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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Smart shots and wins aren’t easy

David Locke

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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN

SUMMARY:  Jazz overcome brutal starts to the 1st and 3rd quarter to win in Sacramento ending a streak of 5 straight road opening losses.

  • Nothing pretty here.  However, road openers are not easy wins no matter who you are playing and I could make a strong argument this is as good as Sacramento will be all year, fresh, fast, at home and geeked for the home crowd.

 

  • The Jazz defense was not good in this game. The Kings ran up the floor on the Jazz and played a great pick and roll game with DeAaron Fox and Willie Cauley Stein

 

  • The league is so good. The influx of talent over the last few years in an era where all the best athletes are playing basketball, the increase of international players and the lack of expansion means every team is really talented.  They won’t win a lot of games, but these teams are loaded with talent because the league has never been deeper.

 

  • The Jazz starters had a really bad night. The Kings started the night on a 18-4 run and then went on a 9-0 run to start the 3rd

 

  • Alec Burks, Dante Exum and Jae Crowder changed the game. Alec busted the top off the basket and hit a three and got the Jazz going.  Dante’s speed opened the game up and Jae Crowder hit a bunch of big shots.

 

  • Welcome to Rudy Gobert’s new world. Willie Cauley-Stein who has been criticized for taking nights off and being inconsistent was ready tonight and came at the Defensive Player of the Year with the intention of proving a point.  Cauley-Stein was terrific.  He went into Gobert’s body.  His pick and roll with Fox was a problem for the Jazz.   From a Kings standpoint it will be interesting to see if keeps that type of focus in games not involving the Defensive Player of the Year

 

  • The Jazz shot distribution was great. Unofficially, I had the Jazz with 80% of their shots as restricted area or 3 point shots.  Only 34% of their shots were three point shots but they live at the rim at 46% of their shots.  When teams have this shot distribution they win at a very high rate.

 

  • Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert were an offensive force. 14 of 17 from the field.  37 points on 17 shot attempts for Favors and Gobert.  That will guarantee a very high level offense if the Jazz can replicate that.

 

  • The bad starts to the 1st and 3rd were a bit unnerving and not being able to put the defensive clamps down was a bit surprising but to be able to have the depth and system to overcome those two things is what separates good teams.

 

  • Donovan Mitchell had a regular night. He struggled to get shots at the rim.  He turned it over a bit more.  It was a struggle.  Yet, his struggle was 24 points on 21 shots.  If that is the struggle that is a pretty special player.  If he hits one more three all of a sudden it is 27 and it is a big night.

 

  • Joe Ingles was vital in the 2nd quarter to get the Jazz rolling. They went under picks and he made them pay.  In the 2nd half the Kings no longer gave him the same looks.    22 points on 9 of 12 shooting.

 

  • AB 3 for 3 from three, Crowder 2 for 4 from three, Dante 1 for 3. These were vital.

 

  • Jazz offensive rating was 116. Defensive rating was 110 and Pace was crazy fast at 106.

 

  • Jazz were 3 of 16 on non-restricted area 2s, Kings were 15 of 36 on non-resticted area 2s.  I could make a strong argument that smart shot distribution won the Jazz the 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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