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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz even series at 1 with superlative performances

David Locke

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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
Summary: Jazz peak out on resiliency overcoming a 19-0 run to win in Oklahoma City and even the series at 1-1
• Down 2-0 in a series and you are on life support. That is where the Jazz found themselves after they self-destructed and the Thunder went on a 19-0 run to take what felt like a commanding lead heading to the 4th quarter.

• However, the Jazz lead by Donovan Mitchell 13 4th quarter points, amazing defense from Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, dominating work on the glass to preserve defensive stops and a mammoth Ricky Rubio three the Jazz took control of the game late and won in Oklahoma City.

• Donovan Mitchell is really something. He continues to amaze. At this point I really have no idea what we are watching but it is awesome and it isn’t nearly a complete product.

• The Jazz held the Thunder to 6 of 27 shooting in the 4th quarter. The big three of the Thunder were a combined to 0 for 13 in the 4th quarter.

• The adjustments made by Quin Snyder were fabulous. His whole message to the team this week was it is one thing to be prepared but it is another to feel there defense and what it really does to you. Now that you have felt it this is what we need to do.

• The Jazz guards stop over dribbling and when the Thunder had two players on the ball they got off the ball and started the Jazz ball movement. In game one series the Jazz threw 60 passes fewer than their average. I don’t have the numbers on tonight yet, but it felt like the Jazz were back doing their thing on the offensive side.

• The Jazz got a middle pick and roll game going and Favors was a large part of it and he did an amazing job. What a night by Favors. Two corner threes, pure dominance inside and then showed his basketball smarts and array of skills to help the offense make its adjustments.

• The whole Jazz team executed at a stunningly high level tonight.

• Steven Adams got in foul trouble early in the 1st quarter and then Gobert got in foul trouble. From there Derrick Favors dominated the game on the offensive rebounds. He had 8 offensive rebounds and completely dominated the game inside.

• The Jazz opened the game scoring 18 of 26 points in the restricted area.

• The offensive adjustments got the Jazz 29 three point attempts and 14 of those were corner 3 attempts. The Jazz hit on 8 of the 14 corner 3s. Ricky Rubio was 4 for 4 from the corner 3.

• Russell Westbrook went 1 for 10 on shots not in the restricted area or three point shots.

• Rubio had 22 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists and executed Quin Snyder’s offensive play to perfection.

• The Jazz lead the game 67-58 and were in control when Rubio missed a deep 3, probably not a great shot with 8 on the shot clock, then on the next possession with a defensive contest he didn’t get across the half line in time and then two possessions later Gobert threw an outlet pass to Rubio without enough pace and Rubio didn’t go the ball instead Westbrook stole it and the Thunder cut a 9 point game into a 1 point game and then it expanded to a 19-0 run as the Jazz continued to have break downs and looked completely overwhelmed.

• Out of that the Jazz answered with their own 18-3 run sparked by Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell had 13 points in the 4th quarter, but the biggest play of the night may have been his pass to Ricky rubio for a three that gave the Jazz a 92-89 lead with 4:00 left. At this point Paul George was guarding Donovan and they were getting Carmelo switched onto Donovan. Mitchell called for the pick and everyone thought the Jazz rookie was going to drive instead he swung a bullet to Ricky Rubio in the left corner and Rubio buried the three.

• The run by the Jazz was sparked Donovan Mitchell’s energy and leadership. Reports are he was all over the huddle leading the guys as well.

• Saturday night is going to be something else in Salt Lake City. The Thunder are going to come at the Jazz. It will be interesting to see what Billy Donovan does to adjust. He went to a pure switch tonight and it took the Jazz out of what they were doing for a while, but I am not sure that is an answer for the entire game.

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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