Jazz now have something in common with the last 11 Spurs opponents. They lost.
Jazz battled really well tonight. Effort was really strong. That was pretty complete 48 minute effort from the Jazz.
The epitome of the Spurs is the final play where Richard Jefferson hits the three. The Spurs made the extra pass. 4 spurs players touched the ball. Gary Neal bypassed a look and got a better look for Richard Jefferson, an 11 year veteran who has played in at least 2 NBA championships and he buried the three. That is how you win in this league the Spurs are just that good.
The Jazz defended the high pick and roll and the side pick and roll very well tonight. This was a nice improvement from the last few nights. Super progress in that regard. Nice job by the coaching staff to have a shoot around today and make adjustments to the game plan.
Matt Bonner caused some problems for the Jazz with the pick and pop early in the game, but the Jazz adjusted and took that away as the game went on. It is a tough cover. Bonner hits the three’s when you try to help stop Parker and then when you are scared to leave Bonner Parker makes it always to the rack.
The Jazz made the right call to not foul with a 5 second differential with the game clock despite being down by 2. Your chances are better to get a stop than to get missed free throws and try to answer with threes on the other end.
Gordon Hayward made the wrong call to go to the rim with the Jazz down 5, you have to shot a three there because you have to assume the opponent is going to make 1 of the 2 free throws after you intentionally foul.
Those are going be talked about but they are not as important as a lot of other aspects of the game.
Josh Howard and CJ Miles were needed badly tonight after Gordon Hayward got two fouls in the first two minutes and Raja Bell was unavailable and they both stepped up. CJ had a really nice stretch or two and drew some fouls and played a good game tonight. Josh Howard had a positive impact on the game. He hit a shot or two, got to the foul line and had a nice steal late in the game.
Tim Duncan may be 15 years in the league but he still impact a tremendous amount of possessions on the defensive end of the floor. It is impressive how he takes away angles and makes players miss shots they think they can make
Jazz got 2 field goals in the final 5 minutes of the game – After Jefferson scored on back to back possessions with 5:04 left the Spurs decided to double team Jefferson in the post and the Jazz weren’t able to capitalize on that double team. From there the Jazz had little else to be able to run other than a pick and roll at the top with Harris and Jefferson and Jefferson missed that 15 jumper. The side pick and roll is not an option as the Spurs defend that as well as anyone in the NBA and Duncan covers too much ground. The disappointment is that Millsap was not in a position to take advantage of Bonner tonight. Bonner is a good defender but that is the match-up you would hope to exploit. Give the Spurs a ton of credit for their ability to play team defense.
Those were terrific minutes for Hayward, Burks, Favors and Kanter to experience.
I would like to see Favors take a step toward forcing himself on the floor. He is giving Coach Corbin a choice right now and I would like to see him force himself on the floor.
Greg Popvich manages a terrific game. He is so strong at how a game plays out.
Kanter’s defense on Tim Duncan was good tonight. What a neat experience for Kanter.
Sure there are a ton more thoughts – I will discuss at Tip Off or whenever they come up.
Jazz Bigs Combo tonight – Millsap and Jefferson played 33:16 were +2 = Kanter and Favors played 7:17 were -1; Jefferson and Favors played 4:17 were -4; Millsap and Kanter played 2:26 were -1.