EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz battle Cleveland for the full 48

• The Cavaliers have won 25 of 26 at home. They have been winning at home by an average of 12 points per game. They have won 41 of 51 since getting Timofey Mozgov. They are the second best team in the NBA. Tonight, the Jazz pushed them to their limit. The Jazz forced LeBron and the Cavs to play a 48-minute game at home.

• The biggest portion of the game for me was when the Cavaliers started to take it to the Jazz from the end of the first quarter to the beginning of the second. The run was 12-3. Last year at the exact same moment of the game, the Cavs went on a 22-3 run. This time the Jazz not only stopped the run but fought all the way back and made it a four-point game at the half with a 9-0 run of their own.

• The Jazz took control of the game in the fourth quarter and led it 91-83—and then LeBron realized the game was in the balance and took over in every aspect. The Jazz still led 95-86 with 7:22 left. LeBron found Love for a three, hit a floater, stole a ball on a poor inbound pass, and drew the foul for a three-point play … and it was a one-point game in the span of 1:17. The Jazz retook the lead by one and then LeBron stole an offensive rebound, hit Jefferson for a driving layup, scored a layup, and hit another layup with a foul to make it a 7-point lead for the Cavs. He was incredible.

• The Jazz lost 18 games by 5 or fewer last year, so this is a recurring discussion, but this doesn’t fall into that same category. Yes, the Jazz offense needs to get better in late-game situations. And yes, the Jazz need to make some better decisions. But this was a highly experienced team built to win a championship playing at home with the best player in the world taking control of the game.

• In the final 5 minutes, the Jazz shot 3-for-8 with two turnovers until the game became a little wacky at the end. If you count the entire five minutes, the Jazz were 5-for-11 with two threes.

• Alec Burks hit four 3-pointers in five attempts. The coaches are working with Alec to shot the three and he is beginning to do it. He had a gorgeous corner three on a fast break.

• The Jazz moved the ball offensively tonight. They had 30 assists on 40 field goalds. Eight players had two or more assists, and seven guys had three or more. Rudy Gobert had a career-high five assists tonight. The nine assists between Gobert and Favors could be an offensive game-changer for the Jazz.

• Trey Burke had another strong game—he is really learning how, when and where to make plays in this league. He’s avoiding the drive into traffic. He’s in much better control with the basketball on the pick-and-roll. He’s taking the spot-up shots that are good ones and avoiding the ones that are forced, and he’s moving the ball.

• The Jazz took away the long passing game of the Cavaliers. They forced a ton of turnovers early and got into passing lanes. The Cavaliers are so talented that they then changed their approach and went to other actions.

• Mo Williams was unreal. Not sure you can beat the Cavs if Mo Williams goes 8-for-9 from the field for 29 points. He didn’t miss. Most impressively, he didn’t try to take over the game; he stayed playing in his space and rolled with the team.

• Gordon Hayward’s defense on LeBron in the first half was terrific.

• Derrick Favors had a great move late in the game, just bogarting Tristan Thompson to the rim for a huge bucket. Another 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals for Derrick. He’s really good.

• The Jazz didn’t block a shot. The Cavs had only 40 of their 114 points in the paint.

• I have the game as about 98 possessions, so a poor defensive night for the Jazz to allow 118 points. At the same time, probably our best offensive night of the year.

• Coaches feel good about the progress Trey Lyles is making. They feel he has broken through the thinking stage and is beginning to start playing, and he is playing better.

• Rudy Gobert sprained an ankle. I would suspect the Jazz will be very cautious with this.

• Joe Ingles played 13 minutes and was +7. Didn’t seem like he had a big impact on the game, but when the dude is positive every night you have to start figuring he is doing something right.

• The Cavs are really good. They have the best player in the world. A win would have been great. However, the effort and play of the team were really positive. This is a brutally tough road trip.

