Emptying the Noggin — How good were the Jazz?

Summary: This was a wire-to-wire win for the Jazz in a 20-point blow-out of the Thunder.  he game was never close and the Jazz crushed the Thunder on both ends of the floor. As a result, the Jazz move into first place in the Northwest division.

·        The Jazz game plan and execution on Russell Westbrook was incredible. The Jazz are the number one team at defending in transition in the NBA and they also allow the fewest transition opportunities. Tonight, they got back, built the wall and prevented Westbrook from getting early looks at the basket.

·       Westbrook was 4 of 6 in the first seven seconds of the shot clock and was 3 of 19 in the last 17 seconds of the shot clock. This is great defense by the Jazz.

·       Coming into tonight’s game, the Thunder were the number one team in the paint and the Jazz are the number one defense in the paint; The Thunder shot 21 of 49 in the paint tonight.

·       Rodney Hood was key tonight. Andre Roberson is one of the elite defenders in the NBA and had stymied Harden and Carmelo this year. In the first quarter, Gordon wasn’t able to score on him and that was when Rodney Hood got rolling. Hood finished with 25 points.

·       The Jazz’s bench was terrific: Shelvin Mack had 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting. He also notched 5 assists and has averaged 5 assists over the last 6 games. He also had 5 rebounds.

·       The Thunder were without Victor Oladipo and they don’t have the depth to handle his injury.  He has missed two games and they have been blown out in both games. Compare that to the Jazz who are now 6-8 without two starters this season, and 9-2 when they are missing at least one.

·       Rudy Gobert notched another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and he didn’t miss a shot. He was 5 of 5 from the field and 2 of 2 from the line. That is incredible.

·       Joe Ingles is shooting over 50% from three this season.

·       The Thunder came out in the third quarter with a ton of energy and were more physical than the Jazz and then the Jazz came out and the talent overwhelmed the Thunder.

·       The Jazz had a sequence when they went at Enes Kanter in the pick and roll for six straight possessions and scored on five of them.

·       The Jazz’s three-point shooting was 13 of 23 against a team that is the fourth best in the NBA at defending the three.

·       This was the Jazz’s third best offensive game of the season.

·       The Jazz only had four offensive rebounds because the game plan was to get back and not allow Westbrook to play in the open floor. They were able to do it.

·       The Jazz’s offensive rating was 120 and the defensive rating was 98. This is an elite performance on both ends of the floor and a complete whitewash.

·       Derrick Favors returned and played 12 minutes.

·       The Jazz have won 9 of 11 and good days are ahead.

Emptying the Noggin — Give the coach some credit

Summary: Despite miserable beginnings to the first and third quarters, the Jazz blew out the Sacramento Kings, 104-84, while missing 3 starters.

·       Rudy Gobert dominated DeMarcus Cousins tonight; He had 17 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Cousins didn’t score after the three-minute mark of the third quarter, and finished with just 16 points on 7 of 22 shooting.

·       Gordon Hayward has become amazingly consistent. He had 26 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.  He didn’t seem to be in the flow or having a huge impact on the game and then: bang! He ended the game with a bunch of key shots.

·       What the Jazz are doing is amazing — having a 15-10 record despite the ideal starting five playing only a total of 12 minutes together. The contributions the group is getting from 1 thru 14 on the roster is terrific.

·       The coaching staff deserves a ton of credit. Quin has managed this team masterfully through the injuries. The preparation by the staff on a nightly basis is remarkable. Tonight, they had a great game plan on Cousins. They have unique plans every night and the team is able to execute them.

·       Quin Snyder is a master out of timeouts. The Jazz are sixth best in NBA out of timeouts and sixth best on sideline out-of-bounds plays, according to Synergy. Tonight, Lyles hit a corner three out of a gorgeous set play.

·       Let’s run through the top to bottom contributions: With the game swinging to the Kings, Raul Neto came off the bench and hit back-to-back threes that propelled the Jazz back into the lead and gave them the lead at the half.

·       Joe Ingles has become a tremendously valuable NBA player. He started for Hood tonight and had 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. He is making over 60% of three-point shots in December and is a great playmaker. Last year in Miami, they exposed him defensively and we haven’t seen that at all this season. Quin Snyder said tonight he is in much better physical condition over the last two years and that is a large part of his current performance. Ingles is having the best start of a three-point shooter for the Jazz since Bryon Russell in 2000-01.

·       Dante hit a big three during the fourth quarter run and had a ton of deflections tonight.

