Nothing about this game changes anything about how you feel about the Jazz and what is going on with this team. The Wizards are really good and the Jazz struggled the whole night and still had a chance to win the game or at least take the lead in the final seconds.
This was a tough night and the Jazz fought the whole night. Things were never easy. Washington matched up well against the Jazz. The offense wasn’t flowing. The shots weren’t dropping. With all of that the Jazz stayed in the game for the full 48 minutes against a very good team.
The Wizards starting 5 is one of the best 5 man line-ups in the NBA. It has everything, veterans, floor spacers and big bigs down low. The front court of Nene and Gorat is the first big time dual front court the Jazz have faced since the all-star break and it was a hard match-up for Favors and Gobert.
Nene is a terrific player. He is always in the right place. He impacts plays with fundamental defense and Gortat is a beast. He is one of the most physical players in the game. They didn’t allow Gobert and Favors to have easy rebounds on the offensive end or free plays to the basket. Yet, both had 5 offensive rebounds. The Wizards are the #3 defensive rebounding team in the NBA and the Jazz still got 14 of 49 misses. The Jazz were able to grabbed boards against both the Hornets, #1 in the NBA and the Wizards, #3 in the NBA.
The jazz offense couldn’t get a flow tonight. The Wizards jammed the wing passes and overplayed the offense and the Jazz had a hard time countering. Instead, the Jazz got stuck on one side of the floor for most of the night.
The Jazz rookie guards, Exum and Hood, had a hard time with Wall and Beal and their defensive impact. Wall got into Exum and knocked him off his game. Exum is much more comfortable with his right hand then his left and Wall used that to cause Exum some real problems. As the night went on Hood got more comfortable.
Rodney Hood had a great play where he got into the lane maintained his dribble, held his ground, basically came to a stop for a few bounces and then held the defender on his hip and took the shot. It is a Harden play. It takes great skill and strength and Hood pulled it off. Hayward did it later in the game as well.
Joe Ingles in bound pass to Gordon Hayward for a dunk was a busted play. They top blocked Hayward who was supposed to come to the ball and Ingles and Hayward reacted perfectly and pulled off an incredible play at the rim. The pass was great.
Hayward continues to drive into spaces that don’t seem to exist. Tonight the Wizards collapsed on him with regularity showing him three bodies at a time and he was still relentless to the basket. He finished with 26 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. This is becoming commonplace since Feb 1st.
John Wall is big time. He is the 2nd best player in the Eastern Conference. He is on top of his game right now. He is hitting the mid-range jumper at a rate he never has in his career and it makes him virtually unstoppable. This is what great nba players do, they develop. Wall hit 31% from mid range his first year, 33% his 2nd year and now has it up to 41% and recently has been over 50%. When he can hit his mid range jumper it is over. His fast break game is so unreal and then if he can hit the J he becomes a playoff game winning star.
Great to see Trey get his stroke back. 14 points and 6 assists. Strong night under tough circumstances.
Washington could be the 3rd seed in the East. This is a good basketball team. The Jazz were not sharp on the offensive end and the Wizards came in on fire offensively and were able to shoot 52.4%. At the same time the Jazz were not shooting well, they missed 12 free throws in 24 attempts and at the end of the night still had a chance to make a play to win it. This is an impressive performance. Washington is very good and tests the Jazz in every way. Test was passed in most areas.
Unreal. Part of me thinks this should stop after unreal and not post another work. Unreal. This team is just continuing to do things that we could never imagine. Tonight it was absurd hot shooting. The Jazz set a franchise record for 3’s in a quarter and a half and tied the franchise record with 15 in a game.
Maybe the most impressive part of the game was the Jazz hit 15 threes and never broke out of how they play the game. They never screwed with the game, never dropped their guard and let Charlotte get back in the game. That takes a level of mental toughness and respect for the game that very few teams are able to achieve.
The Jazz defense never blinked. Hornets had no chance of establishing the inside game of Al Jefferson and anything else they hoped to get started never materialized. They shot 29.5%, only hit 5 of 19 from 3 and scored the 2nd fewest points of any team in the NBA, 66. What the Jazz are doing to people is crazy. It is historic in fact.
For 16 games, some before the all-star break and the Kanter trade the Jazz are winning games by an average of 8.7 pts per game but the defense is the historic part. The Jazz are holding opponents to 39% shooting, 31% from three and 84 points per game. This is only for 16 games. But 16 games is 20% of an NBA season. 20% is beginning to be a very real sample size. The Jazz defensive rating over the last 16 games is 91.6.
