EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Effort, Will, Free throws, awesome

• Incredible game. Amazing effort. So impressed by the Jazz game plan and how they were able to make the Warriors work and play the Jazz game. I also left incredibly impressed by the Warriors will to win. The effort and reaction by the Warriors late in this game is the signature of this team that is going to go down in history as the greatest ever if they win the championship

• On the final play of regulation with the game tied the Jazz were trying to get Steph Curry matched on Gordon Hayward. They brought Mack up to set the pick trying to get the Warriors to switch the pick. However, the Warriors had incredible communication on the play and when Mack started to the ball Draymond Green ran to defend the play leaving Lyles so that when the switch didn’t happen Mack ended up on Draymond Green. Green is so great defensively that it is not a mismatch. It is incredible that Green and Curry have the communication to make that play. The other aspect is you have to go late enough to make sure the Warriors don’t get another possession but when the Warriors blow the concept up there is no time to recover.

• On the final play for the Warriors Klay Thompson misses the three and the rebound bounds strangely on the sideline. Booker had the block out assignment and didn’t get contact with Livingston. Hayward might have been able to make a bigger play on the ball, but he was concerned about getting back to Barnes. Joe Ingles had run out on the shooter, Thompson, and proceeded to run to the front court and when the Warriors got the rebound he was no longer in the screen. So when the ball went back out Rodney Hood was stuck in between guarding both Steph Curry on the far side and Klay Thompson and he was in the middle guarding neither. Lots of things going on here but it is these winning plays where lots of things could have been a little different and won the game.

• Derrick Favors tweeked his knee early in the game and then when he got clobbered by Andrew Bogut going to the basket he re-injured the knee and was not able to return. The Jazz played the entire last part of the 3rd quarter and the entire 4th and overtime without Derrick. I thought the foul by Bogut was the definition of flagrant.

• Jazz missed 13 of 29 from the free throw line. The missed free throws are killer. Mack had 2 to win the game hit 1. Gordon missed two. Gobert got hack a gobert and missed both.

• I would love access to the NBA officials records. I am not sure if Kane Fitgerald is really bad or if I just have it in my head that he is not very good and therefore every time he makes a call that is wrong it reconfirms my belief and so I am further the stereotype in my head. The offensive foul on Gordon was bad. Draymond Green kept a ball alive for a Warriors possession with 2 feet standing out of bounds. These calls aren’t hard and he missed them. Maybe I am wrong, maybe he is a perfectly good official.

• Jazz defense was great tonight. They made Steph work all night. They were terrific executing the plan. The Warriors were out of their element for most of the night and the Jazz had them on the unnerved. The Warriors were playing a half court game. The Jazz were getting the defense set every possession. The Warriors were into their 3rd and 4th options on plays exactly as the Jazz wanted.

• The Jazz played crazy hard tonight. This team they are playing has a real chance to be the greatest ever. This was the second time they gave them a fight for their lives in this building.

• Gobert gives Curry trouble. He is bothered by his length both on switches and around the basket

• Draymond Green’s effort is incredible

• Re-watching the final 5 minutes of regulation on offense
Hayward hits a nice fadeaway over Green with 4:51 left
Steph fouls Gobert on an early pick and Gobert hits one of two free throws
Hayward gets the 1 on 1 on Curry and misses a fadeaway jumper
Jazz go through more regular set and Mack misses a tough runner on the left baseline
Hood brings it up with horns set. Slow to get into play nothing develops prayer 40 foot three by Hood
Hack a Gobert and he misses both
Hood drives the lane gets fouled, the Warriors broadcast agreed, no call turnover as ball goes out of bounds
Hayward hits a huge three on the Hayward/Hood pick the Warriors got caught up going under
Hayward turns it over trying to get it from Mack
Hayward goes 1 on 1 on Thompson, Curry cuts off the path, Hayward bouces to Mack who penetrates and misses floater in the lane
Mack misses one of the two free throws that would have secured the game.
Then the final play we talked about already

That sequence is not as bad as it felt when it happened. 12 possessions. 5 were success buckets or to the line, one bad call, a busted play, a turnover, a missed shot

• The Warriors are on a mission to get the record. The Jazz made them uncomfortable all night. Yet, on a back end of a back to back they battle and made every play they had to make. The Jazz were really really good but they just made a few mistakes and those mistakes are enough to keep the Warriors breathing and if they have breathe they find a way to win.

