EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Magic put a spell on the Jazz

• Jazz got stymied by the Magic’s defense tonight. The Jazz were held to 35 points in the second half. They committed eight turnovers in the third quarter. Scott Skiles is arguably the best defensive coach in the NBA, and the Magic are showing signs of being a Skiles team.

• The Jazz were making a ton of threes through three quarters (12 of 24) overall, and the Magic were 4 of 17. Then the tide changed in the fourth quarter. The Magic were 4 of 6 from three in the fourth quarter.

• Gordon Hayward was brilliant in the first quarter tonight. He scored 13 of the first 15 points. He finished the first quarter with 16 points. The Magic clamped down on his activity after that, and he finished with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. He also had 6 turnovers. The Magic took away the driving lanes, and Gordon’s handle isn’t great when he gets into traffic.

• Alec Burks has played three straight great games. He had another 21-point game and had 3 assists and some nice passes.

• The Jazz did a great job early in the game taking advantage of the Magic’s over-shifting to get weakside looks for threes. The Jazz’s catch-and-shoot game was good tonight. In the second half, the Magic were able to cut off the middle and still get out to the weakside action.

• Trey Burke played a super second quarter. He dished. He drove. He made good, heads-up plays. Unfortunately on a good night he ended up 5-for-15. His catch-and-shoot game is great, but he was just 2-for-8 inside the arch.

• Hayward and Favors both played 38 minutes. It’s going to be hard to not wear them out when Gobert isn’t playing. This is my biggest concern about the Gobert injury—that these guys are worn out by the time Rudy returns.

• Trevor Booker played 15 minutes. He finished with 2 points and 2 rebounds.

• Rodney Hood got hit in the ribs the other night and that might be an issue still. Rodney was just 1-for-8 tonight and Rodney is currently the bell weather on this team. When he makes shots, the Jazz win. And when he doesn’t, they don’t. Rodney is now 6-for-43 from three in losses.

• Trey Lyles played 10 minutes tonight, and he’s going to get more time with Rudy out. This is going to be really important stretch for him to gain some experience. He’s getting better on every time he steps out on the floor.

• Raul Neto had a tough night.

• The Magic are a playoff team in the East, and this year that means something.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – The Jazz give Warriors everything they had

• Great night of basketball at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Jazz pushed the world champions to the very end and it took numerous remarkable plays from the Warriors to go to 19-0.

• The crowd was insane tonight. So fun to have the arena live.

• This may have been the best game the Jazz have played all season. The Warriors are an elite-level defensive team and the Jazz’s offense played well tonight. They worked matchups. They put pressure on the Warriors all night.

• The Jazz’s defense was super tonight. The Warriors hit you with burst and they break your will. The Jazz never let the Warriors get any type of extended run tonight. This is what the Warriors do, and they do it to everyone. This is the second time in four games v. the Jazz they have not been able to do that.

• Warriors got the lead to 11 for one possession and the Jazz brought the game back to within reach. The Warriors came into the game having lead by 10 or more 32% of the time. Tonight they lead by 11 for one possession. The Jazz’s effort was incredible.

• I’m more impressed after this by the Warriors streak because the Jazz gave them everything they had. The preparation was awesome. The intensity never let up. The effort was incredible. The Warriors get this every night.

• On the final play, Hood inbounded to Burks and then got it back. Hayward came from the left corner toward Hood and the Warriors looked confused if they were switching or not, and Hayward was open for a moment. But then he went by Gobert and Favors on picks and there was not a passing window to get the ball to Hayward and the play was busted. Hood then had to make a play and he got a look for a three.

• Jazz got the ball out of Curry’s hands on the pick-and-roll. He was scoreless in the second quarter. Then the pass went to Green in the middle and he would swing to the corner three. Ian Clark went 4-for-5 in the second quarter and Shaun Livingston hit his first of the year later on. If that’s what it takes for the Warriors to win their 19th straight then you tip the hat. These are the guys that you want to force to beat you, and if they do then the Warriors are too tough. Give them credit but realize at this point that the game plan worked. Clark and Livingston went 5-for-6 from 3-point range. If they go 3-for-6 the Jazz win—and that’s a lot more likely than what happened.

