Summary: The Jazz started slow but surged ahead of Bucks in a game that was never close. The Jazz had every chess move to answer the Bucks in a blowout win, 109-95.
- The last time the Jazz and the Bucks played, the Jazz shot 19 corner threes. Tonight, the Bucks altered their defensive approach to take away the corner three. As a result, the Jazz waltzed down the middle of the lane for dunk after dunk after dunk — 11 in total thru the first three quarters. The Bucks were covering the corner three shooters and the Jazz had the answer to whatever the Bucks threw at them.
- The Jazz changed the rotation tonight and played Joe Johnson exclusively at the 4. Joe Johnson checked in for Favors as the first sub. In the next 14 possessions, the Jazz scored 26 points. The floor spacing and the offensive versatility with Gobert at the 5 and Johnson at the 4 is incredible. Going into the game, the Jazz were averaging 125 pts per 100 possessions with this lineup. Tonight, it wasn’t as good over the whole night, but this is a key lineup for the Jazz moving forward.
- Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward continue to be unbelievably reliable, night-in and night-out stars. Gobert dominated the inside of the game defensively and offensively. He got great seal position on numerous possessions and scored at the rim. What he did to Monroe and others at the rim all night was remarkable. Hayward was unstoppable offensively, scoring of 11 of 17 shots and finishing with 29 points.
- There were so many good performances tonight. The rotation felt very solid with nine players playing, with the 10th man providing 10 minutes or so to prevent anyone from playing too many minutes. Ingles played behind Hood, sliding between the 2 and the 3 and Burks played when Hayward was on the bench for most of the night. Favors slid to the 5 for some minutes with Joe Johnson. The rotation looked good because everyone played well and the Jazz controlled the game.
- Over the break, I did a bunch of research on players coming off ACL injuries and they all played noticeably better post the All-Star break. Dante Exum’s first game after the All-Star break was solid: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal in 16 minutes. He still has a ton to learn, but he looks much more a part of what is taking place.
- Joe Ingles had 7 rebounds and 5 assists and was +15 in 26 minutes.
- Derrick Favors had a great game: 26 minutes and 19 points. He was a force tonight both offensively and defensively. I have said this all year — the key for the Jazz is going to be how they play defensively with Rudy Gobert off the floor and Derrick on. Coming into the game, in 500 minutes the Jazz’s offensive rating was 107 and defensive rating was 109 with Favors on and Gobert off. If the Jazz can start defending with this lineup, there are big things ahead.
- The Jazz won their sixth straight game against the Bucks.
- The Jazz’s offensive rating tonight was a 120, which is their eighth best offensive performance of the season. The defensive rating was a 105, which is a notch above league average but the Bucks are the tenth best offense in the NBA.
- Everyone should be mentioned as the entire team played terrific basketball for the final 44 minutes of the game, and the Bucks never made any run at all.
Summary: The Jazz broke a three-game losing streak heading into the All-Star break with a blowout win over the Portland Trail Blazers, 111-88.
- The Jazz’s defensive plan on Lillard and CJ was terrific. They played a bit more aggressively with the big man on the ball handler and it stymied the Blazers’ flow. Lillard went 3 for 19 and CJ went 8 for 19.
- George Hill was incredible defensively tonight, denying passes, making Lillard and CJ work and then forcing them exactly where the Jazz wanted defensively. This was a great leadership night for Hill as this team needed a good defensive game.
- The Jazz’s offense struggled early, scoring just 18 in the first quarter and 22 in the second quarter. The Jazz hit on only 3 of 17 shots outside of the paint in the first half of the game. In the second half, the Jazz started to make shots you would expect them to make and ran away from Portland.
- The Jazz went 8 of 10 from three in the second half to finish 11 of 22 from three against the Blazers who are the 28th ranked team in the NBA defending the three-point shot.
- Dante Exum had a really exciting game for himself and the fans. The burst that made him the fifth pick and the draft was there, and he was — for the most part — in control around the basket, not throwing wild shots at the rim. Dante is going through a nearly impossible task of figuring out who he is in the league and rehabbing from the ACL at the same time. He looks more and more healthy by the game and as that worry subsides, he will be able to discover how he can be a valuable NBA player. Right now, it is with his aggressiveness to the basket. He is a poor shooter (29% on all jump shots) but he has a gift with his length and his burst of speed.