• Side note: every flight we’ve had this year has been just crazy bumpy. It’s wearing me out.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – As long as the Jazz defense was good

• The effort Quin Snyder is getting from the Jazz is just remarkable. Both on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor the level of engagement was fabulous tonight.

• Jazz lead Memphis by 20. That is a blow out in the NBA.

• I’d really rather not single out individual players because this was such a join effort on both ends of the floor. (I will later) The defense is obviously based on the presence of Favors and Gobert but the effort from everyone to execute the game plan was terrific. Dave Joerger before the game talked about how big the Jazz were at the wings as the key to the defense and how much length they can put on the floor.

• With that said Memphis was 17/37 inside 5 feet tonight so obviously Gobert and Favors are game changers.

• The Jazz contested 54 of Memphis 91 shots. Memphis shot just 31.5% on those shots. The Jazz held the Grizzlies to 33% for the game. They allowed just 6 three pointers and only 1 in the first half. Most of the 6 came late when the Grizzlies made a late run.

• The Jazz defensive rating for the season is 90.3. 2 full points better than anyone else in the NBA. The Jazz have yet to play the top offensive teams but it is still impressive.

• The Jazz are doing this while still fouling at an alarming rate. That will not continue so the defense could still get better

• The Jazz allowed 19 points in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter. Under 20 point quarters were a signature of the Jazz defensive prowess last year and it was again tonight .

• Gordon Hayward ran Memphis players off the three point line in the late part of the 4th quarter with an effort level that was second to none. With 1:15 left the game was down to 6 points and Hayward ran Lee off the three point line and forced him into a long 2, which Lee missed

• Going into Thursday’s game Favors lead the NBA in steals, he only played a half so he dropped out of the lead but he had 3 more steals tonight. Rudy Gobert had 4 blocks and leads the NBA in blocks. Then with the score the same off an offensive rebound Hayward ran Conley off the three point line into a long two which he missed. Huge effort plays.

• Derrick Favors was awesome. The work he put in on Zach Randolph and the fight he had to show tonight was incredible. He played 39 minutes while still under the weather. He is the heart and soul of this team. He had 12 points, 16 rebounds, 3 steals and Quin couldn’t have him off the floor.

• Rodney Hood is a really high level engaged defensive player. He had three blocks tonight.

• Triple Wing played 8 minutes tonight and was +6.

• Trey Burke was on fire. He had a career high 6 three pointers. He shot 50% again and scored 24 points. In 4 of the last 5 games Trey Burke has shot 50% or better. He only did that 16 times all of last year and 14 times the year before. His shot selection is a million times better. He is not getting himself in trouble as he did in the past. Trey is 50% from three on the season and has had two half court heaves.

• The level of focus Trey Burke has shown day in and day out on the floor, in practice and in games is significantly different than years past and it is paying off

• Alec Burks opened the game with 2 assists. His ball movement is getting so much better. The Jazz were really good when Alec was on the floor tonight. In the past Alec has had good games and not benefited the team. Tonight was the opposite he did everything to help the team.

• The coaches constently talk about Alec Burks high level of want to. He wants to improve, he wants to be great, he wants to help the team win. It is why this franchise believes in him so much.

• Everyone was good tonight. Neto couldn’t make a shot but the defense when he was on the floor was amazing. He is a pest and breaks the rhythm of the opposing point guard early in the night. It is really valuable. Conley scored early but finished 8 for 25.

• Rudy Gobert was making his 42nd start of his NBA career. He is still learning. He was battling the best center in the NBA and he held his own. Gasol went 4 for 14. Rudy impacted the game in lots of ways. It is super impressive with such a low level of experience.

• Trevor Booker is our Manimal.

• Joe Ingles is shooting 58% and 47% from three and he makes everyone else on the floor better when he is out there. 6 pts in 18 minutes off the bench is subtle but very important. Joe’s play is going to be very key as the season continues.