• The Jazz were able to dictate the pace for most of the game. The game was played around 95 possessions, which is less than the Warriors usual 100+, and the Jazz only allowed five Warriors fast-break points. The Jazz forced the Warriors to play to the back end of the shot clock a lot.

• A little surprised the Warriors had more offensive rebounds than the Jazz.

• Utah went to the Triple Wing with 8:40 left in the game down by 3 and used it all the way to close the game. One bad turnover by Burks, but for the most part the lineup continues to be very good.

• Derrick Favors was a beast—he’s terrific. 23 points and 10 rebounds tonight, but he was more than the Warriors could handle. We’re going to end up going to him more and more.

• Gordon Hayward was the best player on the floor for portions of the night with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. This is with Thompson and Iguodala defending, two of the best in the game.

• Strong night for Alec Burks as well.

• Tied at 101 after a Favors bucket, Curry hit an absurd crossover through the leg step-back three to put the Warriors up by three with 51 seconds left. He’s incredible. He also hit one over Favors to tie the game at 99. They were both 1-on-1 using his handle to make the play. Look at the defense from both Jazz players before the shots.
hood d on curryfavors contest

• Bottom line: The Jazz leave the arena tonight knowing they pushed the world champs to the final horn and played them step-for-step for 48 minutes. That’s a big deal. It took incredible plays by the MVP and shots from guys who don’t usually make them. The Warriors are terrific.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Wire to wire for Jazz over Pelicans

• Wire to wire win for the Jazz. They blew the lead up to 21 on two occasions and then every time the Pelicans made a run the Jazz made the plays they needed to make. Pelicans got it as close as 6 in the 4th quarter but the Jazz answered the bell.

• Last December 16th the Jazz lost to the Pelicans and fell to 6-19. Since then the Jazz are 40-32.

• The Jazz defense dominated the first half. Offensively they couldn’t get it rolling in the first half. Jazz shot 32% in the first quarter and then went 7 of 19 in the 2nd quarter. Despite they lead it by 9 at the half.

• Trevor Booker played for Derrick Favors who was excused for personal reasons. Booker has been really scuffling. Tonight he played with unabashed enthusiasm. He finished with 13 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. He brought an energy level that dictated the game from the start and caused the Pelicans huge problems.

• Jazz defense on Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson was terrific. Gordon finished 1 for 9 and Anderson was 1 for 7. These are the two weapons that feed off Davis and the Jazz didn’t allow them to get rolling tonight. The Jazz defense was brilliant at running guys off the three point line.

• Anthony Davis is incredible. He dropped 36 points, 11 rebounds, had 2 steals and 3 blocks. When Davis is off the floor the Pelicans are a mess. He played 44 minutes and the Pelicans were +1. They lost by 14.

• Alec Burks 4th quarter was a master piece. He went 7 of 8 shooting. He had 2 great assists one to Trey Burke for a three.

• The play of the night was the pass to Trey for the 3 but the behind the back pass to Rudy for reverse layup was terrific.

• The Pelicans got the game down to 8 and Quin called a time out and drew up a gorgeous 3 point shot for Hayward with 5:27 left and he nailed. Huge Play

• Omer Asik might have played the worst 8 minutes of nba basketball tonight I have seen. Pelicans were -16 in his 8 minutes.

• Rudy Gobert 12 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks. Another incredibly impactful day.

• Joe Ingles had 3 big three balls in the 2nd quarter.

• The game had 95 possessions tonight. The Jazz holding the Pelicans to 87 points in a 95 possession game is awesome defense.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Lots to be thankful for after Jazz win in L.A.

• Super performance. Ends the Clippers’ 13-game winning streak over the Jazz.

• David Aldridge of TNT tweeted out: “Utah’s defense is just outstanding.” It was tonight. The whole team was terrific.

• 5-5 on the road to start the season in this brutal start of 10 of the first 14 games is really impressive. Over the last two years, Quin’s teams has been surprisingly good on the road. The Jazz’s road performance has far exceeded their home performance the last two years.

