EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Let’s go to Minnesota

• On to Minnesota

• Minnesota will determine this 5 game road trip. If the Jazz win and go 3-2 that will be remarkable and the Jazz will be in good position to make the playoffs. If they fall in Minnesota then they have given one of the big wins back and they will need Dallas to fall in games where they aren’t favored or Dallas could get away before we see them on April 11th.

• OKC is really good. They blitzed the Jazz and the Jazz didn’t have a great deal of fight to get back from the deficit. OKC was impressive how they opened the first and third quarters.

• The Jazz are turning the ball over at an alarming rate. They are 30th in the league at taking care of the ball over the last 10 games. I know that there is no season long correlation between winning and turnovers. However, the turnovers are impacting the Jazz ability to defend. Moreover, the reason there is no correlation is because those teams that are high turnovers teams are usually getting some sort of dividend from the risk they are taking. It doesn’t feel like we are gaining that element of the turnovers.

• Some trends continued that need to be rectified. Both Gobert and Hood struggled early again. I don’t think it is a coincidence that these are two first time starters at game 72 and they are struggling. This is there first time through a season. Both of there bodies are probably wasted and they have no idea where to find the juice they had earlier in the year.

• Gobert had 2 fouls in 1:50 and 3 fouls in 4 minutes. Teams are aware of Gobert and being very physical with him. Steven Adams is a mammoth man and Rudy does not have a base to deal with him.

• Jazz did a decent job of staying in the game in the first quarter after getting blitzed early but the end of the 2nd quarter they wilted under the pressure and the Thunder ran away.

• Quin pulled the rip cord pretty early on this one knowing the importance of the other games coming.

• Trey Burke had 17 4th quarter points. Most by a Jazz player this year in a quarter.

• See you in Minnesota


• Incredible comeback win for the jazz. Down 18. Knocked completely out of their game in the first half. They understood 48 minutes and the value of effort and fought all the way back to win it at the end. Jazz lost the lead at 9-8 in the first quarter and didn’t regain it until mid-way through the 4th quarter.

• The Rockets have been one of the best teams in the NBA at closing games this year. They have won 25 games that were within 5 points with 5 minutes left. The Jazz on the other hand have lost 23 games that were within 5 minutes with 5 to play. Tonight the Jazz utterly outplayed the Rockets to close the game.

• Rodney Hood, had a tough night and then when it mattered most made the pass of the game. Jazz didn’t call a timeout and in a tie game ran what was supposed to be a 2/3 pick and roll likely trying to get a switch of Harden onto Gordon. When that didn’t materialize Hood aggressively went to the basket and dished to Favors. This is such a great play when put into the perspective of the game. Hood wasn’t passive. He didn’t try to pull up. He didn’t play scared and duck out of the play.

• Trevor Ariza was face guarding Gordon Hayward all night. Hayward has learned how to play through an entire games. He was knocked out of portions of the game but at the end of the night he finished with an incredible line 22-5-6 and was the best player on the floor in the final portion of the game. He demanded the game went his way

• Trevor Booker was terrific. He brought an energy but he also made plays. He always plays hard and always brings the team a level of confidence, but you also have to make plays. Tonight he made plays. He made passes, he was available for dunks. He defended and rebounded. He made plays and he brought his usual package of Trevor.

• Quin was really masterful tonight with player management. We all sit and watch and think we would play another guy here or there and use another guy in one way or another. I’ll be honest there is no chance I would have done what worked tonight. That is the feel a coach has and that was really masterful.

• Late in the game Quin put Gordon on Harden. Hood had been the primary assignment but for the final portions of the game it was Gordon guarding Harden and he caused him a ton of trouble. He forced a turnover. He made him give it up. On another play on a switch Mack got him to commit a 24 second violation

• How have I not mentioned Derrick. Beast mode.

• Quin didn’t call a timeout on the final play. The Jazz had talked about what they wanted on the final play in the previous 20 and he trusted the guys to make the right play and put the ball in their hands. Cool growth.

• Rockets opened the game hard trapping the Jazz on every pick and roll and every interchange it caused the Jazz a ton of problems. They forced turnovers, it accelerated what the Jazz were doing and it caused the Jazz to get knocked out of their rhythm. In turn they were turning it over, missing open shots and they were a mess. The Rockets had complete control of the game in the first half.

• The second half the Jazz offense started to make some plays and it got the Rockets into a half court game and then the Rockets offense slowed down and the Jazz were able to put their defensive claws into the Rockets. This game was a great example of how offense impacts defense.

• The defense was really very good all night. It kept the Jazz in the game. If being down 18 was really in the game.

• Ariza is a catch and shoot guy and the Jazz made him play a lot of the game on the bounce. Beverley is their best three point shooter and he never got going. When you start to take away those options it makes them very one dimensional

• Harden is really incredible. He is why the Rockets have been so great late in games and the Jazz handled it

• JB Bickerstaff runs some great out of timeout plays

• Huge win for the Jazz. Tremendous effort. Super growth for team and individuals and makes a big improvement on the Jazz playoff positioning.