• Huge test ahead for the Jazz. The best teams in the Eastern Conference in Cleveland, Atlanta and Miami. In addition, the 6th, 7th and 11th best offenses in the NBA so far this year. Plus, Miami and Cleveland are currently top 10 defenses. Orlando seems like the easy one on this trip but it is a back to back and Orlando went 2 OT with OKC, lost to Washington by 1, Bulls by 5 and Houston in OT – those are their 4 losses.

• It is still early. What we saw tonight is what the Jazz can do and how they can play together. This next stretch is tough. There will be more losses than wins between now and December 1st but this team has shown what it can do .

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Catch-and-shoot game returns

• Very much a redo of the Indiana game for the Jazz. They trailed early. Stayed close enough to be in contact. By halftime it was a 2 point game and then they put the defensive clamps down. They lead by 1 going into the 4th and ran away in the 4th quarter on their way to another solid road win.

• Jazz road record under Quin Snyder is stunningly good.

• On the broadcast we opened talking about the Jazz lack of assists and moreover being last in the league in catch and shoot chances. Tonight you saw a completely different approach from the Jazz offensively. Gordon Hayward told us post game that they focused on this in film session today and saw that they were missing the back side guy.

• Tonight the Jazz had a season high in assists and a huge increase in catch and shoot chances.

• Derrick Favors didn’t play the second half because of the flu.

• Trevor Booker was terrific. The first half Kenneth Faried was making a ton of plays and out working the Jazz for extra points. In the second half it was Trevor Booker making those plays for the Jazz.

• Jazz played a ton of triple wing tonight, with no true point guard. 16 minutes of the game was played without a traditional point guard tonight. Joe Ingles started the offense sometimes, other times it was Alec and late in the game it was Rodney Hood.

• The Jazz were even in the 16 minutes of the triple wing.

• Rodney in the fourth quarter had 5 points and 4 assists.

• The Nuggets played the opening 6 minutes of the 4th without Gallinari on the floor and without Gallo they have no offensive flow if you keep them in the half court.

• Joe Ingles played 26 minutes tonight and was +23. He played everything from point guard to power forward. He is shooting the ball terrifically. He came in shooting 57% and went 3 for 5.

• Gordon got rolling tonight. The better passing really helped him. His ball had more arch on it. 13 shots 20 points. Back to being Gordon.

• Rudy Gobert on the back end of a back to back played 35 minutes and finished with 8 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists (one a gorgoues back cut bounce pass) and 3 blocks. Really solid outing.

• Foul trouble was a big problem early in the game and broke the Jazz rhythm. Both Hood and Hayward had to sit with 2 fouls in the fist quarter.

• Jazz trailed by 13, 24-11 in the first before working their way back.

• Denver finished with 39 percent shooting and 25 percent from three. Solid defensive game from the Jazz.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – CJ and Dame too much too handle

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were too much for the Jazz to handle tonight. In the first half Lillard and McCollum were able to get where they needed to get on the floor. McColllum is the key, he couldn’t miss and when you couple that with the 2 time all-star Damian Lillard it becomes a real beast to guard.

• In the halftime interview Zach Guthrie mentioned that bigs have to come out more and make an impact on the ball and when they did that in the 2nd half the Blazers were able to spread the Jazz out and get bigs rolling to the basket or open looks and then when the Jazz were spread out they had a hard time on the offensive glass.

• The Jazz are a great defensive team when they are guarding the rim. The Blazers are not attacking the rim the same way as other teams instead they were stretching the Jazz bigs out away from the basket.

• The Jazz got 8 blocked shots but the Blazers had the Jazz spread out and running all over the floor – The Blazers scored 27 in the first, 30 in the 2nd and 32 in the 4th.

• The fact that both McCollum and Lillard are able to make plays off the pick and roll and can run multiple pick and rolls in a possession makes them very difficult to guard. Lillard is unreal. He is hitting from everywhere on the floor. It taxes the entire defense. McCollum has a great mid range game to go with his range. When CJ goes 10 of 13 they are going to be tough to beat. I am not sure he will be doing it on a nightly basis yet but the progress he has made the last two years is fantastic.