• The Jazz starters were +5 in the first half, and then the Jazz starters broke the game open in the third quarter, taking the game from a tie at halftime to a 9-point lead midway through the third. Awesome night for the starters to be +19 in 18 minutes against one of the best starting units in the NBA. Our starters were 18-for-25 shooting when on the floor together.

• Neto had a brilliant third quarter. He had 10 points and four assists and outplayed Chris Paul. Paul is the generational point guard and for Neto as a rookie to go head to head with him and handle himself is a huge step for him. Talking to Neto after the game, it was impressive to me how grounded he was. He said: “I am still going to have bad games and I will have some good games.” His approach is really strong.

• Snyder had a big impact on this game. He changed the rotation to have Hayward start the second and the fourth quarters. He held Derrick out of the first half with two fouls so he could play freely in the second half. He spotted Ingles, Johnson, Lyles to get through stretches, and they were able to survive. He ran some nice 1/3 pick and rolls to get Gordon matched up with Paul. This gave Hayward an advantage and made Paul work on the back end of a back-to-back.

• Hayward was brilliant. He carried the team down the stretch. This was one of the five best games of his career. He has the big games v. OKC two years ago, New York and New Orleans last year, and a great game his rookie year v. Minnesota. I’m sure there are some others, but this one goes into the category of best games of his career. He was the best player on the floor in the fourth quarter.

• Hayward is well over 50% from three his last four games. He had 33 pts, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. He went 1-on-1 and hit the step-back. He nailed his first two threes. He aggressively went to the basket. He played with super confidence.

• Utah’s wing defense was good tonight. It eliminated Wesley Johnson and J.J. Redick. The Clippers didn’t hit a 3-pointer until the fourth quarter.

• All five Jazz starters were in double figures. Favors put out an incredible effort. He guarded an insanely hot Blake Griffin and then still notched 22 points and another 3 steals. His shooting on the free-throw line jump shot is terrific.

• Rudy Gobert put in another 38 minutes. 10 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He had a hard time early in the game catching and making offensive plays. When he starts doing that, it’s going to be terrific.

• The Jazz dominated the offensive glass. In the first half, they led second-chance points 17-1.

• The Clippers might be in real trouble. They have lost 8 of 11. They have been down by 15 or more in both of their last two home games. The Clippers’ bench is a disaster. Doc Rivers insists on playing a five-man bench unit, which allows him to play his 5 starters or lineups with four starters more than any other team in the NBA. The impact is a terrible bench unit on the floor. They are playing uninspired basketball.

• Alec Burks is now shooting below 40%. Trevor Booker is averaging 3 points a game and shooting below 30%. And Joe Ingles can’t find a rhythm. These are problems. The Jazz overcame it tonight, but these guys are really important to the well-being of this team.

• Chris Johnson has become a part of the rotation.

• The schedule was brutal to start the year. 10 of 14 on the road and games against a lot of really good teams. The Jazz are sitting at 7-7 with a 5-5 road record. The road wins include Indiana, Atlanta, Clippers and Denver. Those are tough places to win.

• Happy Thanksgiving and see you at the arena in the near future.


• My noggin is pretty empty after that one.

• This game really got away when Westbrook, Durant and Ibaka were off the floor in the second quarter and the Thunder took at three-point lead and turned it into 10 before their big three came back into the game. Then the stars went to work and blasted the Jazz into a 17-point halftime deficit, and then the same thing happened in the third quarter and continued the whitewash.

• The book is out. Hold, grab and be physical with the Jazz and see how they deal with it. Now these guys are going to have to learn.

• Remember at the beginning of the season we talked a lot about how many of these guys are in a new role. Three of Utah’s five starters are in a new role. The two guys that have played well the last two nights and handled the heat have been Favors and Hayward, and they have been through this before.

• Rudy is a first-year starting center in the NBA. This is a new experience. He has not dealt with some of the physical play well. He is not a physically imposing player. He is a rim-protecting shot blocker.

