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.

Emptying the Noggin — Memphis wins like pros

Summary: The Jazz got outdone in an old-school Grizzlies win led by Conley, Randolph and Gasol: 102-95.

  • This is not great. The Jazz have lost two home games to Western Conference teams that were below them in the standings — Oklahoma City and Memphis. These are games you need to win if you are trying to get home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. In both cases, the best players of the opponent (Westbrook, Conley and Gasol) were superior to the Jazz’s rising stars.
  • The Jazz are now just 8-14 against +.500 teams. This is well below their placement in the standings. The Jazz are terrific against teams that are below .500, 22-4, one of the best records in the league. However, they have not been able to get over the hump against the better teams with consistency.
  • Derrick Favors didn’t play tonight.
  • The Jazz played a lot of Hill, Hood, Hayward, Johnson and Gobert in the second half. This is a lineup that many of us thought would be the closing lineup for the Jazz this season. It had only played 13 minutes this season coming into the game and 10 of those were in November.
  • This is a great win by Memphis. They lost last night in Portland and had lost 5 of their last 8. They are on the second stop of a long, six-game road trip. Their veterans realized they had to win. They have so much experience together over the years and were able to summon all of it tonight in a much needed win.
  • Gasol was terrific tonight. Zach Randolph had a season high. Mike Conley dominated the fourth quarter, scoring nine points and seven in a row in the key portion of the fourth quarter.
  • The Jazz’s offense is 29th in the league in second quarters and tonight, the second quarter was another struggle: 5 of 19 shooting and just 16 points. I have no idea what is causing this. The Jazz were built entirely with the concept of being able to put out a complete 48-minute line-up, so it is strange that the Jazz are having such a stark issue in the second quarters of games.
  • For all my talk of offense, so far the issue tonight was on the defensive end. The pace of the game was 84 possessions which is incredibly slow. The Jazz play the slowest pace in the league at 93.5 possessions. The league average offensive rating is 104 pts per 100 possessions. Tonight, the Grizzlies’ offense was at 124 pts per 100 possessions and the Jazz were scoring at 116 pts per 100 possessions.
  • Alec Burks had another double-figure night with 15 points on just 4 of 5 shooting. However, his five turnovers were not good. The Jazz were +1 in the minutes Alec played at the point guard.
  • Gordon Hayward was only 4 of 13 tonight.
  • Rudy Gobert went 9 for 9 from the free throw line. Rudy had five FGA tonight; He had just three last time versus Memphis.
  • This is really an impressive win by the Memphis Grizzlies. They were pros tonight and understood how important the win was. Memphis wins the season series, 3-1, and avoid a losing streak on the road trip.
  • Losing to Memphis and OKC at home is not great. The Jazz are home for the next two.

Emptying the Noggin — The Jazz’s offense is just good enough to win

Summary:  The Jazz, led by all-star Gordon Hayward, beat the Lakers 96-88 in a non-descript game. I am so happy for Gordon. He committed himself to accomplishing this goal in the offseason and with tireless work, he has taken his game to a new level and has become an All Star. It is really a testament to commitment and work.

  • This one is not very complicated. The Jazz are a superior team to the Lakers, and while they didn’t play very well, they played well enough to never be threatened by the Lakers.
  • The Jazz are not making shots and the offense is not very smooth right now. They hit on just 6 of 26 from three and hit on only 41% of their shots.
  • Alec Burks and Joe Ingles were terrific off the bench. The team plays so well when Ingles is on the floor. Alec Burks played the fourth guard spot tonight (Hill, Hood, Ingles) and is bringing an offensive aspect to the team that the Jazz have not had this year.
  • Burks had 11 points in 13 minutes on 5 of 9 shooting.
  • Teams generally only play four guards and if Ingles and Burks are both going to play, then the Jazz are going to have to play a portion of the game without a true point guard. Thursday, the Jazz were +10 when they played without a true point guard so it was successful.
  • Hayward had 24 points and shot 9 of 10 on his free throws.
  • Rudy Gobert had a season-high six blocks and a new 10+ rebound streak has started.
  • This game really didn’t have much to it. The Jazz led by seven points at the end of one quarter. The lead was four points at the half, 10 at the end of the third, and they won by eight. The game was never truly in doubt.
  • Jazz closed with Hill, Ingles, Hayward, Diaw and Gobert. It is going to be different each night depending on match-ups.
  • Quin Snyder said after the game he doesn’t think the team is playing very well. He is accurate. They did play well enough to win tonight however.