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Utah Jazz

EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Transition defense, Rubio, Favors and adjustments

David Locke

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SUMMARY: Utah Jazz blow out the Sacramento Kings in an all-around performance with numerous adjustments that worked well.

  • The key to playing the Kings is not just keeping them out of transition but stopping them when they are in transition.  The Jazz did a good job of that in the first two meetings but when they got in transition they scored 1.6 points per possession and 1.5 pts per possession.  Tonight at halftime they were at .7 pts per possession in transition.   By the end of the night they were 1.2 but lots of that was in blowout play.

 

  • The Kings run. Only 4 times before tonight had they played more than 80% of their possession in the half court.  2 of those 4 were against the Jazz.  The difference tonight was when they Jazz were in transition defense they got back a bit faster, avoided cross matches and were better in both halfcourt and transition defense.

 

  • The Jazz started Jae Crowder to matchup with the Kings. In the first two games the Jazz were -27 in 10 minutes with the starters on the floor.   In the last match-up the Jazz started Crowder for the third quarter and it worked so they did for the game tonight for the matchup.

 

  • Derrick Favors was fabulous tonight. The Jazz made a conscience effort to engage Favors in the offense tonight and he had an impact.  While the high pass is great, the skill Favors has that separates him from the rest of the leagues bigs is his ability to catch at about 7 feet and get to the rim to finish.   He can’t do that when he is on the floor with Gobert because Gobert’s man will clog the lane and cut him off.   When Favors is able to play without Gobert and often with Ingles he is able to be a real force rolling to the basket.   In addition, the last two nights Favors hit his mid range shot.

 

  • More than his scoring Favors did everything else tonight. Marvin Bagley is a load.  There were numerous times tonight when Bagley would have had offensive rebound against almost anyone else in the NBA.  Favors battled him.   Plus, Derrick had 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocked shots.  And he was +14.   Favors was great tonight.

 

  • Last year, one of the reasons for the Jazz success was how great the offense was when Favors was at center. This year the Jazz have been missing an inordinate amount of shots when Favors has been at center.   By engaging Derrick more hopefully that will open up some more makes.

 

  • Ricky Rubio had his 2nd largest scoring half of his career in the first half when he scored 23 points. Quincy Lewis, former Jazzman and former Timberwolves broadcaster, told us last year that Ricky is a completely different player when makes a layup or two early in the game.  Tonight fit as well.  When he sees the ball go in on the first shots he really avalanches into a nice game.   His numbers over the last 6 games are showing signs of being back to the Ricky Rubio who clicked in last year.

 

  • Rudy Gobert was hugely impactful in transition defense and on the offensive end. He made a bunch of plays attacking the basket from 8 to 15 feet out and getting to the rim.  He finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists.  The 5 assists were a season high.

 

  • Without Donovan Mitchell, Quin made some other moves that worked nicely. Raul Neto played the back up point guard and for almost the entire game he and Rubio were the point guards.   Dante Exum played almost exclusively as the 2 guard and Alec Burks played a bunch of minutes with Neto and Exum as the 3.   Plus, Grayson Allen got 13 minutes of action.

 

  • Raul Neto was terrific. He pushes the ball in a different manner than the Jazz other guards.  Most noticeably, in a willingness to pass ahead up the win to another ball handler so they can make an early force on the defense.  When this is AB or Dante it has an impact.   Neto just plays the game with a pizazz and a passion.  He is limited by his lack of physical presence but everything he controls he does really well.

 

  • Dante Exum looked more comfortable playing off actions and getting the ball in the midst of a possession rather than to start a possession.

 

  • Jazz needed this game. The Kings were on a back to back off an emotional game the night before and weren’t sharp.  Therefore, the Jazz got a rhythm going and were able to play the juice and confidence they have been lacking.   In this early stretch of games the Jazz have not played any teams that weren’t playing well.   Tonight they took a team that off and pummeled them.

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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