EMPTYING THE NOGGIN
Summary: In a rhythm-less game the Utah Jazz never trailed and without contention won their 7th straight game.
- The Utah Jazz have won 7 straight. This is 31st time in franchise history (including New Orleans) the Jazz have had a 7 game win streak and the 4th time in the last 10 years.
- Ricky Rubio led the way for the Jazz again. He scored 29 points and was active early carrying the Jazz offense. Rubio has had 2 of his 4 highest scoring games of his career on this road trip. He had his career high in San Antonio and tonight was his 4th highest scoring game of his career. One of the other 4 was in Portland this season.
- Over the 7 game win streak Rubio is averaging over 20 points a game and dishing out around 8 assists. Lots of factors are leading to this level of play. The Jazz have made a few changes on where the pick and roll is originating from and this is allowing Rubio to get to better spots. However, it feels like much more than this.
- Rubio has been working a tremendous amount with Igor Kokoskov who is one of the best coaches in the world. They have been relentless in the drilling. They have been working on very specific body movements that they believe will improve his health, strength and shooting abilities. Has all that worked kicked in? That is hard to tell, however what might be a more important question is whether when he gets off this hot streak is his baseline a better player than before.
- Rubio’s confidence has made him more aggressive and if he can continue to go to the free throw line with regularity then even if his shooting regresses he is a valuable offensive player. Last season, despite his lower shooting percentages he was just a notch off of an average offensive player because he went to the free throw line at a high rate. This year he has not been going to the line until recently.
- The point guards he faced on this trip are not elite defensive point guards, though New Orleans crew is not bad, and Murray, Booker and Harrison are very young. Rubio was able to use his experience to take advantage of those players.
- Raul Neto had a terrific stint tonight as well. He does so many little things on the floor. He rotates correctly defensively, he gets into passing lanes and offensive he breaks the paint with more regularity than probably any one on the roster.
- The Grizzlies took away the Jazz roll man all night long with a crowded paint. This led to a enormous amount of turnovers and made it hard for the Jazz to get their pick and roll game going the way it has the last few nights. Marc Gasol continues to be one of the best positional defenders in the NBA.
- Rodney Hood had another really good game off the bench. As the Grizzlies crowded the paint Hood’s ability to make the mid range pull up was vital tonight and he rolled them in. Joe Johnson was also important in his ability to get baskets in the and around the basket
- The Jazz three point shooting which had been incredible over the last 5 games, well over 50% came back to life tonight and yet the Jazz were able to control the game
- Defensively the jazz made the night hard for Gasol who had as many FGA as pts and then made it difficult for their other guys to get good looks. Memphis is offensively challenged and the Jazz took advantage.
- Jazz never trailed. That is not easy to do in this league. It may not have been elegant, but it still had to cornerstone elements of the win streak concentration, collectiveness and connectivity.
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