SUMMARY: The Jazz fall in the fourth quarter to the New York Knicks, 106-101, despite holding the lead most of the night.
- When Rudy Gobert goes down for a month, the question is whether or not the Jazz will be able to hold their own on the defensive end. Tonight, they were not able to do the job against the Knicks. A strong offensive night kept the Jazz in the game and gave them the lead for most of the night.
- The Jazz equaled a franchise record with 17 made 3-point field goals.
- The offense rating was a 113 for the night, one of the best of the season. The Jazz scored 60 points and had a season high assists and 3-pointers in the first half. The ball was popping and they played a very strong, connected first half of basketball.
- That went away a bit in the fourth quarter, but some of this was based on match-ups. In the first half, the Jazz were getting into the paint and then swinging the ball. Quin calls it driving with your eyes out. In addition, they were going at Porzingas or Kanter on nearly every play. Hornacek was trying to hide Kanter, but then the Jazz got Porzingas out on the floor and made him defend in space. The Jazz ran some great action with Rubio and Jerebko that forced Porzingas to cut off the ball handler and then try to get back to Jerebko and he is not fast enough to do it.
- However, in the fourth quarter the Knicks didn’t play Kanter. This meant they were able to make Favors guard Porzingas and this eliminated the Jazz being able to isolate him on the outside. It meant that Jerebko was no longer guarding him and Jerebko did a really solid job on him most of the night. Ironically, on a night when the Jazz exploited Porzingas for much of the night, Kristaps exploited Favors’ lack of foot speed on one of the key baskets of the night, making his first 3 of the night.
- There were a ton of loose balls and it seemed they all bounced to the Knicks. I always have felt getting loose balls is a talent. It has to do with athleticism, quickness and anticipation. Of course, a level of “want to” but I really believe the first three are bigger. Were the Knicks just more athletic than the Jazz and that is why they got the loose balls, or did the all just bounce badly?
- The Jazz’s margin for error right now with three of their rotation players out is so slim that every time the Jazz have a breakdown, it feels catastrophic. It is hard to win games right now for the Jazz.
- Rodney Hood was terrific tonight with 30 points. He has been very consistent since coming off the bench. His scoring the last seven games has been 17, 12, 19, 19, 19, 16 and now 30. When you look back at how Hayward dealt with being the number one option, it was at about this point of the season that he flipped the switch and started to understand how to deal with the burden.
- When the game went into clutch time, it was a new experience for most of the guys. Last year, the five top guys in field goals attempts in the clutch were Gordon Hayward, George Hill, Rudy Gobert, Joe Johnson and Shelvin Mack. None of the five are with the team or available. Tonight, the Jazz started clutch time with Donovan Mitchell, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, Alec Burks and Derrick Favors. None of them other than Mitchell had a field goal in the clutch this season. Ricky Rubio replaced Alec Burks.
- Ricky Rubio made a 3 tonight.
- It is stunning how much better the Knicks are without Carmelo.
- Donovan was great in the first half of his first ever game at Madison Square Garden. In the second half, he missed two defensive assignments early in the half and got pulled out of the game. He never regained his rhythm. It will be interesting to see if this was because the Knicks did something different defensively or if it was lack of rhythm or fatigue.
- The Jazz are going to have to figure out how to defend without Gobert for the next month; They have not shown they can do that yet. The Nets will be much better if Dinwiddie is able to play —his absence in the game in Salt Lake had a huge impact.
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