EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• The last non-call was terrible. That is a foul. JT Orr pointed at his foot to say Hood kicked out. Hood only kicked out because PJ Tucker nailed the right side of his body and that moved his left foot forward. It was a brutal mistake and I am certain the league will announce it tomorrow.
• A bunch of things more important than the final play happened tonight. Most importantly, Gordon Hayward took over the game late and brought the Jazz back. Hayward went 4 of 5 in the final part of the 4th quarter and had 12 4th quarter points. The Jazz are going to have to find a go to guy who can score late in games and it has to be someone with the ball in their hands. It is too hard in the NBA to get the ball into the post and it is too easy for the team to force the ball out of the post. If the Jazz are going to beat really good teams someone is going to have to step up and make those plays and tonight Gordon showed huge progress in that area
• Dante Exum was more aggressive again tonight in a tough match-up against a bulldog defender in Eric Bledsoe. He went to the basket early. He hit a pull up jumper from 9 feet out that was sweet. Another time he fooled me with a little flip shot in the lane that I thought was going to be a pass to Gobert.
• Rodney Hood again showed an NBA game. There is a huge difference between NBA skill and a NBA game. One of the signs that a player belongs is when he plays a controlled game. At times it looks slow to Rodney. Even better is when you as the ball handler can dictate the speed of the game. Hood seems to have everyone around him off balance and therefore he is controlling the speed of the play. This is big. He has already figured out how he is going to score in this league. He has the three point game. He has an in between game and he has the hercky jerky in the lane game. He is not going to the line at all. So the next step is figuring how to draw contact and get free throw attempts. He also needs to foul less and more intelligently.
• Joe Ingles is on fire from 3. 2 for 3 tonight He is 8 of his last 12 from 3.
• The real lesson on tonight is how much more the Jazz need to improve to be really good. Little plays that cost you close games were all over the place. Exum not controlling a rebound. Pick through the 18 turnovers, Rudy and Derrick with 9 of them. Not very good execution on the final play. Numerous other possessions that could have swung the game the other way. Those are the plays that will change the franchise in the next few years.
• Jazz bench tonight was Trevor Booker, Joe Ingles, a 27 year old rookie who had been released by numerous camps prior to coming to the Jazz, and 3 D-League players.
• PJ Tucker is tough. Favors was posting him a lot on the night and couldn’t take advantage of him. Favors finished 4 of 15 from the field.
• Each half mirrored each other. Jazz went on runs in the 1st and 3rd and completely shut down the Suns offense. Then in the 2nd and the 4th the Jazz had a hard time getting stops and fell behind.
• Trey Burke was missed tonight
• Little victories tonight are more important than the blown call and the mysterious late game replays. That is still what this season is about and there were lots of good things tonight.
EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
- Disappointing loss tonight. Even without Hayward and Hood for most of the night the Jazz at home should beat a short handed Wolves team. The jazz had control of the game with a nice 4th quarter surge but allowed the Wolves to score 11 points in their final 4 possessions of the 4thquarter and that sent the game to overtime.
- In close games this year the Jazz have relied on Gordon Hayward to handle the ball in late game situations and when Gordon couldn’t play v. New York they turned it over to Rodney Hood. Neither were available tonight and it was really evident.
- If the Jazz make 1 of the 4 defensive stops they needed late in the game, if the Jazz made some of the free throws they missed early in the game, if the Jazz didn’t allow 36 4thquarter points, if the Jazz didn’t turn it over 18 times tonight we are not talking about Trey Burke.
- However, they didn’t and Trey Burke went 4 for 22 on a night when the Jazz desperately needed Trey to deliver. I said on the broadcast I don’t care if Trey shots 20 shots tonight no one else is willing to shoot it and he is going to have to fire. Had he made 5 the Jazz win.
- Trey does need to find a way to avoid these brutal shooting nights. I discussed this earlier this year. Too often he has terrible shooting nights. 26 out of 70 games this year (37% of games) he has shot 33% or less. In 18 of 70 games this year he has been at 25% of less (26% of games)
- Without Hayward, Joe Ingles and Trey Burke were the primary ball handlers and they combined for 11 turnovers.
- The Wolves double teamed Favors in the post and forced the ball out of his hand. The Wolves were guarding him with Budinger for a large part of the night and he is much smaller but with a double coming all the time the Jazz were unable to take advantage of mismatch. With the lack of shooting from many of the Jazz players they were unable to victimize the doubles. Ingles did a nice job early in making them pay.
- Rodney Hood left with Gastointestinal distress. I don’t know if this is related but last year at Duke he had issue with getting sick before games and in the Clemson game got sick and then came back to hit the game winning shot. I believe this is not the first time this year for him to experience this but it is the first time he missed time.
- Trey did a nice job defensively the time he was switched onto Wiggins battling him in the post and denying the ball
- Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine have sick skills and were both terrific. The athleticism is amazing and as they learn the game they will be really good. If Kevin Love leaves Cleveland after 1 season it may go down as the worst trade in NBA history. Cleveland will have traded one year of Love for a 14 time all-star
- Elijah was more aggressive driving to the basket tonight. He made some nice plays and drew some fouls. He is struggling to finish at the rim.
- Gobert had 18 points, 17 rebounds (11 on the offensive) and 6 blocks.
- The Sean Kilpatrick story is pretty special. Painful when he is not on your side but the idea that he got an NBA contract because he was close enough to an arena in an emergency and then in that contract gets a chance to play because Kevin Martin decided he was uninterested in playing and then he hits 3 three pointers and scores the first 13 points of his NBA career. Pretty cool.
Gordon Hayward is really important. Sure glad the Jazz matched that contract.