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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Lack of urgency and detail leading to poor performance in Indiana

David Locke

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SUMMARY:  This portion of the road trip ends with a dud in Indiana as the Jazz get blow out by the Pacers

  • I really don’t know tonight.  On one hand the easy answer is it was the 5th game in a row on the road, the 3rd game in 4 nights, the 11th road game of the season, the most in the NBA and some teams have only played 13 games.  There is no question this team looked tired tonight.

 

  • The turnovers early were out of control. Indiana ranks 24th offensively after a made basket, 17th after a missed basket and they are the #4 team in the NBA after a turnover. The Jazz had 8 turnovers in the first quarter and the Pacers had 16 points.  According to clearningtheglass.com the Pacers average 1.7 pts off steals tonight.   The Pacers are not a particularly talented offensive team, what they do is create their offense with their defense and the Jaz fell right into the trap.

 

  • Why did the Jazz fall into the trap? Was it fatigue?  Was it because the Pacers are equal to more athletic at almost every position?  Were the Pacers strengths just that good?   It is hard to tell, but the 8 turnovers that Jazz committed in the first quarter gave the Pacers a ton of offensive confidence and that is what they needed tonight without Victor Oladipo.

 

  • The first play of the game the pass goes to Derrick Favors at the top. He gets heavy pressure and just wilts.  He doesn’t fit to hold his position.  He doesn’t swing through instead he gets pressure by Thad Young and he gets more and more off balance until he throws a weak pass toward Joe Ingles that is 8 paces off where Ingles would usually run the route and it is a turnover.  I am not trying to single Derrick out here.  Because it is the first play it is symbolic of how the Pacers took the game to the Jazz and the Jazz didn’t respond.   I am sure the other 7 turnovers in the quarter told a similar story.  The Pacers being the initiator and the Jazz not fighting to hold their ground.    There is a coolness that is not the same as the desperation the Jazz had last season when they were trying to survive.

 

  • The concern is the Jazz were never able to put the defensive clamps down on this game. This will be the 6th game this season the Jazz had a defensive rating over 117.   That is 10 points above the league average.  That is really bad.  6 out of 15 games this season the Jazz defense has gotten blitzed.  When you look at each one there is a story that makes sense.  Tonight you say 5th game of trip and earlier it was the Warriors, then it was Derrick Rose, it was 2 nights without Donovan so the offense was bad that lead to bad defense.  However, this is more of a trend than I would have ever imagined.

 

  • I will take one play as an example again. Tyreke Evans split a double team on a pick and roll in the 3rd  Alec Burks was guarding Tyreke.  Jae Crowder had Sabonis.   Sabonis came to set the pick for Tyreke and he split the defense.  That should never happen.  It is death in pick and roll defense.   Every principal of the defense is to not allow this.    Evans got by both and had a straight line to the basket.  Rudy Gobert came over the help terrifically and forced Evens to miss but somehow Sabonis had gotten underneath both Burks and Crowder and tipped it in.  This is another example of the lack of urgency and focus.   Both Burks and Crowder were between Sabonis and the basket when Evans split the double team and some how he ended up with the tip in with neither Burks or Crowder contesting.

 

  • The glaring area where the defense is different is the Jazz are not forcing turnovers like they did last year. Is that the new freedom of movement rule that has disrupted our ability to force turnovers?  Not sure, but maybe Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale were grabbers and holders in a way that has been removed from what they want to do.

 

  • Jazz were 7-10 at this point last year and had played 7 road games and 10 home games. This year we are 8-9 and have played 11 road games.

 

  • Ricky Rubio got his stroke going. He kept the Jazz in the game.  He was terrific.  He equaled a career high with 28 points.  He had great aggressiveness.   He nailed all of his three point shots and was successful in the mid-range.

 

  • The Jazz have played 17 games. 4 have been against teams below .500 and three of those have been against Dallas and they have played 11 of those on the road.  This is absurd.

 

  • The combined record of all the teams the Jazz have played this year is nuts. 163-120

 

  • Overall the Jazz need to tighten up. They do not have the desperation they had to close last year, nor is it realistic for them to be able to have that for 82 games.  That coupled with a brutal travel schedule and even harder opponent schedule is leading to nights which rock ones belief in the team and its future.   The wear and tear and schedule impact is real.

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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