• The Jazz offense was not good tonight. They finished with 37.5% shooting. They had only 9 assists. Hawyard is not creating for anyone. Burks is not creating for anyone and the point guards had zero assists combined.

• Aminu is one of the best defenders in the NBA. I am a huge Aminu fan. He is long athletic, impacts games, is an elite rebounder and impacts game.

• Terry Stotts has a good thing going with a ton of young energy guys, two guards that are pushing and attacking the other defense and bigs who hit the boards.

• This team may go as Derrick Favors goes and he got screwed in the first half on two terrible foul calls and the Jazz never got a rhythm. Favors initiated the run in the early part of the 3rd with his energy but the Jazz couldn’t make enough plays to continue the run.

• The Blazers are playing with nothing to lose and when they took the lead you saw the Jazz play with tension and pressure. They made a ton of mistakes and were clearly pressing. This will be interesting to watch this year. The Jazz are playing with expectations for the first time.

• Trey Burke was very good tonight. The first 4 games of his season are very encouraging to Trey evolving as a player. Trey is shooting 50% from the field. This is a crazy thought and I am not taking time to look it up but my guess is this is the first 4 game stretch of Trey’s career at 50% . He is taking different shots. He is approaching plays differently. He is in control and most of all he is really busting his butt on defense.

• If Alec is not going to shoot the three he is going to have to get to the line as much as he did tonight but if he isn’t going to shoot the three he is going to find it very hard to have room to drive.

• Joe Ingles is playing well.

• Gordon is struggling to find a rhythm and he is the best player on the team. Remember he had surgery in the off-season it may have altered either his training or some of his movements and he may just be a little off. Honestly, without your best player playing well it is hard to win games.

• The Jazz are not getting assists. Assisted field goals is a sign of a good offensive team. The Jazz have assisted on 58 of 143 field goals which is an alarmingly low number. This is instantiable if you are going to have any success offensively.

• Disappointing loss. Home opener against a team you would expect to beat. However, the bottom of the West is much better than it has been in the past so this is going to happen. Denver, Sacramento, Utah, Phoenix, Portland, Dalllas, Minnesota are going to beat people. The Lakers aren’t but everyone else is going to win games you wouldn’t anticipate.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – A mind-bogling second half

• Wow. That was crazy impressive. What the Jazz did to the Pacers in the 2nd half is hard to fathom. Teams don’t manhandle other NBA teams like this unless you are really good. The Jazz defense was incredible. They held the Pacers to 27 points in the 2nd half. To blow out another NBA team by 30 over 24 minutes is unheard of.

• Rudy Gobert is the core to the defense but it goes much farther than just Rudy. In no way am I minimizing what Rudy is doing. He is the most impactful player I have seen in the NBA since either a young Dwight Howard or Ben Wallace. But the whole team is connected. They build incredible walls. They take away huge portions of the floor with their shifts. They react to each others actions. They are forcing teams to make skip passes over the top that slow down the offense and force them deep into the clock and into weakside 1 on 1 actions. It is awesome.

• Gordon Hayward had a tough offensive night but his defense and the team defense on Paul George was fabulous. He busted his *&* defensively. Ron Boone says it is the hardest he has ever seen him work defensively.

• The Pacers scored 29 first quarter points. The Jazz were having a hard time with the Pacers pressure. They were turning it over time and time again. The Pacers were getting out on the run and the Jazz looked like a team on the ropes. Instead the defense clamped down and held the Pacers to 20 points. It kept the Jazz in the game.

• The Pacers completely outplayed the Jazz for the first 24 minutes and then in a span 3 minutes of the 3rd quarter the Jazz outplayed the Pacers and took the lead. The Jazz opened the third quarter on a 13-0 run and the Pacers missed their first 8 shots of the quarter. Pacers ended up shooting 6 for 21 in the 3rdquarter. Paul George was 2 for 6, if he is going to be the best player in the league as he said he was then he needs to be able to stop these type of droughts.

