Emptying the Noggin — Jazz’s win makes them 4th in the West

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.
  • AB was 1 of 9.
  • 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.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz torch the corners in win over Bucks

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.