- In the first half, Gordon Hayward was 2 for 9, George Hill was 3 for 8 and the Jazz still led by three points. They got rolling in the second half: Hayward hit 6 of 9 and Hill hit on 4 of 7, and the Jazz exploded for a 71 point second half.
- Joe Johnson has been on fire from three – 20 of his last 36.
- Derrick Favors’ 25 minutes were really good tonight. He only scored 2 points and had 6 rebounds, but he was good defensively tonight in his roll with helping on the guard play.
- Joe Ingles got free for three, hitting on 4 of 6. He has not been given that air space recently.
- Gordon Hayward capped off an awesome first half of the season with 22 points 6 rebounds 7 assists.
- This is a nice, must-needed win. Portland is awful defensively and the Jazz took advantage. The Jazz go to an impressive 26-7 against below .500 teams.
Summary: The Jazz get blown out by the Clippers, 88-72, trailing by as many as 29 late in the third quarter and offensively struggling the entire game.
- The Clippers came into this game physically imposing their will on the Jazz. Thurl Bailey mentioned early in the game that it was chippy. The Clippers came in tonight with the objective of establishing a dominance over the Jazz in case they met in the playoffs and they did exactly that to the Jazz.
- The Jazz’s offense never got rolling. They scored 19 points in the first quarter and then went 12 of 41 shooting combined in the second and third quarters. The Jazz did the same versus Boston, hitting on 12 of 44 shots.
- Gordon Hayward was 2 for 12 and George Hill was 2 for 11.
- This is a great win for the Clippers. They are 2-0 in the season series versus the Jazz. They just went 3-2 on the road trip without Chris Paul, though I still don’t believe Blake Griffin and Chris Paul complement each other.
- The Jazz have lost at home to Memphis, Oklahoma City and the Clippers this month, all of whom were behind Utah in the playoff picture at the time. Those are games you would like to win at home.
- There is not a lot of analysis that goes into this game. The Clippers took it to the Jazz, and as the Jazz’s offense got worse and worse, their defense got a bit softer. Playing defense when you aren’t making any shots is a nearly impossible thing to do in the NBA.
- Boris Diaw got the first run at power forward tonight instead of Trey Lyles. Lyles came in the second half when the game was virtually over and went 0 for 9 in 13 minutes.
The All-Star break can’t come soon enough for this group. They need to re-establish who they are, get a clear picture of everyone’s roles and get ready for a final push for playoff position.
Summary: The Boston Celtics continue to be a terrible match up for the Jazz and blew the Jazz out from the start.
- This is the first paragraph I wrote after the first game with the Celtics in Boston: “The Jazz found no answer for Boston’s offensive system all night. Boston plays a 5-out offense where all 5 players are playing outside the paint. A player will cut through the lane but then never stop in the paint and the offense continues with 5 out and the lane wide open. This sent the Jazz for loops we haven’t seen all year. Boston was able to get dribble penetration into the paint and the when the Jazz’s defense shifted into the lane to help they ended up in a complete scramble. The Jazz are the second best team at not allowing three-point shots to be taken by the opponents allowing just 26.8% of opponents’ shots to be threes. Tonight, Boston took over 40% of their shots as threes. The Jazz couldn’t control the ball and once that happened it was over and Boston was bombing away and making shots.”
- This is the same story tonight. The Jazz’s defensive system is built on working as a collective unit and driving the ball handler off the three-point laie and into the defensive presence in the middle (Rudy Gobert). The Celtics big can all shoot so they set the pick and pop out to the three-point line and then Gobert or our other big has to go with the shooter and the Jazz’s defensive system doesn’t work to the same effectiveness. The Celtics are so set to playing 5-out that they even ran a double stagger pick, where the ball handler runs off two picks and both of them popped. The traditional way everyone runs that is one big rolls to the basket and the other pops to the three-point line, but the Celtics popped both bigs.
