EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
Summary: The Jazz win streak is at 10 after an incomprehensible win over the San Antonio Spurs 101-99.
The Utah Jazz trailed this game by 13 with 9:05 left in the game. Greg Popovich coached teams were 775-3 when leading by 13 or more in the 4th They have now lost 4.
- There are so many storylines to this win, the 10th straight for the Jazz.
- The biggest is that as Rudy Gobert went to the scorers table to check in for Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles and Derrick Favors combined on back to back pick and roll baskets and Quin Snyder went to talk with Rudy Gobert about what they should do. According to Quin Snyder’s post-game Rudy told Quin to let Derrick finish the game and Rudy went back to the bench. Rudy is the signature piece of the Jazz franchise. He took that role from Derrick over the past years. Derrick has been relegated by injuries and circumstances to a complementary role. For Rudy to show that level of respect for how Derrick is playing right now is a mammoth moment for this team. It is a message from Rudy to his teammates that this is about winning. It is a message to Derrick that we can do this together. Derrick drives home from the game tonight with a connection to this team at a level higher than he has in a long time. I really think this is a big moment.
- Royce O’Neale, the undrafted free agent played 38 minutes tonight and throughout the night his defense was incredible. However, on the final play he played some of the best defense on two different players for over 15 seconds. First, the 40 year old future hall of famer Manu Ginobili tried to get O’Neale to bite on every legendary pump fake and O’Neale didn’t bite once. Then Ginobili was forced to pass the ball out to Kyle Anderson who waved the offensive players off as though he was going to take O’Neal one on one and he got stymied again. O’Neale’s defense was remarkable.
- Donovan Mitchell was having a miserable night. The Spurs defense had taken away everything he does well. They never let him get free for catch and shoot threes. He couldn’t get to the rim with Pau Gasol protection the paint. Sidenote – Gasol was terrific tonight. Mitchell kept trying the off the bounce three, then trying a floater, then trying a new way to get to the basket. He was 6 of 24 from the field when he brought the ball up the floor with 4:53 left and rose for a pull up 3 that tied the game at 87.
- It was unreal.
- Then he made the play of the night down by one with 1:00 left he stripped the ball from Kyle Anderson and took it the length of the floor for a layup Jazz up 1. (notice he didn’t dunk) Then on the same pick and roll play that had caused him such misery all night he stopped and popped from 18 feet out and put the Jazz up 1 with :39 seconds left. He also was 4 of 6 at the line down the stretch. For a rookie to be having this tough a night and then still have the guts to pull the trigger on those plays is why he is really special. I mean really special.
- The Spurs were great tonight. How are the Spurs 35-22 and how are they the #2 defense in the NBA. That was clear if you watched the game tonight. They were marvelous. They play the game with such detail. They had a game plan and they took the Jazz completely out of everything they have been doing in the win streak. The Jazz hit threes in the first half and then simply couldn’t get them in the 2nd The jazz went 1 for 5 from three in the third quarter and 4 of 22 overall. The Spurs had the Jazz totally out of whack. They weren’t leaving shooters. They played the pick and roll with two guys. They never let the drive and kick game get going.
- Joe Ingles had another super game. He had 10 in the first quarter and 15 in the first half and finished with his 3rd straight 20 point game.
- Quin Snyder came close to play a 6 man rotation. He played Crowder 33 minutes off the bench and every starter but Favors over 31 minutes.
- Jazz only had 16 assists
- The three point shooting defense was great again tonight as the Spurs made just 6 of 25 and the Jazz had another strong shooting night from three at 11 of 24. This has been the story of the win streak.
- Final numbers had the Jazz offense around a 105 rating and Spurs around a 103. Great defensive night for the Jazz.
- 10 in a row.
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