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Utah Jazz

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz dialed in for stretch run after Mile High win

David Locke

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Summary: Despite all indicators showing it would be nearly impossible the Utah Jazz go into Denver on the back end of a back to back and beat the Nuggets.

• This is an impressive win for the Utah Jazz. When the night started the Nuggets were the #1 team in the Western Conference. They had only lost 4 times all year at home and the teams on the road on a rest disadvantage were winning less than 30% of the time.

• However, the coaching staff and the players with the Utah Jazz have a wonderful synergy taking place. The coaches prepare remarkable game plans that go to minute details. The players are willing participants and they use a tremendous amount of mental energy to fulfill those plays. Then when it works the coaches work a little harder and the players listen a little more.

• Defensively the Jazz used the defensive player of the year to guard MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and not allow Denver to get catch and shoot three point shots. The Nuggets came into the game making 37% of catch and shoot 3s and only 30s of their threes off the dribble. Moreover, they have the 3rd highest rate of their threes being catch and shoot. So the Jazz single teamed Jokic and didn’t allow the Nuggets to get the rhythm catch and shoot threes. The Nuggets didn’t have a three in the first half of the game and finished with only 25 attempts for the game making 7.

• Jokic became undone in this game. Derrick Favors started on him and then Rudy Gobert switched onto him and Jokic got as frustrated as anyone in Denver had seen him all season. He committed back to back fouls out of frustration and was force to sit most of the game. To his credit and what an incredible talent he is despite having a miserable night he finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists to go with 5 turnovers.

• Offensively the Jazz took advantage of the over shifting Denver defense which allows the most corner 3s in the NBA to get 12 corner 3 looks and torch the Nuggets with Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefolosha.

• Thabo who is now 50% for the season from 3. He sparked the Jazz in the 2nd quarter after a first quarter where the Jazz struggled offensively but stayed in the game defensively.

• Donovan Mitchell hit a huge 3 at the buzzer at the end of the 3rd quarter the took the game from 8 back up to 11 and meant the Nuggets furious rally had only gained 4 points from the Jazz 15 points halftime lead.

• The Jazz held the Nuggets to a season low 2nd quarter points and first half points before the Nuggets scored 67 2nd half points got them back in the game. With the Jazz holding on shooters the Nuggets play a middle of the floor pick and roll game and attacked the rim relentlessly.

• The Jazz shot distribution was significantly superior for the 2nd straight night. The Jazz are the best analytical team in the NBA and it showed again tonight.

• Kyle Korver went into a time machine and got free for 10 three attempts and hit 6 of them. A few were wide open corner 3s

• A huge play in the game was a major block by Rudy Gobert of Nikola Jokic that ended up being overturned from a goaltending and then the Jazz got the jump ball. It was one of the most truly awesome defensive plays I have seen from Gobert.

• The Jazz are focused and dialed in for the final 21 games. There is a real chance the Jazz will be favored every game the rest of the season.

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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Utah Jazz

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David Locke

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Utah Jazz

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David Locke

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Utah Jazz

LOCKED ON JAZZ – Mitchell re-signs rookie extension, Favors returns to Utah, Clarkson comes back to lead the Bench

David Locke

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