• Favors got in foul trouble in the 1st quarter 4 minutes into the game and he came out in the 3rd quarter with a point to prove. He dominated with 8 points and Rudy grabbed 10 rebounds in the 3rd quarter. It was pure domination.

• Little moments in the first half mattered – Rodney Hood kept the Jazz in the game in the first quarter, Trey Burke bailed the Jazz out after Raul Neto had a tough first 6 minutes. Joe Ingles scored 5 in a row after the Pacers lead by 10.

• The lack of three point shooting is still a problem for the Jazz. Only 17% of the shots were 3s. it is going to be impossible for this team to be anywhere near the league average if Alec takes 13 shots without a 3 attempt.

• Trey Burke has made some passes I have seen from him over the last two games. He is playing a much different game.

• I love George Hill. He is so physical defensively. He had his hands all over Neto tonight and Raul had no idea how to deal with it in the beginning. Hill is a 40% catch and shoot 3 point shooter. He is a super player. If Indiana implodes he could be a major piece for a contending team.

• Rodney Hood was really good tonight. 4 steals on the defensive end. He has only taken 2 free throws in 80 minutes. This needs to improve.

• Favors 18-7 again. He is averaging 21 points and 8 rebounds thru 3 games and he showed a full array of an offensive game.

• Neto is 1 for 11 inside the 3 point line.

• Thru three games teams are scoring 83.1 pts per 100 possessions with Rudy Gobert on the floor and 82.4 with Derrick Favors on the floor. Those numbers are mind boggling. Teams are shooting 36% with Rudy Gobert on the floor.

• An incredible performance to go from down 7 at the half to a runaway 20 point win. Super job. Great 2-1 road trip. Jazz might be a Trevor Booker hand slap away from being 3-0 but Detroit is good.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Defense stifles the rookie

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• Wins count. You have to get this one and the Jazz did in commanding fashion. Home opener, early in the year, seemed like a night where the Sixers could give a fight and it was over in a hurry.

• The defense was terrific. They had a solid game plan on Okafor and Noel. It prevented either of the them from getting any type of rhythm during the game. The Jazz sent a strong dig at Okafor and knew he would immediately revert to playing straight up basketball rather than post ball. Noel has no game outside 5 feet and the Jazz took advantage of that in numerous ways.

• It was great if someone got by Gobert Favors was waiting and vice versa. The Wasatch Front is imposing.

• One of the first plays of the game Okafor got into the body of Rudy and power through him. Rudy never allowed that to happen again and caused Okafor a lot of troubles.

• Rudy Gobert had 6 blocks and Favors had 2.

• Trey Burke had a really nice night off the bench. He found open guys. Made a nice weakside pass to a corner 3 for Alec Burks. Defensively he got beat the first few possesions and then adjusted and didn’t have troubles again after that.

• Philadelphia is really awful.

• Derrick was a beast again with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Add 3 steals and 2 blocks and that is an all around performance.

• The defense shut down the Sixers and held the to 20 or fewer points every quarter. They sagged off Noel and clogged all the lanes so the Sixers couldn’t get anything to the basket.

• Raul Neto is a pest. 3 steals but neither Isaiah Canaan or TJ McConnell are NBA caliber point guards right now

• Rodney Hood took 6 threes. He has taken 13 in 2 games – AWESOME. High volume three point shooters are crazy important in this league.

• 15 points and 7 rebounds from Alec off the bench in 27 minutes is big time production. He had 15 points and 8 shot attempts. Rebounding guards are one of the most underrated things in the NBA. Every really good team has them. If Burks and Hayward rebound well enough Jazz might be able to play a small line-up.

• The small line-up gives Favors rolls to the basket a lot of room and makes him a tough guard.

• Jazz got the offensive rebounding back tonight with 13 offensive rebounds in 44 chances. 29.5% right back at the league leading level of last year. Jazz had 23 2nd chance points on 8 of 13 shooting. Jazz were #1 in the NBA in offensive rebounding and putback percentage last year.