• Gordon has linked three straight good games.

• The Jazz got beat on a ton of backdoor cuts and baseline cuts by the Thunder.

• The speed of Westbrook and the Thunder was overwhelming.

• The Thunder are at a different place than the Jazz. They are on their final run to try to win a title and hopefully hold onto to Durant.

• Durant was terrific. 27 points on 13 shots. Westbrook had 20 points on 10 shots.

• Rodney Hood is going through this for the first time and has not been able to affect the game as he did earlier. He’s really struggling from three if a defender is anywhere near him. He is 9-for-41 if a defender is within four feet on a 3-point attempt.

• Hayward is not getting the same air space he got last year in the offense.

• The Jazz have dealt with bad stretches of basketball well this year until tonight, when they became unraveled in the second quarter.

• The schedule may be wearing this team down. They have yet to play back-to-back home games. This was their fourth home game. Every other team in the West has played at least six at this point. The Thunder have played 9.

• Trey Burke has regressed a bit the last few nights.

• Trevor Booker’s struggles continue.

• There is a huge difference between playing the first 30 games of a season and the last 30. It’s why the first 30 is always a much better playoff indicator than the last 30. Teams are prepared, they have game plans, they are engaged. It’s a different world right now than when the Jazz had success to close last season.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – The evil big D continues its dreadful ways

• Jazz just got beat up in the 2nd quarter. Mavericks got into the physically and the Jazz went dead for over 5 minutes offensively. The poor offense lead to the defense being put in tough situations and that 14-1 run was the difference

• Mavericks stretched it out to 20 with 6:00 left in the 3rd and then the Jazz started a strong rally but never got it inside 5 points.

• The Mavericks are legit. They are 9-4 and might be a top 5 in the West if not higher. They are all vets. They all understand how to win. They understand the ins and outs of an NBA season and how to address it. They are not trying to prove anything as all of them have established their value and been paid. They are playing the game to win and they are playing as a collective group.

• The word around the Mavericks is they are a really close group. They will be interesting to watch. Dirk has been great so far and it is hard to believe he can maintain that for the whole season but he is Dirk so you never know. Deron looked the best I have seen him in year. The only concern I have is about Wesley Mathews. He doesn’t look right. It is amazing he is playing but at this point he is going to hurt something else because he pushing too hard.

• Gordon and Derrick were the two guys who were able to handle the style and pressure of the Mavericks. Not surprising. They have been through this before and understood what they were encountering. They had failed at this before and learned how to get better. The rest of the group was knocked of their game.

• Dallas didn’t guard Raul Neto at all. So he took 7 shots in 15 minutes.

• Jazz started well. They won the 1st quarter. Lead by 6 at 32-26 before the whole fell in

• Bench spots 8 thru 10 are wide open. Burke and Burks have given the bench a punch but the rest of the group is scuffling.

• Only 14 assists again tonight. That is the first sign things aren’t going right

• Dallas gets the 4th most uncontested shots in the NBA but came into the game last in EFG% on those shots. Was true again tonight they were 13 of 41 on uncontested shots. If they start making these shots they could become really tough. Wesley was 0 for 7, Deron was 2 for 7 and Felton was 0 for 4. They aren’t great shooters but on uncontested looks they are better than that.

• Zaza Pachulia was a beast tonight. He does winning things and dirty things but they work. He is a grabber, a holder, an elbower and I kinda of love it. This is how you win.

• Gordon was really good – 22 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

• Mavericks only took 25 shots near the rim.

• Rodney Hood was 2 of 19 v. Dallas last year and until he made 4 shots in the 4th quarter was 1 for 8 to start the night tonight . He finished 5 of 14. He was 1 for 7 on uncontested looks. He needs to be more consistent on uncontested shots. It fluctuates too much night to night for the Jazz to be a consistent team.

• Alec Burks was 1 for 7 on uncontested shots

• Jazz tried to go small with Booker in foul trouble and it didn’t work very well. The mavs lead went from 3 to 11 in the 3 minutes the Jazz played small with Hayward at the 4.

