EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Favors dominates and did the Jazz discover some things

Summary: Derrick Favors dominated the inside and the Jazz break a four game losing streak with a 114-106 win over Brooklyn Nets.
• Derrick Favors started at center tonight with Rudy Gobert out of the lineup with a knee contusion sustained in the Miami game. Favors starting at center this pushed Thabo Sefolosha into the starting lineup as the 4. The floor was wide open and nearly immediately you could see the impact it had on the Jazz offense. Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors were able to play a pick and roll game with room and available passing lanes that have not been present with Rudy Gobert. In addition, Brooklyn only played 11 minutes of the game with a center and this allowed the Jazz to dominate the restricted area and punish the Nets.

• The Jazz may have discovered a few things tonight they can use moving forward. The combination of Rubio, Favors and Gobert has struggled very badly this year. They simply have not been able to score. With just Favors tonight, the offense had a flow and players had room to work. Quin Snyder had planned on using Derrick more in the pick and roll and more at center and he did it with great success. I would anticipate Derrick playing the non-Rudy minutes at center moving forward.

• The other discovery is using Thabo Sefolosha as the 4. The Jazz have been playing around with this recently but saw it for an extended period tonight and it has some value. Thabo is a great defensive player. He is a super cutter and an average 3-point shooter. On offense, teams respect him enough that they move out when he spreads to the 3-point line. Opponents have not been following Favors at all and stretching him was having no value. Sefolosha’s cutting is not very valuable when Favors and Gobert are both in the paint, but with just one big he brings another element. He is also a good rebounder.

• Defensively when Sefolosha, Joe Ingles, Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio are on the floor they can all switch, but more importantly they are all active hand defenders. Ingles, Sefolosha and Rubio were all top 10 in steal percentage last season and Mitchell is impressing people with his defense. Couple this with either Favors and Gobert as a rim protector and you have quite a defensive unit.

• Favors’ rim protection was very good tonight

• Brooklyn is limited and not a good enough team to make season long determinations around, but what the Jazz saw tonight gives them some things to try moving forward.

• The Jazz shot selection was more in line with what it should be this season, particularly in the case of Ricky Rubio. Rubio has been unsuccessful as the second highest volume shot taker for the Jazz and took just nine shots tonight. That is where he should be. If he has a bad night, the impact is lessened. He had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists tonight.

• Rubio and Favors had a connection tonight we haven’t seen with Rubio and Gobert. Was it because the floor was spread or is there something about Favors’ game that better fits Rubio?

• Favors is better at catching bounce passes than Rudy and a bit better at catching on the move and exploding in traffic to the basket. Rudy is a vertical offensive player.

• Rodney Hood bounced back tonight with a really solid 7 of 16 shooting and 19 points. This is his third straight game with 19 points and he has shown a level of consistency in the last five games.

• Donovan Mitchell made a ton of plays tonight. He was driving to the basket and corkscrewing at the window; he was really special with some of the plays he made. He finished with 26 point and has now scored 20+ in four games this year equaling the most by any rookie.

• Joe Ingles had another well rounded line of 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

• Solid win. Much needed win. I’m a bit reluctant to take too much from the discoveries because of Brooklyn’s limitations, but all of them are worth trying again.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Defensive effort doesn’t get offensive support

SUMMARY: The Jazz made just 4 of 33 shot attempts in the second half, yet remarkably stayed in the game until the end.
• It feels as though four made field goals in a half might be close to an NBA record. It is the fewest field goals ever allowed by the Miami Heat in a half. The NBA record for fewest field goals in a game is 18.

• Honestly, I have no idea why we are having such a hard time scoring. Is it bad shooting, lack of spacing or is it building on itself? The spacing is not good. There’s not another team playing two bigs with similar skill sets like Favors and Gobert, so spacing is hard to come by. On the other hand, we don’t have great shooters so at some point it is just an inability to hit shots.

• Quin Snyder tried some interesting things tonight when he used Favors more in the pick and roll early in the game to get Favors some mid-roll action. If Favors is spacing to the outside and the other team isn’t honoring it, Gobert is going to have a tough time getting the roll to the rim.

• The Jazz were breaking the paint and moving the ball early and the game had a pace to it. As the night went on, that disappeared. The Jazz want to get into the paint early in a possession and then work off that advantage but they don’t have enough players who are capable of doing that.

• The Jazz wanted Ricky Rubio to keep his dribble alive with the Nash dribble along the baseline to create opportunities around the rim. It had a flash of possibility but it also led to some turnovers.