• Rudy and Okafor had a nice battle. It got heated. Rudy got the best of him.

• Gordon Hayward’s off night is now 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.

• Jazz shot distrubtion thru two games is off. Tonight Favors had 17, Hood 14, Hayward 12, Burke 10 and Burks 8. The offense can have all the movement but the right guys have to get the shots at the end if your offense is going to be good. In two games, Favors has taken 32 shots, Hood 29, Hawyard 23, Burks 22 and Burke 12. This will rectify itself.

• The Jazz are still learning and this team will improve as time goes on. Indiana would be a good win. 2-1 would be a super trip.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz lose opener in Detroit but show positive signs

• Always a bummer to lose the first one. However, all the signs of what is going to make the Jazz a good team were prevalent tonight. The Jazz played monster defense stretch down the stretch. The balanced the scoring of Favors, Burks, Hood and Hayward was evident. In a lot of ways, if you’re a 50-win team you win this game, but if you’re still in the process (as we are) you have a hard time coming up with this game.

• The Jazz’s defense for the final eight minutes tonight was awesome.

* This was a slow-paced game. Very limited fast-break chances. Utah’s defense was about one point per possession at 92 points and near 92 possessions, which is pretty strong.

* The Jazz were the #1 offensive rebounding team in the NBA last year, grabbing 29% of offensive rebounds. They were also #1 in the NBA in putback percentage. This’s a large part of the Jazz offense. Trevor Booker is a large part of this. The Jazz got only four offensive rebounds tonight.

• The Jazz started Neto and Hood, and the starting lineup had a really good start to the game. The defense was fabulous and the game was flowing. When the bench came into the game, things got a little out of whack. The Jazz missed Trevor Booker’s presence in a lot of ways tonight.

• Rudy Gobert looked like Rudy Gobert again for the first time this year. He was active, he impacted the paint, he rebounded the ball and he made an offensive play or two. This may be as difficult a matchup as he will have all year. Andre Drummond is mammoth.

• Derrick Favors was terrific. Can he score with Rudy on the floor? The answer was most certainly yes tonight. He was a force in the post against Detroit’s undersized stretch 4s. This is really important. If teams are going to play this stretch game with undersized 4s, then Favors has to abuse them in the post and he did exactly that.

• Ersan Illysova may have won the game for the Pistons taking four offensive fouls tonight.

• What are the chances of a career 39% free throw shooter making six in a row? Since you asked, the chances of that are 0.3%—not 30%, but 0.3%.

• Detroit is going to be tough for people. I think they make the playoffs in the East.

• The shot distribution for the Jazz was off tonight. Hayward needs to get more looks. Hayward should be our leader in possessions used, followed by Favors, Hood and Burks in some combination.

• Raul Neto did a nice job as the starting point guard. He made his two threes, which were the only threes the Jazz made all night. Neto was +12 tonight. He plays a nice floor game and finds people. He looked every bit an NBA starting point guard tonight.

• Rodney Hood was 0-for-7 from 3 (really 0-for-5 and then two bombs out of desperation). However, the five were good looks. He needs to knock those down. The Jazz need to be better than 2-of-12 from three. Only 16% of the Jazz’s shots were threes, and the league average is going to be near 25% this year. Alec didn’t attempt a three tonight.

• The Jazz lost the most games of any team last year by five points or fewer, and only came from behind to win in the fourth quarter three times all year. However, the late-game offensive execution was better than last year. The final numbers will be 3-for-8 shooting in the final five minutes, but that includes Hood’s two desperation 3-point attempts. The Jazz were 3-for-6 from the field and 3-for-4 from the line with two turnovers before that time. Not great, but better. Alec made some big shots, and Gordon had a great driving layup.

• The Jazz were down by five with five to play—hard to win that.

