Jazz fans fire up for tonight’s big game with the radio call of Jeremy Evans alley-opp dunk from JT
Why you should listen to the 2 guys on the 12 podcast with Ian Furness
Emptying the Noggin
· I opened the broadcast tonight talking about how each era of Jazz basketball has had their first moment. If we look back at the Frank Layden lead Jazz of Jazz 1.0 we would go to the wins in the Lakers series, if we move to the Stockton and Malone era it would be finally breaking through to the Western Conference Final is 91 and the Boozer and Deron era had the huge win in Houston in Game 7. Tonight was that moment for Jazz 4.0 much earlier than anyone other than Kevin O’Connor anticipated?
· I truly hope that in some way I have been able to convey to you who these guys are and what this means to each of them. Paul Millsap was near tears as he talked to Ben Bagley after the game and then Al Jefferson was the same way in the locker-room. Jamaal Tinsley and Josh Howard had been left on the NBA scrap heap. Earl Watson pushed his optimism onto this team. Devin Harris had to regain his mojo that was stolen from him in New Jersey and ripped away from him in Dallas. The list goes on and on, each has a story, each is worth rooting for. Tonight I took a moment to walk into the locker-room to shake hands and thanks and congratulate each one of them. I felt like I did that on behalf of you.
· The Jazz have something that has made them dominating. It is the big line-up and the combination of Favors, Millsap and Jefferson together. In the 2nd quarter with 9:00 left the suns were on a 8-0 run and the Jazz went to the big line-up. The Jazz closed the next 9:00 minutes on a 24-15 run. The first part of the run was with Kanter in and it was 8-0 and then Al Jefferson and Steve Nash came in for the final 6:43 and the Jazz outscored the Suns 16-15. Then with 10:00 left in the 4th quarter and the season in the balance the Jazz went back to it. Trailing 76-75 the Millsap, Favors and Jefferson lineup ran away with a 21-6 run to clinch the game with 1:00 left. Think about this in 18:00 mins of basketball the big lineup allowed 21 points. That comes out to 56 pts per 48.
· The final numbers tonight after the last minute of garbage time with the big line-up the Jazz outscored the Suns – 49 to 28 – for the season with Paul Millsap at the three the Jazz are 304 to 232 in 148 mins.
· Al Jefferson showed his value again with the game on the line he scored 8 straight points to seal the game and give the Jazz an offensive option late in the game. His performances v. Dallas, Orlando and tonight are playoff winning worthy. It was really neat to talk to Al after the game. You can question and nit pick a lot of things about Al but his heart, desire and intention are undeniable.
· How wonderful for the man who has more understanding of this franchise and what it means to have the night he had in Paul Millsap. This night was Paul’s vindication, he can be a power forward on a playoff team. He evidentially can be a small forward on a playoff team as well.
· I am nervous to write what I think about Derrick Favors but if you have read my stuff all year you already now what I think. He will be the next Jazz all-star. He will be an all-star numerous times and the Jazz will not be sliding into the playoff at the last moment as long as he is on the team. He is dominant. He is really close to Dwight Howard, he just may be more advanced offensively.
· In 04 Dwight was 6’10.25 and 240 lbs with 7’4.5 wingspan and 9’3.5 standing reach. In ‘10 Favors was 6’10.25 and 245 lbs 7’4 wingspan and 9’2 standing reach. Favors no step vertical was 31.5 and max vert was 38.5 – Howard’s was 30.5 and 35.5 I will do more on this tomorrow but they are really close in their per minute performance as well.
· Favors was the best player on the floor. His defensive domination was crazy. The blow on Gortat ended Gortat’s night.
· Harris hit the three’s – Hayward, the 6’8 shooting guard, hit some shots but had 8 assists to tie a career high.
· The mantra all year was meaningful minutes, Hayward played 42, Favors put in 29, Burks got 11 and Kanter had 7. All of them held their own and all of those minutes are a world more valuable than anything Cousins is doing in Sac, Wall is doing in Washington etc.
· Tyrone Corbin !!!!!!!!