·       Joe Johnson is a great player of the bench and  was +36 tonight. He is getting into the paint and scoring at will, getting about 10 points and 3 assists every night. Tonight, he was very good defensively.

·       Jeff Withey did a great job backing up Rudy tonight and helped give the Jazz solid defense and rim protection for 48 minutes.

·       Gordon Hayward has scored 20 or more in 10 straight games. The last Jazz player to score 20 in 10 straight games was Karl Malone in 2001.

·       The Kings started the first quarter on a 11-0 run and had a 10-0 run to open the third quarter.

·       DeMarcus Cousins plays the game looking for injustice.

This was a super top-to-bottom win without three starters and a great 15-10 start for the Jazz.  They have won 8 of their last 10 games.

Emptying the Noggin — Undermanned Jazz keep themselves in the game against the Warriors

Summary: The Warriors took control early behind a 29-1 run, but the Jazz never relented and gave the crowd an inspiring performance before falling, 106-99.

·       The jazz played without George Hill, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Derrick Favors. Trying to win without all those guys is simply too much of a task against the 20-3 Golden State Warriors.

·       The Jazz got the first two buckets of the game and led 4-0. Then, the Warriors went on a 29-1 run and just sliced the Jazz apart. It was an awesome display of dominating basketball.

·       The Jazz stayed engaged in the game all night and eventually got the score to within five in the fourth quarter.

·       The Jazz had a good defensive night, holding the Warriors to 105.6 pts per 100 possessions — 10 below their 115 average. It was one of the five best defensive performances against the Warriors this year.

·       Joe ingles changes his game depending on what the team needs. When he plays for the Australian National Team, he is one of their primary scorers. When he came to the NBA, he became a complementary player. Tonight, he went to his national team approach and was key to the Jazz staying the game. He finished with a career high 21 points. He has been much better shooting the above the break three and off-the-bounce three-point shots.

·       Shelvin Mack is a natural scorer rather than a natural distributor, and he used those skills well tonight. The Warriors went under on all the pick and rolls so it forced Shelvin to take some three pointers from the top, and he was unable to knock them down. They are shots you have to take, although he went 1 for 8.

·       Dante Exum shot 1 for 11 and 0 for 5 from three.

·       Rudy Gobert was a beast again and his second half was terrific after the Warriors really worked hard to keep him out of the game early.  Rudy finished with 20 and 17.

This was an undermanned team executing a defensive game plan well and keeping itself in the game with super effort. The Warriors are incredibly talented and the game was never in doubt, but Quin Snyder would have to feel he got solid effort from his guys.

Emptying the Noggin —  Jazz play familiar game against the Suns

Summary: The Jazz held complete control of the game for 36 minutes and led by 19 going into the fourth quarter when all of a sudden, Phoenix went on a 30-9 run to tie the game. The Jazz held off the flurry and closed out on a 9-2 run to beat the Suns, 112-105.

·        It is hard to stop a surge like the one the Suns were on, and the Jazz found a way to regain control in the final minutes. This is the third straight game the Jazz have had this issue. The fatigue from holding off the Nuggets and the Lakers in the previous two came back to bite the Jazz tonight who were noticeably tired in the second half.

·       The Suns scored 60 points in the second half.

·       The Jazz won this game offensively. They have been brilliant on the offensive end recently, and it is what has allowed them to win these games. The Jazz hit 28 of 32 from the line and 12 of 27 from three.

·       The Jazz’s offensive rating was 116.7, which is really good. However, the defensive rating of 109.4 was not good, and the Jazz’s defense has not been tight for a while. The injuries are a huge part of this. The talent level isn’t as high as it needs to be to have an elite defense. Thank goodness for the offense.

·       Rudy Gobert was terrific tonight: 22 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. Most impressively, he was 10 of 11 from the line. Rudy Gobert has become the model for consistency.  He has had a double-double in eight of his last 11 games. He has 10 or more rebounds in eight straight and 13 of 15.  He has 11 straight games with at least two block shots. He is putting it out there every night.

·       With the score at 109-105, Shelvin Mack drove into the lane, Tyson Chandler came at him and Mack floated it toward the rim where Rudy Gobert grabbed it and reverse jammed to seal the win.

·       The jazz couldn’t stop the penetration of the guards in the second half, which was very similar to the Miami game. Without George Hill and Rodney Hood, the Jazz are really thin and the defense seems to be what is struggling more than anything else.

