EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
SUMMARY: The Oklahoma City Thunder sweep the season series from the Utah Jazz with a 98-89 win and move 3 games in the loss colulm plus the tiebreaker ahead of the Jazz in the standings.
• The Jazz defense was terrific tonight. The defense was every bit good enough to win the game and beat almost any team in the league. However, the offense couldn’t get going at all.
• The Jazz missed a ton of threes in the first half and overall or the night just 13 of 43. The Jazz were 2 of 10 in the first quarter and 3 of 14 in the 2nd quarter and trailed by 13 at the half.
• The Thunder is not a team you can come from behind against. They are 22-1 when they lead by 15 in the 3rd quarter and 34-0 when they lead by 10 in the 4th quarter
• The Jazz really missed Ricky Rubio tonight. In the three previous games v. the Thunder Ricky Rubio had run 126 pick and rolls and the Jazz averaged 1.25 pts per pick and roll. In the 67 picks Donovan Mitchell has run v the Thunder prior to tonight was .55 and Joe Ingles in 43 picks and the Jazz averaged .825 pts per point and roll.
• The Jazz pick and roll numbers tonight could not have been good. I will be really interesting to see what they are but it didn’t feel like they were very good. The other thing that has happened over the last three games is that the Joe Ingles/Derrick Favors has disappeared. This league is incredible in its scouting and the Jazz were killing people with that combination but New Orleans denied it in the second match-up, Memphis stopped it and against OKC it yielded nothing. I would also guess the Jazz shot quality was really good tonight they just didn’t make them
• The Thunder bring two defenders to the ball and suck in on the roll man. If you skip the ball and move it then you get good look threes. In the 2nd quarter the Jazz took 11 straight shots from threes and I am pretty certain if we went back to watch all of them they were good shots. However, the Jazz made just 2 of the 11. Sometimes this is as simple as a make or miss league.
• Huge sequence in the third quarter when Jae Crowder broke at the 45 for a wide open layup but missed it and Dennis Schroeder took it the other way for a layup and a game that should have been a 4 point game with a raucous building became an 8 point game.
• The Jazz defensive plan was to get the ball out of Paul George’s hands and make the other guys make plays. Paul George 2 for 8 and the Jazz were able to slow down the Thunder offense.
• I talked with Billy Donovan before the game and he talked about how much better the offense has been but shots had not been falling. Tonight they got a boost from Dennis Schroeder who had been in a miserable slump as he went 10 for 18 after shooting 32% over the last 10 games.
• Bottom line the Thunder swept the series from the Jazz and now lead by 3 in the loss colulm with the tiebreaker. It is beginning to get hard to image how the Jazz catch the Rockets, winners of 9 straight, the Blazers, winners of 7 of 10 and the Thunder and that leaves the Jazz with a ceiling of the 6th seed. One spot higher than they sit now with the Clippers in 6th
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