- Isaiah Thomas killed the Jazz in transition tonight. He went 4 for 5 in transition with three 3-pointers. These were just poor defensive plays by the Jazz. The Jazz’s big was supposed to come up on the first two and prevent him from taking the three. The big did a great job of getting back in transition, but they didn’t come all the way out to prevent the shot. That is a tough assignment but that is what great players make you do. The third three was a case of a guard simply not picking him up above the three-point line which is totally inexplicable.
- The Jazz didn’t have the ball movement on offense they have had the last few games and the Celtics eliminated Rudy Gobert on the roll. I am not sure if this was entirely the Celtics doing or if the Jazz lost their collectiveness on the offensive end.
- The Jazz missed a ton of open looks and the Celtics hit everything. It is hard to say if this was the Jazz showing no resistance defensively and so the Celtics were in rhythm and the Jazz were being speed up by the Celtics and therefore what looked like open looks actually didn’t feel as good to the players as they looked to us.
- Gordon Hayward had a really strong night for the Jazz on both ends of the floor.
- The Jazz never led tonight.
- The Celtics were without Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder but got unreal performance from Gerald Green who was 7 of 8 from the field and James Young who was 4 of 7. These guys are not regular rotation players and they played with great freedom.
- Missing good looks tonight can’t be underestimated. Dante Exum got a wide open three and he missed it and he is now 8 of 41 on corner threes and Alec Burks had a wide open three from the top and he missed, and he is now 4 of 17 from the above the break three. These were huge shots in the Celtics’ second quarter run.
- The Jazz missed Rodney Hood tonight because the Celtics can hide Isaiah Thomas on Joe Ingles defensive and the Jazz couldn’t take advantage.
- Dante Exum’s four shots in five minutes and Lyles 11 shots in 22 minutes. Let’s keep an eye on their usage rates.
- The next two games before the break are big for the Jazz.
Summary: The Jazz played beyond perfection offensively to take a 21-point lead in the second half, but blew it and fell to the Mavericks in overtime.
- This is a tough one to swallow — up by 21 with 6:00 minutes left in the third quarter. Up by four points with :20 left. Up two with :17 seconds left and the ball. These are scenarios where you are supposed to win the game. Tonight, the Jazz didn’t. Give Dallas a lot of credit for staying engaged in the game despite the Jazz’s performance early and the Mavs were able to pull out their 10th win in 15 games.
- So many things went wrong late. Rudy Gobert committed his sixth foul with :20 left up four points when trying to deny Dirk the inbounds pass. Why Gobert was playing that aggressively at that moment with five fouls is unclear. The foul on Rudy was called before the inbounds pass, so the Mavericks got a tech free throw and the ball. Dirk missed the free throw, but the Mavericks scored on the inbound in less than a second on a Barnes dunk. Then, the Mavericks doubled Hayward so he couldn’t get the inbound. The Jazz didn’t have a point guard on the floor since George Hill didn’t play and it went to Burks who lost the ball when Harris knocked it off of Alec and out of bounds.
- The Jazz were up just two points and Gobert had fouled out of the game. The Maverick’s missed their next attempt but without the rebounding of Gobert, the ball fell out to Dirk who was at the left elbow and he nailed the shot to tie the game. Hayward missed his chance to win the game and off to overtime the Jazz went.
- Overtime without Hill, Hood and Gobert on the back end of a back-to-back having lost a 21-point lead went pretty much exactly as you would anticipate.
- The Mavericks got rolling against the Jazz by forcing the Jazz into switches and bringing their little guards out on the floor against a Jazz big and with a stretched floor driving to the basket and scoring. Curry had two huge baskets late when he was guarded by Gobert on the switch and got by him for layups.
- The Mavericks went on a 30-12 run to get back in the game.
- The Mavericks led the game by five points — 30-25 — in the second quarter and the Jazz went to Joe Johnson with Rudy Gobert. Amazingly, the Jazz scored 27 points on the next 12 possessions. That is truly incredible.