·       Dante is in the midst of a significant struggle. He is getting in foul trouble all the time and then when he tries not to get in foul trouble, he is getting blown by. Playing on a good team is very different than what he was being asked to do in his first season. The thought that went through my mind is that when George is back, I wonder if Neto becomes the third point guard and the team lets Dante get a 40-minute run every night for a while in Salt Lake with the Stars. It would help his development. These are all natural things for a second year player who has played basketball for one of the last three years, but it is hard to have them happen on a good team.

·       Hayward had 28 pts, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Earl Watson said before the game that the defensive goal was to take Hayward out of the game. They face-guarded him for portions of the game, but with Hood out as well, Hayward was somehow able to put his stamp on the game.

·       Jazz got a ton out of Boris Diaw who played 33:00 minutes and contributed 13 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists. He was really solid and conducted the offensive terrifically. Joe Johnson was solid in his 29 minutes: 13 points with 2 rebounds and 2 assists.

·       If it weren’t for Shelvin Mack, the Jazz would have lost a lot of these games.

·       Jazz hit 12 of 27 from three and took 37% of their shots as threes. That is a great rate.

·       The Jazz have won 7 of 8.

Emptying the Noggin — The Jazz are Balanced in LA win

Summary: The Jazz opened the third quarter with a huge burst to propel them to a win over the Lakers, 107-101. The Jazz were balanced with six players in double figures and four players with at least four assists.

·       The Jazz were without Quin Snyder tonight as he had an illness that prevented him from being able to coach the game, so Igor Kokoskov coached the Jazz. Igor is an experienced head coach who has led the Georgian and Slovenian National teams. Igor has also known Quin the longest, and may very well be his most trusted advisor on the staff. Igor coached a very solid game tonight, changing some rotations and was willing to try some different line-ups and combinations.

·       The biggest play of the night was an out-of-timeout play when Igor called for a Rodney Hood isolation off a switch and Hood got into the lane for two to stretch the Jazz’s lead to eight with 2:16 left.

·       The first half of the game was slow paced with big offensive outbursts by both teams. Then, the Jazz opened the third quarter by shutting down the Lakers and going on a 12-0 run, eventually building a 19-point lead.

·       The Jazz were balanced. All five starters scored in double figures. Hayward led the way with 23 — his 7th straight game with 20 or more which is the longest stretch of his career.

·       Rudy Gobert added another double-double with 14 points and 17 rebounds, the latter of which tied his season high. He battled tonight with Tarik Black and Thomas Robinson relentlessly for the boards

·       It felt like the Lakers watched the Miami tape and tried to replicate the guard penetration of Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson. Lou Williams scored 38 and Clarkson had 17, but with the injuries they have, they didn’t have any other scorers.

·       The Jazz only allowed the Lakers to take 14 of their 87 shots from three-point range; The league average has teams taking about 30 percent of all their shots as threes. The Jazz made 13 threes and only allowed the Lakers to take 14.

·       The Jazz hit on 13 of 32 from three and are now 54 of their last 115 from three (47%) over the last four games.

·       Boris Diaw had a tremendous game. He hit two threes, doled out four assists and now has assisted three or more baskets in 5 of the last 7 games.

·       Dante had 10 points for the second straight game and made some shots, but couldn’t stay out of foul trouble. He had 5 fouls in 17 minutes.

·       Shelvin Mack for a second-round pick was a great trade.

·       The Jazz’s defense was not great tonight. The Jazz have won 6 of their last 7 by being great offensively.

The long, five-game road stand now begins. Let’s see if the Jazz can turn this run into something significant.

Emptying the Noggin — Hayward, Hayward, Hayward

Summary:  A Gordon Hayward-led third quarter explosion carried the Jazz to a 105-98 win over the Denver Nuggets. Hayward finished with 32 points to lead the Jazz. The Jazz’s 23-point lead was cut to four in a Nuggets flurry late, but the Jazz held on.

·       The first half of this game had very little feel to it, which is not surprising considering the amount of starting line-ups these two teams have used this year. Both coaches went to their benches early. The Nuggets showed their hand early in this game: They had no intention of playing a center and wanted to speed the game up as much as possible. As a result, Nurkic played just 13 minutes.

·       The Jazz went to halftime leading by two points, and it didn’t feel like any spectacular was about to happen. The game had been close, neither team had gone on any run, neither team had lead by more than six and we had nine lead changes and 11 ties.

·       Then — boom! — the Jazz erupted. More specifically, Gordon Hayward erupted. The Jazz scored 33 points, blowing out the Nuggets 33-16 in the quarter, with Gordon Hayward scoring 21 of the team’s 33. He hit 8 of 11, two of three from three and three of three from the line in the third. He outscored the Nuggets 21-16.