• Super night at the arena. What an atmosphere and what an effort.

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Pure domination

• Great job by the Jazz on all fronts tonight. On the floor they were brilliant and the video tribute to Kobe was as well done as I have seen.

• Jazz ended this game immediately. A 11-2 run to start. Up by 18 at the end of 1. Jazz lead by 27 at the half and then cruised to the largest win in franchise history. 48 points. It was also the largest Lakers loss in franchise history.

• Rodney Hood stole the show tonight with a 30 point first half. He hit a franchise record 8 threes in the first half and had it rolling at an insane level. Hood went 11 of 13 in the first half for his 30 points. Lakers played bad defense early and Hood got a rhythm and then there was no stopping him.

• Kobe started face guarding Hood with a few minutes left in the first half. It was really absurd. It wasn’t basketball. He faced guarded Hood to the point where on a 2 on 1 fast break he guarded Hood allowing Mack to score an uncontested layup. They got in a battle in Hawaii. This seemed to be some carryover.

• Jazz set a franchise record with 17 three pointers tonight.

• The jazz defense has been terrific for a long time. 3rd best since Favors came back. Tonight was another example. They held the Lakers to 33% in the first half and 33% from three. At the end of the night the Lakers shot just 30.6%. I know the Lakers are awful but that is really awesome.

• Kobe was awful. He is a shadow. It’s hard to watch

• Favorite part of the night was AK telling me he just learned to ski and how much he loves it. Only 3 days and it is my favorite he said. This might not have surpassed when he went to break and I said Jazz up 47 and he said great number.

• Solid win. Just utter dominance of a poor team. Playoff push continues. Warriors in town

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Defense Defense Defense

• Jazz have been defensively elite for a while now and tonight they showed it again. The Jazz have been the 3rd best defense in the last 15 games and the 4th best since Favors returned. Tonight Minnesota came into the game scoring 109 pts a game since Feb 1st. The jazz held them to 84 points.

• Over the last 31 games the Wolves had been shooting 49% and had been over 50% in 15 of the last 31. Tonight they shot 38%.

• The Jazz had some very specific defensive game plans and they worked. Hayward unnerved Wiggins throughout the game. Wiggins wasn’t able to get to his go to moves and was forced to play in areas where he wasn’t as comfortable.

• The Wolves played 2OT the night before in Washington so they were not at their peak but the Jazz never gave them a chance to get comfortable. The Jazz started the defense early and never backed off and that is what you have to do when playing a team that is in a compromised situation.

• The key part of the game was when Ricky Rubio checked out. The Jazz were up one and by the time he came back in the game the Jazz were up 11. The story of the Wolves season is that they are positive with Rubio on the floor and negative -270 for the season which is hard to fathom. Until you look at tonight and Rubio was +7 and they were -16 when he was off the floor.

• Rodney Hood got rolling again tonight with a 7 for 11 and a few Hoodie Goodies in the paint. Minnesota is an awful defensive team so lets see if he can replicate it against some better teams.

• The Wolves are a free throw team not a three point team. The Jazz kept them off the free throw line for most of the night. By not being a three point team it meant they tried to attack the inside and Gobert and Favors dominated the early portions of the game. Gobert had a huge impact on the game in the 1st quarter.

• Favors hit some mid range jumpers after the Jazz struggled early to get the offense going. Favors was a beast on the pick and roll to the rim from the top and on the mid range jumper. 19 points.

• The Jazz and the Wolves opened the game each missing their first 6 shots and we went to the first time out with the Wolves ahead 4-0.

• Quin Snyder worked with Shelvin Mack at the shoot around today on the escape dribble and living for longer possessions rather than trying to have every possession end with his pass or his play. Tonight Mack was much better with the ball and didn’t get himself caught in the same predicaments he has been in the last few games. He had just 2 turnovers rather than the 17 he had over the last 3 games.

• TREY LYLES !!!!!!

• 2 more threes for Joe. His bench shooting coupled with Neto’s shooting has been really important. Jazz shot 6 for 11 off the bench from 3 tonight .

• Gordon worked his way though the game. He had 0 points at halftime. He then burst out for 11 of the first 14 points in the 4th quarter and finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists. The consistency is incredible .

• 3-2 on the 5 game swing. Huge step toward making the playoffs. Need to win the games we are favored to win the rest of the way – Lakers, Wolves, Suns, Clippers, Mavericks and Lakers. That gets us to 42 and probably in the 7th seed.