- The Jazz continued that incredible offense into the third quarter to take the 21-point lead. At one point, the Jazz threw three straight lobs to the rim. They were having a blast and rolling. Then they lost momentum and could never got it back
- Quin tried lineup after lineup tonight. Without Hill, the Jazz tried playing Alec and then went with Ingles and Hayward with Joe Johnson. Dante Exum didn’t fare well in his start and had a brutal sequence where he allowed Justin Anderson through the lane on a free throw for a dunk follow and then wasn’t paying attention on the inbound and Yogi Farrell stole it from him on his first bounce as Dante looked away. Shelvin never got in a rhythm either, going 1 for 4 but he did have seven assists.
- Hayward had 36 points — his season high.
When the Jazz got hot, Joe Ingles was a large part of it with four made 3s.
Summary: On the second night of the road trip, the Jazz were equally as dominant as they were in the first game of the trip, completely overpowering the New Orleans Pelicans en route to a 33-point road win, 127-94.
- Wow! The Jazz have been crazy good the last two games. The offense is just insane right now. The Jazz have scored 247 points in eight quarters against the 4th and 8th ranked defensive teams in the NBA. The Jazz are passing, moving, executing and getting good look after good look.
- These performances have to make you begin to wonder how good the Jazz are or can be. They are 19-4 when George and Gordon play. They have won almost half of those games by 10 or more points. They are putting out lineups in every moment that are solid and are throwing 48 minutes of high caliber basketball at opponents.
- The Jazz are scoring in every way imaginable: They are scoring out of sets; They are scoring out of reads; They are scoring in the opening floor off the push; They are scoring when a player breaks the offense and beats his man.
- Gordon Hayward and George Hill are breaking the offense at times and beating their man for shots at the rim. These are really important plays because teams are guarding our sets tightly, and when George or Gordon can just beat their man, the lane is open because all other defenders are attached to the man they are guarding.
- Dante Exum and Alec Burks combined for a bench backcourt that added a spice and tempo to the Jazz’s offense. They both pushed and ran off misses and got the Jazz early opportunities.
- Dante Exum had a really solid game tonight. He had seven first quarter points and then added another four points to finish with 11 points, three rebounds and a team-high five assists.
- All-Star Anthony Davis was a non-factor, as was the entire Pelicans roster. Davis finished 4 of 12 from the field and had 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Jazz started Derrick Favors on him and then Rudy Gobert switched over to him for a lot of the night. Davis was never engaged and never a factor.
- The Pelicans’ last lead was 4-3. The Jazz led by seven points after the first quarter and nine points at the half. In the first half, the Pelicans shot an unreal 17 of 21 in paint. This was not sustainable as the Jazz are the number one defensive team in the paint this season and the Pelicans are the 26th at scoring in the paint. In the second half, they were 6 of 14.
- Joe Johnson was brilliant tonight. He has been really great in three of the last four games. When he is playing the 4, he is an offensive force that people don’t have an answer for. Before this two-game stretch, the Jazz’s offense was scoring 121 points per 100 possessions with Joe and Rudy on the floor together and Joe Johnson at the 4. The Warriors are scoring 114 and they are the best in the NBA.
- Joe Johnson had 27 points off the bench on 10 of 14 shooting and made six threes.
- When George Hill, Joe Ingles, Gordon Hayward and Joe Johnson are on the floor together, all of them are shooting over 39% from three. How does someone guard that?
- It was really interesting how the Pelicans reacted to the game. They were all praising the Jazz. Anthony Davis called the Jazz a great team and Motiejunas called the Jazz an example of how the Pelicans should play. Alvin Gentry called the Jazz a surgeon in the second half. Teams don’t usually do this to other teams, but the Jazz are showing how good they can be.
The Jazz might be really, really good.
Summary: A furious fourth quarter comeback led by Gordon Hayward gave the Jazz a stunning 105-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets and moved them into fourth place in the West Conference standings.
- The Jazz were dead, having been down nine points heading into the fourth quarter after a brutal stretch of basketball to close the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Jazz played George Hill, Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert — they all played the entire 12 minutes and led the Jazz to a 32-16 fourth and win.
- The Jazz were down nine points when the last quarter started and trailed by 10 points — 92-82 — in the fourth. Then they dug in. The Hornets had just two field goals in the final eight minutes of the game (not counting Walker’s uncontested FG late). The Hornets had been the number one late game offensive team in the NBA.