• Mavericks are a veteran team that physically beat the Jazz up. Jazz have lost 10 straight and 24 of 27 in Dallas. The Jazz come back in Feb and it will be interesting to see if they are better prepared to handle it.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Comeback close game wins are sweet

• Really strong win for the Jazz. This was a hard game. The Raptors were very physical throughout the game and controlled the game from midway thru the 2nd quarter and into the beginning of the 4th quarter and the Jazz got tougher throughout the night to win it. This is the second straight late game win against a really good team. Remember the Jazz lost 18 games last year by 5 or less. Great growth

• First time the Jazz have won when trailing going into the 4th quarter at home since the 2013-14 season.

• Derrick Favors defensive plays when switching on Kyle Lowry changed the game. We talked about this last year but Favors is the first full sized big to be able to switch onto point guards. Draymond Green and Paul Millsap are able to do this for the Warriors and the Hawks but they are undersized. Favors is doing this a 6’10 265 and then he can make plays on the offensive end of the floor.

• Gordon Hayward had another bad third quarter and it felt like it this was going to add onto his offensive struggles but instead he nailed two huge three pointers in the 4th quarter. He finished the 4th quarter with 9 points on 3 of 5 shooting, add on an assist and a block and that is very strong outing. Very mentally strong.

• Gordon defense on DeRozan tonight was outstanding. Gordon has had great defensive games all season. He has made a big effort defensively this year and maybe made as big a defensive jump this year as he made an offensive jump last year.

• Jazz closed the final 4:25 with the Triple Wing it finished a +3 in that span. Great quote by Quin Snyder after the game about how with this line-up he can find a player “in a good spot” read with a good match-up.

• Jazz were +16 with Derrick Favors on the floor. He is having a tremendous year.

• Raul Neto played well in the 1st quarter. His defense had an impact on Lowry who never got a rhythm.

• Incredible out of bounds play by Quin Snyder for a Trey Burke three. Those matter in a one possession game.

• Alec Burks has been amazing late in game this year. Burks was 11 of 17 in the final 5 minutes of a close game this year and tonight he was 1 for 2.

• 27.4 seconds left – Jazz by 2 and inbounding. The ball came into Rodney and he got back to Ingles who inbounded. Favors got on the inside of DeMarre Carroll and Ingles found him sliding to the basket for a slam dunk. Gutsy play but put the Jazz up by 4 and gave them the game.

• Jazz trailed by 6 with 7 minutes left. Big time fight to come back.

• Jazz some more minutes from a 3rd big. Gobert is playing too many minutes and the 4th wing position is open for the taking right now.

• Strong win for the Jazz. Dallas is playing great, this will be a really interesting game and an important one since the Jazz and Mavericks only play 3 times this season.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz wrap up road trip with solid win in Atlanta

• Super win for the Jazz in Atlanta. That is not one you project to get when the season starts. Everything was different with Rudy and Rodney back on the floor. Lots of guys made big plays. A year ago Jazz were in the same situation at the same point of the season and collapsed. Tonight, they made just enough plays to win the game.

• Alec Burks is making terrific progress. He made numerous plays this whole trip that he didn’t make two weeks ago. Tonight, he had a touch pass to Trey for a three. Late in the game he brought the ball up and got trapped on a few plays and calmly reacted correctly by making the pass to Favors after brining the defenders with him. He was in control and read the situation correctly. One more than one of his drives he decided prior to catching the ball and was able to get to the rim with more alacrity and increases his finishing rate.

• Derrick Favors from the free throw for the biggest shot of the night. He also dominated Millsap in the post. On defense he got switched a ton of times and was able to control the situation. He is having a monster season. The free throw line jumper is vital for the teams success and he is taking it with confidence and making it with regularity. At some point teams will close and then he swings through and drives to the basket. In addition, his passing on the short role has been terrific. Favors skill development over the past two years is remarkable.

• The coaches made some nice adjustments at halftime. The Jazz were getting trapped on every pick and roll and then the Hawks would then jump the next pass forcing the only pass to be over the top of the defense which was leading to turnovers. 14 in the first half . In the second half they slipped the pick man so it made it harder for the Hawks to trap and the Jazz only had 6 turnovers in the entire half.

