EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz blow flat note in New Orleans

Emptying the Noggin
• You can’t be two of a teams nine wins at home all year. You just can’t be that team. The scary thing tonight is that New Orleans was better, they had the better player, they controlled the tempo and if you go position by position they were better at 4 of the 5 starting positions tonight. The Hornets were just better.

• The Jazz margin for victory is always very slim and tonight shows that better than any other night all year. We aren’t going to blow people out and tonight the game stayed close and then Eric Gordon took over the game scoring 10 straight points. The Jazz allowed the Horents to hit 9 of 10 shots at one point in the fourth while offensively they couldn’t get anything going.

• Tempo was a major problem all night to the point where the Jazz were so desperate to get out in the open floor that Devin Harris started forcing passes and committed two turnovers in the 3rd quarter hoping to pick up the tempo.

• Of the 9 man rotation 5 players played very poorly.

• Late in the 2nd quarter Eric Gordon split the Jazz double team on three straight occasions and right then you knew that if the Jazz couldn’t find a way to slow down the Eric Gordon pick and roll the night was going to get ugly and that is what happened.

• The defensive combination of Jamaal Tinsley and Al Jefferson on the pick and roll is something we should try to avoid.

• The Hornets do some things that cause us problems. They have a deep post scorer in Chris Kaman who scored 10 straight points in the 3rd quarter and they have a high pick and roll threat which always causes us issues.

• From the 5:17 mark of the 1st quarter to the 5:56 mark of the 3rd quarter the game was never more than 4 points on either side.

• The 4th quarter shooting of 5 for 21 was terrible – Millsap 1 for 5 – Al 0 for 2

• Whenever Favors makes a post move he is off balance by the time he ends of shooting, improved conditioning and strength and balance should improve this over the years. This is why he still shots such a low percentage. He is so good at getting fouled that he still scored 12 points on 8 shots tonight.

• The big line-up for the Jazz tonight was +2 when it was on the floor.

• Favors played 24 minutes and had 12 points 13 rebounds and 2 block shots. The kid is so good. His defensive rebounding has improved greatly.

• Burks and Kanter played better

• Hayward got hit in the leg on his travelling drive, one of his three first quarter turnovers and the leg was never right the rest of the night.

• New Orleans might have some pieces – Al Farouq Aminu is getting better, he is greatly improved from last year, he is not a good shooter yet but it looks better, Eric Gordon if they can re-sign him is a beast, they have two lottery picks and some good bench players that are getting valuable experience like Smith and Vasquez.

• Chris Kaman shouldn’t beat you twice in the same season. You have to defend him early if he gets the ball deep you are dead and he killed us twice this year.

• Favors had an absurd dunk tonight and Burks went for a jam follow missed and pogo sticked back up for the rebound in impressive double jump fashion.

• Not sure I am buying into this kills the playoff chances. Before the SA game I thought if the Jazz could win 7 they would get in. 2 down and now have to win 5 of the remaining 6, one of the road games at Memphis or at Portland (no LaMarcus) and all the home game Dallas (4th game in 5 nights), Orlando (no Dwight), Phoenix and Portland. Not sure if this team is good enough to win all those game but that is what it will take. If New Orleans is better than you for a night ….

INSIDER – Josh Howard out for the season

The Utah Jazz had dodged the bullet until now. The Jazz had missed the 2nd fewest games to injury to any team in the NBA. However, the Jazz starting forward Josh Howard is done for the season after surgery on his left knee.

According to the Jazz release Howard had been experiencing swelling in his knee and after an MRI it was revealed that he had a chip in the lateral femoral cartilage.

Howard was inserted into the starting lineup on Feb 20th and has started the last 15 games for the Utah Jazz. As a starter, Howard had averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds in a bounce back season after injuries derailed his time in Dallas and never let him get started in Washington.

Howard’s rebounding will be sorely missed as his solidified the wing rebounding and improved the Jazz defensive rebounding tremendously.

With Raja Bell also out of the line-up the overloaded Jazz wing position is suddenly thin with CJ Miles, Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks.

INSIDER – Notes from a conversation with Enes Kanter

Yesterday before the Jazz game with Houston I spent some time with Enes Kanter. We don’t hear much from him so I wanted to share a little about how he is doing and some of his thoughts. Sometimes there is a language barrier so I could have misunderstood, but I believe this is a correction depiction of our conversation.

He Skypes with his parents about twice a week. Both are working full time jobs so he doesn’t think they will be able to come visit this season. If they do it would be at the end of the season. His younger brother is in school in Boston so he can have a collegiate basketball experience without NCAA interference.

He doesn’t have a lot of friends still in Turkey. He doesn’t Facebook or doing any of that so it limits his communication. He came to the US to go to prep school trying to get eligible for the NCAA and bounced around, he was in West Virginia, then took another short stop and then ended up in Simi Valley.

The best game he has ever played was the U16 world championships when he crushed Jonas Valanciunas. He averaged 23 and 17 in that tourney. He might have been speaking of the U18 championships I am not sure.

He said this is the first time he has ever played people as strong as he is and he really noticed the night the Jazz played Minnesota and he hit Pekovic , who is 6’11 and 290.

The hardest thing for him so far has been just playing again after not playing for so long. At times the game feels fast for him. He still says he is not comfortable.

His bad game in New York he was sick.

I will share more with you as I get to know Enes better.