- Rudy Gobert’s defense was amazing in the paint late in the game. He patrolled inside and took away the Kemba driving lanes.
- The Jazz forced Kemba left on the pick and roll as much as they could. He was not as effective going to his left than he was to his right.
- Gordon Hayward was incredible tonight: 33 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists. He hit on 13 of 20 shots and the game looked so easy for him tonight. He has put it on the Hornets a few times in his career and this was tied for the fifth highest point total of his career. His fourth quarter was awesome — 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting and 3 of 4 from the line. Ron Boone talked on Postcast about the calmness and confidence he played with tonight.
- There was an interesting matchup to open the night when Frank Kaminsky was on Rudy Gobert and the Jazz couldn’t take advantage on the offensive end and Kaminsky scored 10 points in the opening 3:20 of the game.
- Walker didn’t seem right tonight as he has been battling an illness.
- George Hill looked like he had his legs in this game and he hit on 8 of 11 shots and 5 of 8 from three for 25 points. The Jazz are 11-0 when Hill scores 20.
- Joe Johnson was great again tonight. A rested Joe Johnson is a really good Joe Johnson. He had 18 points, hit 4 of 7 from three, added 6 rebounds and 4 assists and hit numerous mammoth shots.
- Joe Ingles tied his career high with 9 rebounds. It was the ultimate Joe night. He was +5 despite being 1 for 6 shooting.
- Dante Exum had an awesome first half tonight. He was aggressive, hit a three, picked up the tempo and executed the game plan defensively. In the third quarter, he had something close to the opposite, though he did make a nice shot in the lane. He is not at the point where it is fair to expect him to be a consistent player. He doesn’t have the experience and time to achieve that. That is what makes this so difficult; On a really good team, those mistakes are more painful than on a bad team. This was a good night for Dante and a step in the right direction. It is not a linear road, however.
The Jazz are 4th in the West.
Summary: The Jazz blow out the Bucks en route to a 104-88 win. The Jazz had a game plan on how to attack the Bucks and killed their defense while stifling the Bucks’ top 10 offense.
- The Bucks allow the most corner three-point attempts in the NBA and the Jazz went right after the Bucks’ over-shifting defense and exposed them all night. The Jazz took 20 corner three attempts tonight, making nine. The idea of taking 20 corner-three attempts is a remarkable amount. The Jazz have only taken 10 or more of those shots five times this season. The Jazz took 26% of their shots as corner-threes and the league average in 7.5%. The Jazz take about seven a game and went nuts tonight. They were really open as well.
- The Bucks started 210 pound, 7-footer Thon Maker at center and got away with it because Rudy got two early fouls and left at the 9:06 mark of the first quarter. After that, Rudy crushed the Bucks’ bigs, overpowering them and getting to the rim all night. Plus, he had five offensive rebounds. Rudy finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds. He was dominant.
- Gordon Hayward started the night strong and then coolly finished the night with 27 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. He had 12 in the first quarter to control the game while Rudy was out and then scored with ease the rest of the night.
- The Jazz forced 17 turnovers tonight. They have begun to force more and more turnovers — an area where they were deficient earlier this year.
- Giannis did not have a good night. Hayward was assigned defensively and honestly, I’m not sure if he was that good or not. However, tonight the Greek Freak was 2 for 10 with just 9 points in 39 minutes. This is consistent night in and night out that opposing small forward do not have good nights against the Jazz.
- The Bucks have lost 9 of 10.
- The Jazz have been great all season against below .500 teams and they are now 23-5 v. below .500 teams.
- Joe Johnson was great tonight. His passing in the first half opened up the Jazz’s offense. Coach Igor singled him out at halftime for his great floor work. He then schooled Jabari throughout the third quarter and finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
- Joe Ingles had three more steals tonight.
- The only downside tonight is Rodney Hood hyperextended his knee again and will have an MRI in the morning, according to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune.
- This was a solid blow out win tonight for a rested Jazz team.
- The Bucks haven’t won in SLC since October of 2001.
Summary: The Jazz got outdone in an old-school Grizzlies win led by Conley, Randolph and Gasol: 102-95.