The 1989-99 Spurs team with Robinson and Duncan is thought of as the best defensive team of all time with a defensive efficiency of 92.1. They surpassed that in 03-04 with a 91.6. The Jazz are playing Duncan/Robinson defense and have been for 16 games.
It’s only 13 games but since the all-star game the Jazz defensive rating is 89.7.
Over the past 37 years only 3 teams have won a championship with a defense ranking outside the top 10 in defensive efficiency and the Jazz are going to be a top 10 defensive team for the foreseeable future. I am not telling you a championship is arriving next year, but the foundation of a championship team has to be build with a top 10 defense and that part of the project is over.
Stretch it further out. The Jazz are 24-17 in their last 41 games. That is half a season. In that time the Jazz offense is 15th and the Jazz defense is 3rd and 5th overall in efficiency.
The coolest thing going on right now is Dante Exum and Rodney Hood playing as well as they are right now. Hood has a new career high in 3 of his last 4 games. Over the last 5 games Dante is averaging over 10 points a game and has hit on 13 of his last 25 from 3.
The player development that is taking place in this organization is mind boggling.
Today at shootaround one of the main focusses was better passes into players shooting pockets.
Be happy Jazz fans. Season tickets are flying out of the building. You want to be a part of this. Find a way to get as close to this as you can because what is taking place here is truly remarkable.
Close game, late game wins are important for this team. Jazz came into to tonight’s game at 10-16 in games decided by 6 or less. They are the 2nd lowest FG% and 2ndlowest 3pt% team in the final 5 minutes of a game within 5 points. To have success in those circumstances are important for the Jazz.
Playing Exum, Hood, Hayward, Favors and Gobert for most of the final 5 minutes the Jazz had 7 point lead until Jackson hit a prayer of a 3 point ball. Then the Jazz committed back to back turnovers and the game was down to 2 with 3:48 left. Hayward hit a shot, Favors missed and the game was 2 points with 2:36 left. Favors split two free throws and then the Jazz got clutch. Rodney Hood it a 10 foot pull up on the left side, Hayward missed a 9 foot drive but came back with a dunk off a Gobert pass on a backdoor cut and then Trey entered for the key offensive possession and in a 1 point game hit a runner on the left side of the floor to put the Jazz up 3.
Jazz shot 4 of 6 in the final 5 minutes and scored on 5 of 9 possessions. Huge growth.
Derrick Favors has been an unreal beast in the 4th quarters since the all-star break. Tonight he scored 11 points in the 4th. Second most of his NBA Career. He is posting up with authority. He is posting up quicker in a possession. He has a control of where is shot is going to come from. He has added a legitimate enough mid range jumper that it has to be respected. He was 3 of 5 in the 4th quarter tonight and is now 25 of 39 in the 4th quarter since the all-star break.
Dante Exum played 32 minutes tonight and has now played 128 minutes in the last 4 games. He finished with 8 points, 2 rebounds and 5 assists. He hit 2 three’s, had a huge floater in the lane and made the play of the night sprinting the length of the floor for a ball in back court catching it and finding Rodney Hood for the lay-up. His speed was incredible on the play.
Rudy Gobert hit Gordon Hayward on a back cut dunk with :37 seconds left on a busted play that put the Jazz up 3 that was awesome. Gobert got the ball on the left sideline with 8 on the shot clock and looked to be in trouble and Hayward back cutted to the basket and got a gorgeous pass from Rudy and finished with a dunk.
Ho Humm Rudy did it again. 10 points, 19 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks. This is absurd but he is doing it every night.
The Pistons shot 16 of 40 in the paint. The Pistons take 53% of their shots in the paint and tonight the paint was closed.
This game was played in sludge. The game had 10 fast break points. Their were very few fast break opportunities. This game had about 88 possessions tonight. Super slow.
Jazz committed 17 turnovers tonight which is a ton when you realize how few possessions there were. The Pistons were physical and got into the Jazz bodies and disrupted what they wanted to do. They played the exact same way Boston and LA did on the pick and roll and it caused the Jazz some real issues.
This team is still learning how to win. These wins are a big deal. The streak and the momentum this team is on is terrific. There are still lots of tweaks and steps that need to take place for this team to keep growing and the Pistons exposed a lot of them but the end result was huge growth winning a close game
Wow. Quin Snyder said before the game this was a barometer test for the Jazz. If this was a barometer …
I can get really crazy with optimism right now. Is this team next year’s Hawks team? If they really are a top-3 defensive team, then where can they go? If Quin has turned this team into a top-15 offensive team, what can he do with a team that could actually shoot the ball? Is this a playoff team next year? Is this a team that could host a playoff game sometime soon?
