zest tonight.  They are not a great offensive team.  They may not have been forcing the Jazz into numerous defensive efforts but the efforts they had the Jazz defended terrifically.   These are big steps for this team.   The system they are being taught are good and they have to believe they will work and they have improved at them greatly.


  • Jazz defense shifted as well as I have seen it all year.  The key to shifting is getting back and recovering and they are doing that with more and more effort.


  • Good night for Enes Kanter.  Guarding the premier stretch 4 in Channing Frye and holding him to just 9 points and I think two of the three’s may have come when he was being guarded by someone else.  Late in the game, the Magic went small and Tobais Harris played the three and Quin Snyder had enough faith in Enes to leave him on the floor.


  • One of the biggest plays of the game was with 5:00 left the Magic had the game down to 6.  Fournier missed a layup, Hayward grabbed the board and pushed the tempo.  The pass came to Kanter in the middle of the paint and he threw a bullet pass while on the move to the left corner for Alec Burks for a dagger 3 that put the game back to 9 points.  Awesome pass.  Great catch and shoot.  Playing with pace


  • Jazz played with pace much more than they did earlier in the season.  One thing they have asked is if Trey Burke is outside the 3 point line when the shot goes up to sprint down the floor rather than come back for the ball and let someone else bring the ball up the floor and then they will get the ball to Trey.  It has helped the tempo a great deal.


  • Another major play was with 3:23 left the Jazz had the ball up 8 and Hayward worked the possession and then hit Favors at 14 feet right side and quick release confident jumper by Favors put the Jazz up 10 to virtually clinch this game.


  • Gordon Hayward has become the master at the hard drive into the lane and then stop on a dime and hit the jumper.  73% of his 4th quarter baskets are unassisted this year.


  • Favors 23-10 – the 8th time he has 20 or more this year and he did that only 10 times last year.


  • Good bench night.  Jazz got 28 points off the bench tonight.


  • Story of the night is the consistent effort.  The Jazz took the lead at 12-10 and never let it go.  They were ahead by double digits for most of the night.  The Magic made runs and surges but the Jazz always answered and took control of the game without every letting the Magic feel as though they had a chance to win.