- This is not great. The Jazz have lost two home games to Western Conference teams that were below them in the standings — Oklahoma City and Memphis. These are games you need to win if you are trying to get home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. In both cases, the best players of the opponent (Westbrook, Conley and Gasol) were superior to the Jazz’s rising stars.
- The Jazz are now just 8-14 against +.500 teams. This is well below their placement in the standings. The Jazz are terrific against teams that are below .500, 22-4, one of the best records in the league. However, they have not been able to get over the hump against the better teams with consistency.
- Derrick Favors didn’t play tonight.
- The Jazz played a lot of Hill, Hood, Hayward, Johnson and Gobert in the second half. This is a lineup that many of us thought would be the closing lineup for the Jazz this season. It had only played 13 minutes this season coming into the game and 10 of those were in November.
- This is a great win by Memphis. They lost last night in Portland and had lost 5 of their last 8. They are on the second stop of a long, six-game road trip. Their veterans realized they had to win. They have so much experience together over the years and were able to summon all of it tonight in a much needed win.
- Gasol was terrific tonight. Zach Randolph had a season high. Mike Conley dominated the fourth quarter, scoring nine points and seven in a row in the key portion of the fourth quarter.
- The Jazz’s offense is 29th in the league in second quarters and tonight, the second quarter was another struggle: 5 of 19 shooting and just 16 points. I have no idea what is causing this. The Jazz were built entirely with the concept of being able to put out a complete 48-minute line-up, so it is strange that the Jazz are having such a stark issue in the second quarters of games.
- For all my talk of offense, so far the issue tonight was on the defensive end. The pace of the game was 84 possessions which is incredibly slow. The Jazz play the slowest pace in the league at 93.5 possessions. The league average offensive rating is 104 pts per 100 possessions. Tonight, the Grizzlies’ offense was at 124 pts per 100 possessions and the Jazz were scoring at 116 pts per 100 possessions.
- Alec Burks had another double-figure night with 15 points on just 4 of 5 shooting. However, his five turnovers were not good. The Jazz were +1 in the minutes Alec played at the point guard.
- Gordon Hayward was only 4 of 13 tonight.
- Rudy Gobert went 9 for 9 from the free throw line. Rudy had five FGA tonight; He had just three last time versus Memphis.
- This is really an impressive win by the Memphis Grizzlies. They were pros tonight and understood how important the win was. Memphis wins the season series, 3-1, and avoid a losing streak on the road trip.
- Losing to Memphis and OKC at home is not great. The Jazz are home for the next two.
Summary: The Jazz, led by all-star Gordon Hayward, beat the Lakers 96-88 in a non-descript game. I am so happy for Gordon. He committed himself to accomplishing this goal in the offseason and with tireless work, he has taken his game to a new level and has become an All Star. It is really a testament to commitment and work.
- This one is not very complicated. The Jazz are a superior team to the Lakers, and while they didn’t play very well, they played well enough to never be threatened by the Lakers.
- The Jazz are not making shots and the offense is not very smooth right now. They hit on just 6 of 26 from three and hit on only 41% of their shots.
- Alec Burks and Joe Ingles were terrific off the bench. The team plays so well when Ingles is on the floor. Alec Burks played the fourth guard spot tonight (Hill, Hood, Ingles) and is bringing an offensive aspect to the team that the Jazz have not had this year.
- Burks had 11 points in 13 minutes on 5 of 9 shooting.
- Teams generally only play four guards and if Ingles and Burks are both going to play, then the Jazz are going to have to play a portion of the game without a true point guard. Thursday, the Jazz were +10 when they played without a true point guard so it was successful.
- Hayward had 24 points and shot 9 of 10 on his free throws.
- Rudy Gobert had a season-high six blocks and a new 10+ rebound streak has started.
- This game really didn’t have much to it. The Jazz led by seven points at the end of one quarter. The lead was four points at the half, 10 at the end of the third, and they won by eight. The game was never truly in doubt.
- Jazz closed with Hill, Ingles, Hayward, Diaw and Gobert. It is going to be different each night depending on match-ups.
- Quin Snyder said after the game he doesn’t think the team is playing very well. He is accurate. They did play well enough to win tonight however.