Jazz started Exum, Hood, Hayward, Favors and Gobert started tonight. This could be the starting line-up for a long time. Now you find the puzzle pieces that go with those 5. It is not perfect but it has a lot of aspects of a great starting line-up. It is crazy long. Defensively all 5 players are going to be above average defensively. Favors can switch allowing the Jazz to switch 1-4. Favors and Gobert are athletic enough to shadow ball handlers off the pick and roll. It has two shooters with Hood and Hayward (Exum will be a really good spot up shooter as well). It has three pick and roll ball handlers who can drive and pass. It has left handed and right handed pick and roll players who can come from both sides of the floor. It has 5 willing passers. Favors can stretch just far enough that they can create spacing. This is a super line-up. This is the future.
The Rockets offense is predicated on the drive to the basket to create the kick out for the corner 3 and Rudy and Favors eliminated the drive to the basket. With 9 minutes left the Rockets were 17 of 31 shooting in the paint and 7 of 25 from 3. The jazz had taken the Rockets completely out of their game.
Rudy was amazing. He had 18 rebounds in the first half. He is the 5thplayerdo that in the first half of game since 1980. The Jazz completely dominated the offensive glass and Gobert had 12 offensive rebounds. The jazz ended with 17 offensive rebounds.
Rudy had 19 points and 22 rebounds. I am not sure what to say about him. He is an unreal athlete. He plays with amazing fire. He wants to be the best who has ever played the game. He is a franchise changing player. He will be a dominating defensive force in this league as long as he stays healthy and the Jazz will be a top 5 defensive team for as long as they have Rudy.
All 5 Jazz starters scored in double figures.
The defensive plan on Harden was awesome. Harden scored 2 field goals in the 1st quarter and then got his next field goal with 7:30 left in the 4th quarter. He finished 3 of 13. He never had a rhythm. He couldn’t get to the rim with Favors and Gobert.
The Jazz held the Rockets to 22% from 3 tonight, 7 of 32. They are holding teams since the all-star break to 29%. Seems unlikely that this is sustainable. This will have to come back near the norm.
This whole thing and not a mention of Gordon Hayward 29 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists. That is absurd. Harden who? 29 !!!. Quin said it today. Hayward is a warrior. His leadership is showing on nights like this as well. He was not right and he battled.
Rodney Hood got the start tonight and brought 3 of 8 from three. Players who shoot a ton of threes are undervalued in this league. That is what Rodney Hood can be in this league. He can bomb and still have enough other skills to get to the rim.
Jazz started on a 7-0 run and led it 22-10 and never looked back. A wire-to-wire job by the Jazz.
Ugly is the new beautiful. This one was not for the faint of heart, but it’s a win and the Jazz have now won 3 straight, 6 of 7, and 10 of their last 13.
Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert were the two best players on the floor tonight. Favors dominated the game early with 20 points in the first half and finished with his second-highest point total of his career with 29 points. Plus he added 12 rebounds.
Rudy had his impact again—10 points and 14 rebounds to go with 3 steals and 4 blocks. Gobert played 38 minutes.
The Jazz really struggle offensively without Gordon Hayward and tonight was no different.
Two 50-50 plays changed the game tonight. the Jazz were up 80-77 when a loose ball rebound was batted around, and after an extended battle, Gobert cleared the rebound. Favors scored on the next possessions and Rodney Hood followed, and the Jazz were up seven instead of the Knicks with the ball in a three-point game.
Then it got nervous. Hood missed with 1:00 left and the Knicks had the ball within five points, but Danté Exum stole the ball from behind and the Jazz maintained possession and control of the game.
Hood did a lot of the ball-handling tonight late with Hayward not playing.
Joe Ingles scored seven straight points in the key portion of the fourth quarter to help the Jazz to the lead they never relinquished.
Trey Burke was as off as I’ve seen him in a long time. This is not good. Quin rewarded Trey with a starting spot with Gordon out and he didn’t take the challenge. Instead, he was out of sorts and shot 1-for-11 and just 3-for-6 from the line. Everything was off the front rim.
Trey has to stop having nights like this. Trey has had 20 games where he’s shot 30% or less (32% of his games) and 15 games where he has shot 25% or less (24% of his games). You can’t have games like this every third of fourth time out.
Knicks are very poor. Thursday against Houston will be great.