· Finally in February 2010 Kevin O’Connor traded the Jazz all-star with a specific plan in mind, he wanted a point guard that would allow the team to be competitive, he wanted length and athleticism (Favors) and he wanted one or two more draft picks. 14 months later the Jazz are back in the playoffs with insanely good pieces for the future. It is amazing foresight by O’Connor.
· PLAYOFFS !!!!!!
Relive the Jazz 5 game win streak with this combination of radio highlights.
Jamaal Tinsley goes through the legs of Mohhamed for two
Emptying the Noggin
· Al Jefferson was terrific tonight. He had his legs and he dominated the game. He completely took control of the game. 10 in the 1st, 16 in the 2nd and finished with 34 two short of his high with the Utah Jazz. He got matched up on some second team bigs tonight and completely dominated the 2nd team guys of the Washington Wizards. I have always wondered if there is a way to get him more looks v. 2nd team big because he needs to shot a higher percentage and tonight he did that.
· Alec Burks got solid minutes in the 2nd half and played well. He is in the rotation and I will be stunned if he is out of the rotation again this year or ever.
· The only downside tonight is that neither Josh Howard nor CJ Miles got going. The Jazz need one of those guys to get going and they both feel deeper into their abyss. Howard was 0 for 4 and CJ was 1 for 5.
· Playing 5 wings means that Hayward doesn’t play as many minutes
· Devin Harris returned closer to form tonight than we have seen in a while. Washington isn’t putting a lot of pressure on you or making you work a lot with their defense so it is not a great example but it is something. Harris had 12 points and 9 assists. This is how you are supposed to play against and inferior team and this how you get confidence in the future games. It is really important. It contrasts what the other guys struggling did tonight.
· The Jazz did a very nice job most of the night on the corralling John Wall and keeping him out of impacting the game in transition. The Jazz got back defensively built a wall on Wall and made him a outside player and that is not his strength.
· Millsap and Jefferson had 10 offensive rebounds against the worst defensive rebounding team in the NBA and that negates their transition.
· The Wizards had some of the worst sequences of basketball I have seen out of an NBA team tonight. Ouch
· No Jazz player played 31 minutes – these games are invaluable this year.
· If the league doesn’t break Jan Vesely he is going to be a nice player, he plays very hard and makes a lot of plays and impacts a lot of plays.
· Raja continues to be super.
· FEED THE PIG !!!!!! It is a phrase in the NBA used when a guy is hot and you get him the ball, Jazz did that tonight.
I spent the day going through the website popcornmachine.net and charting how are big man combos have worked this year.
Here are some of the conclusions I discovered with the +/- numbers for our big combos. Understand there is a lot of statistical noise here, with 3 other players on the floor and the opponents being different. Now that you understand that here are what I believe these numbers show
1) Jefferson and Millsap were a good combination early in the year, but something has gone wrong recently. For the season they are -3 but in the last 5 games they are -29. In the first 20 games of the season the Jazz were + 30 with Jefferson and Millsap on the floor. In only 2 of the last 11 games they have played together have the Jazz outscore their opponent when they were on the floor (+8 v. Memphis and +1 v. Lakers). Prior to that they had a 12 games stretch were they only put up 1 negative night (they were even 4 times) and outscored their opponent 7 of those nights.
2) The Kanter/Favors lineup has been a season long problem. I thought it had played well together but the numbers say otherwise. For the season the Kanter/Favors lineup is -33. They have played the second most amount of minutes together as any unit. In the last 8 games they are -14, but it has been season long. In games 1-10 they were -12 and in games 11-20 they were -7.
3) Tyrone Corbin was correct at the beginning of the year to start Favors and Jefferson. Favors didn’t play along well and the combo was -26 against the Lakers in the opener and +3 v. Denver in night 2. However since the opening night they are +9 together. They are +10 over the last 8 games. They have only played together in 19 games and over the last 8 games they have only played about 32 minutes together.
4) The nights when Jefferson didn’t play are the only real nights that Millsap and Favors have played together. Against Portland they played 26 mins and were +5; against Toronto they played 39 mins and were -9 (fading in OT), v. Philly 29 mins and they were -1. Otherwise, they have only played together in a total of 9 games for a total of about 20 minutes the entire year.