• Ricky Rubio has to be better. He was 0 for 5 with five turnovers. He is 9 of his last 40 and one of his last nine from 3. More than the shooting issues, I am stunned at how sloppy he has been with the basketball. It felt as though his five turnovers tonight were avoidable without being conservative.

• Rudy Gobert took a hit to the side of his knee and looked really bad, but somehow he was able to come back in the game and play the final portion.

• The Jazz were great defensively. To have this type of offensive futility and stay in a game is hard to fathom. They were up three when Gobert blocked a Whiteside shot but with :04 on the shot clock, Waiters came off a pick and hit a tough corner 3 to tie the game. The Heat then proceed to go on a 10-0 run to blow the game open in the final moments.

• Rodney Hood shot eight free throws tonight. He has taken 18 in two games and he is now 32 of 33 from the line this season.

• Unfortunately, Rodney missed 11 straight shots to end the night.

• Joe Ingles had a nice well rounded box score again with 4 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.

• The Jazz forced 21 turnovers.

• Alec Burks had his best game of the year with 22 minutes and 4 of 8 shooting. He continued his awesome 3-point shooting this season hitting 2 of 2 and had 12 points.

• Donovan Mitchell hit the first two shots of the night and then went 3 for his next 12.

• The Jazz had no offensive rebounds in the first half and four for the entire game. With the decrease in offensive rebounding around the league, I believe the offensive rebound has added value then it has had in the past and it may be the answer for the Jazz to be a viable offensive team. The Jazz came into the game 23rd in the league in offensive rebounding. It may need to be a focus so the Jazz can get some put backs and pound people inside.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN — Jazz shooting goes wayward

SUMMARY: Disastrous shooting night overwhelms Jazz in loss to the Sixers 104-97.

• Unlike the last two losses tonight’s issue was not the defense, it was offense. The Jazz had a tough offensive night from the beginning and never got going. There was a brief spurt when the Sixers cleared their bench letting Jahill Okafor and Nik Stauskas play and the Jazz got the game back to even, but the Jazz were never able to get a rhythm.

• The Jazz were off all night. They had mental breakdowns both offensive and defensively that are not something we are accustomed to seeing from this team. Cross-court passes in the back-court that are intercepted and become slam dunks. Inbound pass to the from the right wing to the midcourt that is easily intercepted for a fast break dunk. Letting guys get back door or not covering some basic slip plays that lead to dunks.

• The defense was pretty good most of the night, but it was a victim of breakdowns like the aforementioned plays. There was also a Redick wide open three in transition or a wide open Saric off an inbound pass.

• Re-watching this game I will be really curious to see if it was everyone or one player that wasn’t engaged in the game.

• The Jazz shooting was dreadful. In order of shot attempts, Mitchell was 3 for 21, Rubio was 4 of 16, Ingles 6 for 16 and Hood 4 for 14

• A troubling note is the shooting percentage for the season for our leading shot takers are the following – Mitchell 34.4%; Hood 39.1%; Rubio 39.1% and from three-point range they are the following Hood 37.7% (which is good), Mitchell 31.7% and Rubio is 29.8%.

• Ricky Rubio was 0 for 5 from three and is 1 for his last 14 from three.

• Mitchell’s 3 for 21 night is a rarity. He is just the 33rd player since 1983 to make 3 or fewer field goals with 20 or more attempts. He is just one of 5 players to do it taking 1 or fewer free throws. The list of players who has done it is some of the best names in the NBA. It happens.

• I didn’t think the shots by Hood, Mitchell or Rubio were out of the natural offense. They took the shots the defense gave them they just didn’t convert. In fact, Rodney Hood had 10 free throw attempts tonight which was a career high.

• Joe Ingles was 6 for 16 and I thought he tried to go outside of his usual game to help the team, but it is asking a lot for him to play in that fashion.

• Gobert is not getting the rolls to the basket because the defense is collapsing in the paint and he can’t even get to the rim. There was a play in the 2nd quarter where Rubio threw a perfect pass to Gobert on a pick and roll and he was 8 feet away with 4 people between him and the rim.

• Thabo Sefolosha plays so hard every night and makes so many good plays. He is great cutter off the ball.

• It is only the 4th time the Jazz have ever shot 30.3% or below and shot 23.1% or below from 3. 200 v. Lakers and 2005 v. Knicks.

• Collectively poor night. The offense is going to be a season-long tussle. It is good the defense stay strong for the most part.