• Rudy Gobert makes a world of difference. He alters how every thing happens on the floor and he is getting better as a roll man when teams leave him. He made some plays around the basket tonight. First double double of the year for Rudy.

• Hawks ran a nice play to get Horford the corner 3 and then they got a great look to win it but Millsap just missed. The back pick came on Derrick and Rudy did the right thing to switch on millsap but somehow he got spun around and Millsap was wide open. Paul just missed and the Jazz win.

• Trey Burkes decision making was terrific in the first half of the game. He is having a great start to the season.

• Jazz went Triple Wing for the final 9 minutes of the game and it allowed them to switch everything defensively. Jazz switched 1-4 and that took away a lot of what the Hawks wanted to accomplish. The Jazz played the triple wing a combined 14 mimutes tonight. One interesting moment was when it forced Coach Bud to take Korver of the floor because he couldn’t hide him defensively with Hood, Burks and Hayward on the floor. Hood really took it to Korver.

• Korver only got free for 1 really good look three. Korver only got 3 attempts from 3.

• Jeff Teague not playing changed what the Hawks offense was able to do.

• Rodney Hood took 9 threes. I can’t emphasize how important this is for the Jazz. High volume three point shooters are still one of the most underrated aspects of the game. JJ Reddick, Wesley Mathews, etc are incredibly important to an offense.

• Gordon is off and the first half was a big a struggle for him as I have seen in a long time but going through my Hawks notes from last year both games against the Hawks last year were struggles as well. The Hawks are not going to let Gordon be a play maker.

• 5 minutes left Jazz were up 3. Jazz shot 5 for 9 with 1 turnover. Really solid late game play.

• Nice win. Coming out of this 10 game stretch 5-5 is solid. Nothing we have seen yet should concern Jazz fans about this team. They are continuing the process and are improving

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Gone in a hurry

• This one was over in a hurry. Favors checked out of the game with 2 fouls and the score was Magic 6-2. Jazz hadn’t started well not scoring on their first 7 possessions of the night but when Favors went out of the game it all fell apart. In a span of 150 seconds it was a 12 point game, in 5 minutes it was an 18 point game and by the end of the quarter it had been 20 and in reality was over.

• This was going to be a tough task for the Jazz without Rudy and Rodney tonight. The offense didn’t start well. The opening possessions were Favors turnover, Hayward missed layup, Favors missed 10 foot turnaround, Burks no from 20, turnover, Favors miss from 18 and Hayward turnover.

• Sometimes nights like this give opportunity and it did tonight for Jeff Withey. Withey was not in the rotation and even without Gobert on the floor was not getting minutes. Tonight he got 24 minutes scored 8 points and had 7 rebounds. Of course, he also had 2 block shots because that is what Jeff Withey does, he blocks shots.

• Derrick Favors never got back in the flow of the game. The 2 fouls zapped him of any rhythm. He ended up only playing 19 minutes

• The Jazz went on a 19-2 run that made it looked more respectable and was good for Neto and Lyles to get some run and look more comfortable, but it wasn’t impactful on the outcome of the game. Neto and Lyles have both been playing tight so it was a nice chance for them to get out and run and just play for a little while.

• Trevor Booker had 4 steals tonight and brought his usual activity. He is unfortunately really struggling around the rim. Tonight he finished 3 for 9. He has dug himself a little shooting percentage hole – 27.7% shooting. This is going to take a little time to climb back out of.

• A few guys have some numbers as we pass by 10% of the season that are tough to swallow. Gordon has slide under 40% shooting, Neto is at 29%, Booker is aforementioned, Lyles is at 27%

• Alec Burks just didn’t have his legs tonight. He finished 2 for 13.

• The Jazz were making the right pass early in the game and finding guys on the extra pass but they couldn’t knock down the shot. The focus has been on making the extra pass and they did it time and time again but they could get it to go.