·       The Jazz assisted on 9 of the 13 field goals in the third. Five different players had assists in the quarter, lead by Joe Johnson with three.

·       Hayward finished the quarter with a thunderous jam for his 30th point on the game, making it the first time in his career that he has scored 30 in three straight games. It was his seventh straight game of 20 or more — also the longest stretch in his career.

·       Hayward is a completely different player than he has been. We talked about how easy the game looked for him all preseason before he broke the finger. He had worked incredibly hard all offseason to take the next step, and then a fluke injury in practice seemed to derail all of it. Hayward started the year with five straight games of 20 or more. Then, he hit a miserable three-game stretch that followed his finger getting hit again and there was real concern on his stability. Now, the finger is feeling better (other than dunks) and Hayward has reached a level we have never seen before.

·       Over the last seven games, he is averaging 27 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 49% from the field, 47% from three and seemingly never missing a free throw. Over the past three games, he is averaging 32 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and both his field goal and 3-point percentages are over 50%.

·       He isn’t forcing the game, either — that is what makes this exciting.

·       Dante Exum bounced back nicely from a tough start the other night. He finished with 10 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists.

·       Joe Ingles played 26 minutes and was important in the win. He added 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

·       Nice to have Hoody back it — allows the guys to be in the spots where they can be most successful.

The Jazz have won 5 of 6.

Emptying the Noggin — Pure and simple, a complete whooping

Summary: The Rockets blitzed the Jazz early with a 16-9 lead, but from that point on the Jazz dominated the entire game. The Jazz notched season-high in points in a quarter, half and game in a contest that was never close once the Jazz took control. The final score was 120-101.

·       This is a “Wow, we might be really, really good” win. The Rockets have been rolling, and the Jazz blew them out. The game was never close. The Rockets got it to within 9 a few times, and each time, the Jazz immediately were back up by 17. This was a super impressive win.

·       The score leads you to believe that it was a high-paced game and the Jazz won at the Rockets’ game, but it actually was one of the slowest paced games of the season, played below 90 possessions. The Jazz are the slowest paced play of team at 93. The Rockets don’t want to defend a lot of actions, and the Jazz got them in their half court sets and then got good look after good look. The Jazz’s offensive rating was 134, with league average at 103.7 pts per 100 possessions. I am sure this was the best offensive night of the year by the Jazz.

·       The Jazz have not been shooting the three-point shot well at just 33 percent for 21st in the NBA, but they busted the top off tonight. The team hit 15 of 28 and got threes from seven different players.

·       Rudy Gobert changes everything. Harden didn’t look like he wanted to drive to the basket tonight because of Gobert. Then he got caught in the middle and looked uncomfortable. Capella and Nene caused the Jazz problems last game, and tonight the two of them had much less of an impact as Rudy was able to control the paint and stay attached to his man. He is going to make a strong run for defensive player of the year.

·       Having George Hill along with Rodney Hood and Gordon Hayward meant that James Harden had to guard someone. In the last game these teams played, he was assigned to Dante and got the night off guarding Dante.

·       The Jazz did a much better job tonight when Harden was off the floor defending the Rockets.  The Rockets finished 7 of 20 shooting when Harden was off the floor.

·       Hayward looks to have his shot back. He went over 20 for the fifth straight game and finished with 31 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. He torched the Rockets in three of the last four games with amazing efficiency.

·       The Jazz are really good when Joe Johnson is on the floor. He finished with 11 points and was +16.

·       Having Hill, Hood and Hayward all on the floor at the same time means they don’t all have to be great every night. Tonight, Hill played a great game but he didn’t need to score, finishing with eight points. It was Hood with 19 and Hayward with 31

·       Trey Lyles nailed some threes tonight, and if he starts to make his shots, the Jazz are simply unguardable.

·       The Jazz are now top 10 in offensive and defensive rankings — that is really elite.

This was a blow out. Pure and simple, a complete whooping.

Emptying the Noggin — Jazz get a ‘we-are-better-than-you’ win

Summary: The Jazz win their third straight with a runaway fourth quarter. With the game tied at 80-80, the Jazz went on a 11-0 run to end the game before it got tight late. Rudy Gobert was fabulous and George Hill and Gordon Hayward each had 24 points in the 112-103 win.