• With Trevor Booker out, the Jazz played a lot of small lineups with Ingles or Hayward at the 4. The Jazz didn’t play either or Withey or Pleiss tonight .

• The Jazz played well tonight. They need to refine some things. This is probably not a game they should be expected to win.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz close preseason on a winning note

• Big story of the night was the Jazz starting Raul Neto and Rodney Hood. The Nuggets didn’t play along and sat the majority of their team including both of the point guards they will play in the regular season

• The Jazz jumped to a 13-0 lead and took control of the game for the rest of the night.

• Both Neto and Trey Burke were strong tonight. Raul Neto played well in the starting line-up, he made some very good passes, had a defensive impact and made some shots. Ron Boone says that his stroke looks really good and he believes he will be a good shooter in the NBA

• Trey Burke just finished an outstanding pre-season. He shot over 50% from the field and nailed around 43% from 3. He is playing a completely different game on the offensive end. He is not getting into his trouble areas. He is avoiding getting stuck late in the shot clock. He is showing signs of progressing like many point guards do in their 3rd year. He has been great at practice the entire camp. His day to day focus and commitment to doing things correctly has been fantastic.

• Not sure who the Jazz start at the point. There is a good argument that Neto fits better starting and Burke fits better with the bench. However, the real issue is the Jazz need these two to play well to be successful. Tonight they played against two guys who won’t play regularly in the regular season

• Rudy returned. For the first time this pre-season we saw Rudy be Rudy and impact the game. He was playing against a rookie for most of the night however, he was above the rim for rebounds. He was rolling to the basket for dunks and having an impact on the game at the rim. Bigger strong guys are going to be tough for him and we open with Andre Drummond of Detroit. Gobert was +28 tonight

• Quin Snyder said afterwards he is still being driven crazy by the defensive breakdowns this team is making

• Favors 3 assists and 4 blocks. That is a neat combination.

• Gobert missed his first 5 free throws and finished 2 for 7

• Joe Ingles played point guard for a moment tonight

• Gordon Hayward finished the pre-season hitting on 10 of 22 from 3. Trey Burke hit on 10 of 23 from three. Joe Ingles was 9 of 23. If they all can shoot at this level that is a big deal.

• Time for the regular season so we can talk about things that count. Everyone is healthy. Quin will have this team ready.

One other note – If Raul Neto starts on opening night for the Jazz it will be the 1st rookie point guard to start for Jazz since 1979 – Duck Williams

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz fall to the Thunder

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
• Tonight was about the Thunder and there final tuneup before the season and they looked awesome. They were sharp, they moved the ball, they have two of the top 10 players in the NBA and Enes Kanter didn’t play.

• Thunder blasted the Jazz early and never looked back. Jazz trailed by 10 at 14-4, then by 13 at the next time out and by 17 after the 1st quarter. Jazz won the next 36 minutes but the game was never in doubt.

• Jazz didn’t play the Triple Wing much tonight. Trey and Raul combined for 46 minutes so only 2 minutes of triple wing. Quin Snyder after the game said he thought Trey Burke played the best defense on Westbrook. Alec has to show he can guard an opposing point guard for the Triple Wing to work.

• Jazz played a lot of small line-ups. Most of the 4th quarter the Jazz were small but the Thunder scored 34 points in the 4th and Jazz were unable to put up much defensive resistance.

• The Jazz are going to have to figure out how to score with defensive lineups on the floor and how to defend with offensive lineups on the floor.

• Really liked Trey Burke’s game tonight. We went 1 for 7 in the first half and he adjusted and went 6 for 8 in the 2nd half. By the end he had a nice night – 20 points on 15 shot attempts. Remember point guards in this league develop slowly Trey has worked really hard and has made noticeable changes to where he goes and how he uses his possessions. He is in nice control around the paint and he is not getting in too deep with no answer.