• I like Orlando. Scott Skiles teams play defense. They may be better without Oladipo. He is a negative offensive player and by taking him out of the line-up they didn’t have a dual negative backcourt with Payton and Oladipo.

• Orlando has a lot of athletes and they clamp down on the middle of the floor. The Jazz would drive to the basket and nothing was there. Jazz shot 21 of 49 in the paint. The perimeter pressure was intense. They denied the wing pass but the Jazz couldn’t get backdoor. Skiles teams play defense.

• Orlando will be in the run for a playoff spot in the East. The East is going to be really interesting with 5 teams battling for 2 spots with Boston, Milwaukee, Orlando, New York and Indiana.

• The schedule maker and the injuries got the Jazz on this trip. Nothing that is going on should shatter your belief or change how you feel about this team.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz go another 48 but fall short

• Another close game loss. The humanity. Yes, it sucks to put all your emotion into the game and then fall a play here or there short. With that said nothing that has happened in either of these two games changes who the Jazz are, who we hope for them to become or even who they are right now. They are a good team. They just played 2 of the best Eastern Conference teams and went to the wire with each. I really believe Miami plays Cleveland for the Eastern Conference title this year.

• In one or two possessions losses there are always one or two possessions that you can circle and wonder if. My two are late in the third quarter. Trey Burke had a fast break lay up and he missed a finger roll and the Heat went the other way for a bucket. Then 70 seconds later Alec missed a layup and Tyler Johnson went the other way for a layup. Those two swings were big. Each of them is a 4 point swing. These plays in my mind are the difference but you can go find two of your own. It is 100 possession game there are so many to choose from.

• The Heat came into the game 3rd best defense and they showed it today. They are really good defensively. They take away the 3 better than anyone in the NBA and the Jazz didn’t get any threes until the 3rd quarter and then a few later but the three game was completely taken away by Miami. The Jazz were the #2 team in the NBA on the above the break 3 and Heat were #1 defending it. Heat won that battle.

• Derrick Favors was incredible. Simply incredible. He is an elite level player. His line tonight is absurd and he was every bit as good as his line. The roll game was incredible. 25 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steal, 7 blocks . This night has been accomplished 20 times since 1985 and 12 of those were by Hakeem Olajuwon. Anthony Davis is the only player to accomplish it since 2001 and only 7 total players have done it since 1985. Favors is growing before our eyes and he is a beast.

• On a night when you are missing a stud you need someone to step up. The Heat got it in Tyler Johnson. Johnson was 8 of 12 shooting and with the game on the line they went to him. On the flip side the guys who got increased opportunity with Rudy Gobert out didn’t give the Jazz a boost. Trey Lyles had a hard time with 10 time all-star Chris Bosh and Trevor Booker had a forgettable night with 0 pts, 3 rebounds and 6 fouls in 16 minutes.

• Jazz were -12 in the 8:15 Favors was off the floor tonight.

• Alec Burks game is evolving nicely. He is really quite the offensive force.

• Trey Burke is not making the shot off the pick and roll. He has missed 8 straight and Raul Neto has not made a shot off the pick and roll yet this season. This makes things hard to have neither point guard being able to get offense off the pick and roll.

• The Heat isolated Joe Ingles on the defensive in a way I haven’t seen anyone do. It felt like whoever had the ball and was being guarded by Ingles just went at him.

• Chris Bosh is the most underrated player in the game. He was one of the top 10 players in the NBA when he was in Toronto and he changed his game to play with Wade and LeBron. Then last year he was back to 21 points a game before the blood clot. He does so many things on the offensive side of the ball. He is a good defender. He moves the ball. He is a dream player in this day and age of space and pace. He is a 10 time all-star and underrated. Chew on that.

• Gordon didn’t get it done in the 4th quarter. He was 2 for 9 and one of the two was a put back that didn’t have a lot of relevance. He was incredible up to that point. He dominated the first quarter. In the 2nd half it felt like Miami completely committed to taking him out of the game and making it impossible to get looks and they were able to do that.

• Strong performance. The Jazz are in these games for 48. Each time they will get a little bit better and learn a little more about the value of possessions throughout the game.