·       This was a “we are better than you win.” The game was 80-78 with 8:43 left in the fourth quarter, Quin Snyder went back to the starters and the Jazz ran away with the win. Gobert, Hayward, Hill and Hood all scored in the midst of a 11 -0 run and Boris added a three to make it a 17-7 run.

·       The Jazz are better than Minnesota and they showed it. Minnesota is insanely talented, but the pieces don’t fit yet and they are very young.

·       Rudy Gobert is a force; He dominated around the rim. The Jazz are the number one defense in the NBA at defending the paint. Through three quarters, the Wolves were shooting below 50 percent in the paint. I haven’t seen Rudy’s rim numbers tonight, but his impact is constant.

·       Andrew Wiggins has struggled against Gordon Hayward, and tonight Gordon and friends forced him into 6 of 16 shooting with no free throws. Before the game, Hayward said the key is to force him into contested mid-range jumpers and keep him off of the line. He shot 2 of his 16 shots as three pointers and zero free throws. The defense couldn’t have been more perfect.

·       The Jazz put the second quarter defensive clamps down again, but this was an offensive win.   The game was played at 93 possessions, the Jazz’s offensive rating was over 120 and their defensive rating was 110. League average is 103.7 and anything over 110 is really rolling offensively.

·       How to make a good win feel less good is to have a delay at the airport. We have been sitting outside the airport gate for the last 40 minutes.

·       George Hill was terrific. When Tyus Jones tried to guard him late in the game, he destroyed him. Ricky Rubio was in on him tough. The Wolves had extra high pick up points tonight and it caused the Jazz some difficulties for a few possessions and then they reacted. The same thing happened at the start of the game when the Wolves switched everything — and I mean everything. Then the Jazz figured it out. This is where this team is so different — they understand how to react to various defenses.

·       The Jazz trailed by 5 after one quarter, then outscored the Wolves 28-18 to take a five-point halftime lead. They lead by 11 in the third, but it was back to five when we started the third and then the Wolves gained momentum. Coach Quin went to the starters earlier than he usually does and it was a great move. The Jazz immediately took control of the game.

·       Trey Lyles did a nice job coming off the bench, playing well against his college roommate as he always seems to.

·       Rodney Hood has worked hard on defense the last two games, and with George Hill healthy the Jazz don’t have to have him play well offensively to win the game. He is a threat. He helps open things up for George and Gordon, and on nights when he is hot the Jazz are going to be really tough to beat.

·       Rudy Gobert was as active and tough early in the game as I have ever seen him. He had six defensive rebounds in the opening moments.

·       Rudy went 6 of 8 from the line. He is well over 70 percent in the last 10 games.

·       Boris Diaw was terrific. His ball moving and passing make him a great threat. He made Karl Anthony Towns really work. Quin went with an interesting move to have Boris start on Karl Anthony Towns and it worked. It got Towns into foul trouble and it kept Rudy out of foul trouble.

·       A we-are-better-than-you win by the Jazz – three in a row.

Emptying the Noggin — Jazz have all-time defensive performance vs. Hawks

Summary: The Jazz’s defense stifled the Hawks throughout the night, and the Jazz blew the 10-5 Hawks out at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Jazz led by as many as 32. George Hill and Gordon Hayward led the Jazz in scoring with 23 and 24 points respectively, and Rudy Gobert was dominant inside.

·       This was an all-time defensive performance. The Hawks set lows in points, field goal percentage and assists since Mike Budenholzer took over the Hawks four seasons ago. The Jazz’s defense was incredible. It was anchored by Rudy Gobert, who took Dwight Howard completely out of this game. Howard ended up shooting two 15-foot shots when he no longer was interested in going inside. The Jazz completely dominated the paint defensively.

·       Dennis Schroder hit 5 of his first 6 shots, and then missed 12 of his next 13 shots, finishing a miserable 6 of 19. George Hill never let him stay comfortable after that first quarter.

·       Kyle Korver only got three shots attempts. Kent Bazemore was 1 for 9 from the field.

·       George Hill was battling the flu. I don’t know the details, but it isn’t hard to add some here. When he checked out of the game the first time, he immediately went to the locker room. Then — to open the third quarter — he wasn’t on the floor because he wasn’t “ready” to come out of the locker room. Hill finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds on 8 of 14 shooting, going 4 of 5 from 3.

·       The first quarter was 24-23 Jazz behind a huge offensive quarter by Gordon Hayward. Boris Diaw started and had a big impact on the offense in the early goings, hitting Gordon on two back cuts and passing terrifically. In addition, Boris’ defense on Paul Millsap early in the game was very strong.

