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Utah Jazz

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – 3 quarters of great work crumbled under confluence of events and fatigue

David Locke

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SUMMARY:   After a spirited three-quarters of basketball a convergence of circumstances zapped the Jazz and the Nuggets blew the Jazz out.

  • This is about the Jazz and so I won’t be mentioning the Nuggets much. However, before I dig into everything from a Jazz perspective I was impressed by Denver.  They look like a team that missed the playoffs by a single game.  They are playing with an urgency they didn’t play with last year.  The defense is much better and being played as a group.  They are know where they need to rotate and they are getting to the spots.   They were impressive and have a really good shot to be a top 4 team in the West.

 

  • I thought the Jazz were really good tonight for 3 quarters. The defense was as good as it has been all season long.  They got better each quarter.   They were playing connected.  They had a plan on what do with Jokic.  The energy was great.  The Jazz have made slip in forcing turnovers this year and they had a season high in steals and that represented the increased effort and focus.  The Jazz played defense with a thrust.  Denver had 68 points thru 3 quarters.

 

  • The Nuggets were putting two guys on the ball on the pick and roll ball handler when he came off the pick and then bringing another if not two guys to cut off the roll to the basket. This blows up the timing both from the passer and the roller.  The answer is to get off the ball once you have brought both defenders to you and then attack and swing for a good look, likely a three.  The Jazz did this but didn’t make any shots.

 

  • At halftime the Jazz had 40% shots at the rim and 38% of shots as threes. That is great.  They just weren’t making.

 

  • Then the 4th quarter happened. There was a lot that happened here and it all converged into the wheels falling off, the axels sparking and the car crashing.

 

  • The Jazz were playing their 6th game in 6 cities. The ESPN scheduling charts where teams are at a significant disadvantage had the Jazz highlighted in this game.  The Jazz gave incredible effort for 3 quarters and when things went array they didn’t have a reserve tank to pull from.

 

  • The fatigue is obvious in the shooting numbers. The Jazz were 6 of 27 from three in the first three quarters and Jae Crowder had 4 of them.  The rest of the team was 2 for 18 from three.  In the fourth quarter the Jazz were 0 for 4.   Making the rest of the team 2 for 22 on the night.  That is unnatural.  That is fatigue.

 

  • Jae Crowder was great tonight. He played with incredible energy and nailed 4 threes.   His final +/- number is really misleading.  He was +14 thru 3 quarters and the Jazz lead by 5.

 

  • The 4th quarter had a bunch of weird events. Malik Beasley who is not shooting well hit a three to spark the Nuggets.  Quin went back to Donovan with 9:51 left and the Jazz up 4 and then Crowder the next possession when it was a 1 point game.   Then the officals missed a really easy call.  Murray lost the ball out of bounds and it should have been Jazz ball up 2 with 9:26 left and all the Jazz regulars back on the floor.   Instead, Karl Lane kicked the call.  The Nuggets in bounded and  Beasley hit another three to give the Nuggets a 2 points lead.  Beasley was 5 of his last 17 coming in and 1 of his last 7 from three.    Then after an Ingles turnover the Jazz played brilliant defense and Mason Plumlee with the shot clock about to expire throws up a prayer and it goes in.  His first three in 18 career attempts.  Nuggets by 5.   Then with it a 5 point game Donovan drives gets hurt and leaves the game.   The Jazz become disheartened and it gets out of control.   But that sequence was nuts.

 

  • There were two other sequences in the game where the Jazz and Nuggets got the exact same shots back to back and the Nuggets made it and the Jazz missed. One was Exum on a wide open corner 3 and then Harris had the same shot and he hit it. Then the same happened a few players later.

 

  • I really like most of what I saw tonight. My only concern is how the starting lineup can find the offensive flow it had at the end of last year.  In the 1st quarter they were down 13-9 in 5:14 seconds and were 3 for 9 shooting.  In the 3rd quarter they were even for 3:26 but again shot 3 for 9.   They figured it out last year, so I assume they will again this year but thru 9 games this group is having a hard time scoring.

 

  • This one was most likely in the L column when the schedule came out. It feels worse because it will be grouped into the 2 previous losses but tonight the Jazz showed all the signs of what they need to be to be a really good team.

David Locke enters his ninth year as the radio play-by-play voice of the Utah Jazz, having spent the majority of his career in radio in Salt Lake City and Seattle. In the summer of 2016, Locke created the Locked on Podcast Network which has podcast daily bite sized podcasts for every NBA and NFL team. A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Locke graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Locke and his wife have a son and a daughter.

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