EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
Summary: Jazz do what they need to late in the game to beat the Wizards 128-124 on a night when they couldn’t get their defense to impact the game
- The Jazz and the Wizards played in DC a few weeks ago and the Wizards seemed disinterested, lacking any defensive system and togetherness. Tonight, they were the exact opposite they came with great energy, a specific plan and high level of energy. In turn, the Jazz found themselves in a tussle till the final minutes
- The Jazz lead the game 39-30 at the end of the 1st quarter and then 70-62 at the half. In the third quarter the Jazz ran off on a 13-2 run and it felt like that could be the night. Instead, the Wizards answered with a 13-0 run of their own and it was 92-90 at the end of the 3rd The game stayed close all 4th quarter and it took clutch plays for the Jazz to win it
- Defensively the Jazz never had an impact on the game. This is the same approach that caused the Jazz problems against the Atlanta Hawks. The Wizards were able to play with both their bigs outside the three point line removing Rudy from the middle of the floor and the Jazz wing defenders were unable to stop the penetration to the basket. Similar to the Hawks game when the Hawk took 40 three point shots the Wizards took 37 threes and took 33 shots at the rim.
- The Jazz usually have a considerable advantage is shot distribution and tonight they didn’t. This is a significant advantage for the Jazz being negated.
- The Jazz have not been very good offensively in end of tight games. Tonight they were a bit better. The Jazz committed back to back turnovers and they trailed 116-114 and the Wizards had the ball with 2:32 left. Jabari Parker tried to go one on one with Donovan Mitchell and committed an offensive foul. Then the Jazz went back to their normal offense and Joe Ingles found Rudy Gobert for a tough hoop and the foul at the rim. Beal missed a 4 foot and Ricky Rubio came back with a three pointer. Portis missed a three that would have given Washington the lead and then Donovan Mitchell hit a floater to put the Jazz up 122-118.
- Donovan had 35 points tonight on 13 of 23 shooting and added 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
- The Jazz were without Derrick Favors and Raul Neto for most of the night. Favors had back spasms and Raul Neto was out with concussion like symptons. This is the 4th time in 4 years Neto has been out with concussion related issues. That is a bit disconcerting.
- Bobby Portis caused the Jazz problems tonight with 6 three pointers in 12 attempts. He has 28 points and 13 rebounds as well as 4 assists. He is a restricted free agent and it will be interesting to see how much he gets paid. Washington traded Otto Porter to get him.
- The Jazz missed Raul Neto’s positive plus minus mintues
- The Jazz went 18 for 18 from the line and 13 of 13 in the 4th
- The Jazz made a bunch of hustle play blocks that in what was a one possession game now seem big. Gobert blocked a fast break from behind, Mitchell got Parker on a cut to the basket and Crowder recovered to block Portis.
- Joe Ingles had another 10 assist game.
- Bradley Beal was terrific tonight. He played with a ton more vigor than he did in DC with 34 points on 13 of 25 shooting.
- Jazz need wins and they got one tonight.
LOCKED ON JAZZ – Why so passive? How Harden blows up the Jazz defense? Donovan Mitchell 2nd year playoffs
The Utah Jazz are getting ready for Game #3 v. the Houston Rockets. David Locke, the radio voice of the Utah Jazz and Jazz NBA Insider takes a look at why the Jazz looked so passive in Game 2 in Houston. Then Locke digs into what makes Harden so unique and why he has blown up the #1 defense in the NBA. Locke also takes a look at what other 2nd year players like Donovan Mitchell have done in their 2nd year playoff season.
LOCKED ON JAZZ – How good is Houston? Jazz can’t hit open shots. Facebook Live questions
The Utah Jazz have been blown out in both of the first two games of their first round series with the Houston Rockets. David Locke, the radio voice of the Utah Jazz and Jazz NBA Insider tries to figure out what has happened and why it has happened. Plus, it is a live show so Locke takes your questions from Facebook live.
EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Opening stretch tells the strory
Summary: The Jazz start poorly, the Rockets pounced and Harden was amazing it all lead to a Rockets blow out of the Jazz.
- The Jazz opened the night turning the ball over on 4 of their first 8 possessions. The Rockets scored 10 points on those 4 turnovers and that would tell the story of the night. The Jazz trailed 12 to 4 at the first time out.
- Then Harden went nuts. He is incredible. He never misses a read. In Game 1 the Jazz took away the step back and free throws. In the first quarter he had as many step backs and as many free throws as he had all of the first game. I really have no idea how you are supposed to guard him, He was 5 of 11 on step back tonight. He makes those at 40%. You have to take that away but the only way to do that is to play him from behind and force him into a drive.
- He has become the perfect modern player. The league values the three. He can make it at nearly 40%. The league knows you can’t afford to have a 40% three point shooter take 15 to 20 threes a game so you have to play him in this strange manner to force him to drive. Harden would take 20 threes if you let him. No one has ever had his three point shooting step back coupled with his handle and his passing. This just destroys the defense. When you force him to drive he has the floater game and he reads the defense perfectly.
- The Jazz defense failed in transition tonight. According to cleaningtheglass the Rockets averaged 1.7 pts per transition and only .94 in the half court. The .94 is a little above average but the Rockets are usually much better than that in the halfcourt. They are the #2 halfcourt team in the NBA. So the Jazz halfcourt defense was actually ok tonight.
- The Jazz offense is where things should be most concerning. The Jazz were not able to score with regularity against the Rockets in the playoffs last year, they weren’t able to score against them in the regular season and they haven’t been able to score against them tonight.
- The Rockets offense averages about 116 pts per 100 possessions. Even if the Jazz have a great defensive night hey will be around 108 but the Jazz offense v. the Rockets all season has been below 1 point per possessions. Until that is fixed it is hard see a scenario where the Jazz defense can hold the Rockets offense down far enough to win a game.
- The talk around the Rockets is that they are a better team than a year ago. A year ago they won 65 games and were a Chris Paul hamstring or a glutton of missed 3s away from winning the title.
- The Jazz average .74 pts in the half court
- Rubio and Crowder are a combined 2 of 14 on open threes.
- The Jazz came into the night 22 of 100 on above the break three point shots v. the Rockets this year. It continued again tonight as the Jazz shot 6 of 27 on above the break 3 and some of those were late.
- The Jazz have lost the first two games by 52 points. The Rockets look to be capable of winning the title
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