·       From there, it was all defense. The Jazz held the Hawks to 4 of 21 shooting in the second quarter for just 11 points. The Hawks got four points in the paint in the frame. The Hawks didn’t get any better in the third quarter when they shot 5 of 20. They were 9 of 41 during a span of 24 minutes, scoring a total of 25 points. The defense was incredible.

·       The Jazz’s offense disappeared in the third quarter as well against the number one defensive team in the NBA, scoring just 13 points in the third. The Jazz lead by 12 going into the fourth and it felt like there would still be a fight. Instead, the Jazz exploded for a 20-2 run.

·       Rudy Gobert completely dominated the paint in the game. Dwight Howard didn’t score until the fourth quarter.

·       Shelvin Mack changed the game with two super defensive steals. The game was Jazz 32, Hawks 29 when Mack got back-to-back steals, and the Jazz were suddenly ahead 36-29. The Hawks would end up scoring just ONE field goal from the 9:50 mark to the :28 mark of the second quarter.

·       Rudy Gobert has hit on over 75% of his free throws over the past 7 games.

·       Rudy Gobert had 7 screen assists and Jeff Withey had 4.

·       Trey Lyles had a brutal start to his game but he persevered throughout the night and ended up with a double-double. His shot is not right; He made two mental mistakes early but he stayed in the game mentally. He is mature for his age when he is dealing with adversity. He did still have five turnovers, and he hit on just 1 for 6 from three. The shooting needs to improve.

·       Joe Johnson’s 10 defensive rebounds were a large part of this game. He got 33% of all defensive rebounds when he was on the floor.

·       George, Rodney and Gordon played together for the third time this year. Tonight, they were -3 when they were on the floor and only shot 7 for 26. I was a little surprised by this.

Overall, this was an incredibly solid win against a good team whom the Jazz dominated with stifling defense and a decent offensive night. Considering Atlanta is the number one defensive team in the league, the Jazz’s offensive rating of 101.2 was really sold. The defensive rating of 72.4 was an all-timer.

Emptying the Noggin —  George Hill matters

Summary: George Hill returns to the line-up and the Jazz blow out the Nuggets, 108-83.  The Jazz started on a 12-0 run and led by 17 in the first half before Denver tied it in the second. The Jazz stretched the lead back out to 23 before starting the fourth and won going away. Hill had 22-5-3 in his return, Hayward had 22-5-7 while Gobert had 19-13.

·        Starting point guards really matter in the NBA — ask New Orleans. Everything was different the minute George Hill got back on the floor. The looks were more open, the pace was accelerated and the control of the game was terrific.

·       The Jazz want to run an early drag screen as part of the offense. It has been non-existent since George Hill was out, and tonight it returned. The Jazz in the past games were all sitting still when the offense started, and tonight it was the opposite; They hit with an advantage early and then had the defense on a scramble for the whole possession. The minute Dante checked in, it went away.

·       Rudy Gobert was dynamite tonight. He had 19 points and 13 rebounds. This is a hard night against the big body of Jusuf Nurkic. Rudy was much more of a force at the rim than he has been in the past evenings. Was it George Hill? The Jazz got low screens and it led to Rudy Gobert slam dunks. Gobert had a huge impact on the game. Nurkic went 1 for 8 shooting.

·       The Nuggets are number one in the league at getting shots in the restricted area, and tonight it was completely shut down.

·       Nuggets shot 4 of 19 in the fourth quarter and three of the shots were threes.

·       Boris Diaw looked good tonight. He has really been struggling, and tonight he had a nice impact on the game. He was able to back in for some looks on the post. He had three assists with some great passes and set up a bunch of other plays.

·       The Jazz bench struggled again in the second quarter, as they allowed the Nuggets to tie the game after the Jazz had led by 17.

·       Trey Lyles had four fouls in the first half.

·       Denver was the tired team on the road on the back end of a back-to-back tonight with a key injury, as Gallo was out compared to the Jazz being on the end of a back-to-back with injuries Sunday night in Denver.

·       The  Jazz won the third quarter 31-14 to end this game.

·       Ho hum night for Gordon as he had 22 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists.

·       The other aspect of Hill was Mudiay was completely out of sorts, going 1 for 8 with one assist. He caused big problems for the Jazz the other night. Quin Snyder has talked a lot about wanting Dante’s defense to return to the level of his rookie year and tonight, having Hill on Mudiay was very different than what we saw in Denver.

·       This was a strong win to break a four-game losing streak.

·       Have a Happy Thanksgiving.