• Stephen Adams man handled Rudy Gobert down low today. Adams is a massive man. Rudy had 3 assists tonight which is nice. Adams had 14 points and 10 rebounds and 5 blocks. Gobert 5 points, 4 rebounds 3 assists and 2 blocks

• The Jazz got the game back down in striking distance and then Kevin Durant came back in and hit 2 three point shots on back to back possessions. KD is a pure pleasure to watch.

• No one plays the game harder than Russell Westbrook. Westbrook had a 20/10/10 triple double tonight in 34 minutes. Westbrook played under terrific control all game. 14 shots attempts for 21 points.

• Nice evening for Rodney Hood, 23 points

• Way too many possessions tonight a Jazz player had the ball and 4 players were standing still. I have been to most practices this year and I never saw that once in practice so something is way off when that is taking place. The Jazz have got to figure out how to read each other and create opportunities out of the offense.

• Jazz shot 5 of 17 from three. Neither of those numbers are high enough.

• Thunder are a legit title contender and that was obvious tonight.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Offense clicks in for Jazz

• The ultimate preseason game. Final score doesn’t tell the story or have any relevance to the season. Jazz played without Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. By the end of the third quarter, Trey Burke, Raul Neto, Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Joe Ingles and Trevor Booker were done for the night as well. The closed the vast majority of the final 17 minutes with Bryce Cotton, Chris Johnson, Elijah Millsap, Trey Lyles and Jeff Withey. Not a lineup we will see again this year.

• Quin Snyder said that this week the focus was mostly on the offense in practice and you could tell as the Jazz ran things much more smoothly than they had in the previous preseason games.

• The Jazz have had the turnover bug under control, but Portland was 30th in the NBA in forcing turnovers last year so it needs to be tested against a pressure defense.

• Jazz led by four after one quarter. The key to the first quarter was Rodney Hood taking over the game for a short span and going on a 10-0 run all by himself. Hood hit a three, played with a controlled dribble into the paint, hit a post-up and was fouled on a three.

• Trey Burke had a really good first quarter and then ignited in the third quarter. Damian Lillard is not known for his defense and Trey took advantage. He nailed some 3-pointers, he played in control and avoided getting in trouble. He worked a shot or two into his shooting range on the short right side.

• Nice for Trey to have a good night. He has practiced really hard. He has come with a focus superior to the past two seasons. He has been really engaged at a very high level.

• Three steals tonight for Trey.

• Alec Burks got going in the second quarter when he was on the floor with the smaller lineup. When the floor is spaced and he can see air he is able to get make plays. When he plays with Rudy and Derrick, that space is going to be harder to find. When the Jazz have had the triple wing on the floor or playing with Ingles or Hayward at the 4, Alec is able to get room and go to work.

• Alec has only taken four 3-pointers in the preseason. That makes it very hard for him to be an efficient player.

• Joe Ingles got the three ball rolling. He hit 5 of 7 tonight and took a heat check in the midst of that. Ingles made 43% of his threes after the All-Star break. He had two hot spots last year—after the break angle left and the right corner. If Joe can hit near 40% from three it would be really important for the Jazz.

• Jeff Withey has had a nice preseason. He impacts the game at the rim, and he has a nice touch on jumpers. He very well may have made this team. More than that, he may get the back-up center minutes behind Rudy. The one thing that has been characterized as a weakness has been his defensive rebounding. This may be because he makes such an effort to impact shots. However, in the fourth quarter the Jazz only got 30% of the available defensive rebounds. Withey and Lyles or Booker were the bigs for most of the quarter.

• Lyles needs time to figure out where to succeed at this level. He’s thinking and the game is hard for him for the first time.

• Neto had a very good game tonight. He hit a corner three and a step-back, and he played a strong point guard.

• Tough circumstance for the guys trying to make this team in the fourth quarter and overtime. They weren’t playing with the regulars so they were asked to do more than they would ever be asked to do in a regular situation, and the task was a bit more than they could handle successfully tonight.

• Considering who played and who didn’t and for how long, this may have been the Jazz’s best night of the preseason.