5) Jefferson and Kanter have only been on the floor together in 2 games all year for a total of 1 minute and 48 seconds.
6) Millsap and Kanter have played together 12 times this year for about 75 minutes and been ok together. They are -2 for the season.
Plus minus is a limited statistical vehicle. However, they make a claim that Tyrone Corbin should return to his orginial line-up of Jefferson and Favors as his primary frontcourt with Millsap and Favors and Millsap and Kanter getting the other time, reducing the amount of time that Jefferson and Millsap play together.
With that said, you can do that easily on X-Box how Coach Corbin does that with humans in a locker-room could be a completely different story.
Emptying the Noggin after the Jazz loss to the Thunder
· Tonight is not the issue. Last night is still the issue. There is no shame is losing to the Thunder in OKC ever moreso when they are rested and you are playing the back end of a back to back to back.
· Every issue that is confronting the Jazz came with them to Oklahoma City and none were solved or new ones emerged.
· I mentioned this after the last game between these two teams but there is an enormous between these teams, if you re-drafted these two teams maybe one Jazz players would go in the top 5 and maybe 2 in the top 8 or 9.
· In regards to the effort issue – a few things. I would agree that some of our guys seem to be in a funny place. However, when you are not as good as your opponent at some point it is natural for effort to wane. Moreover, in the locker-room after the game no player is ever going to say they are just better than we are so they all talk about effort. Regardless, if it is true.
· Tonight the Jazz missed a bunch of early shots that you didn’t mind them taking and that spiraled the game the wrong direction.
· Ibaka deserves a lot of credit for that as the Jazz were very aware of where he was and how he was affecting the game.
· Now to the issues confronting this team.
· Devin Harris is a shadow of the player he has been at time in his career. The worst case scenario is that he is physically zapped or that he has just cashed in. I am not sure what has happened. I had a long conversation with Scott Brooks today that I will share with you tomorrow about what this game is like for a point guard today and he talked about the 60 to 70 picks a game you get run off as a point guard and it made me wonder if the game has changed on Devin and he is just too small to handle it physically. He is outsized every night. He used to go to basket and draw fouls and he doesn’t do that any longer, he used to draw charges and he doesn’t do that anymore and the only answer I can come up with is that he physically pounded and can’t handle the beating. The other idea would be that his game was based on speed and somewhere along the line he lost the step and has regressed to the mean. We are asking him to do things that he is not great at. He is not a spot up shooter, he is a transition player and a pick and roll player. We have not been a transition team, Al doesn’t run the floor and we don’t have great pick and roll players. It is a tough match for Devin, but even with that he is playing less well than anyone could have anticipated.
· What has happened to Paul Millsap? The concern last year was that he wore down as the year went on. Defensively, he really struggled throughout the year. Is he hurt, disengaged or just become the focus of the opponents defense. The match with Jefferson in the front court is hard for Paul. He doesn’t get an action off of Al and Paul is a great cutter, arguably one of the best big cutters in the NBA. The pressure of trying to move into the elite of the NBA could be wearing on his as well. Whatever it is, the team’s hardest worker looks worn out and at times has looked disengaged. Very strange. My feeling on Paul has always been that he can be bothered by things, he is real just like us, but when the bell rings he always does the right thing. That is the essence of who he is and that will not change.
· I have no answer for the wing players. CJ and Josh are not breaking out of their slumps and they are moving beyond slumps. The teams needs so sort of push from these guys. However, neither have been efficient offensive players in their career so it might be unfair to ask that from them at this point.
· We can’t win games when Al Jefferson uses 19 shots to get 15 points. When you highest possession user is below the league average the level the rest of the guys have to perform at is really high to make up for those possessions and to get the team to above the league average.
· Gordon Hayward is the one player who played both the last two nights and he might have been gassed. Nonetheless, that was not a good night for him, though his defense on Durant was respectable.
· Favors is getting better. The improved free throw shooting is really terrific.
· Kanter is a beast but he is still not used to playing against players bigger than him on the offensive end.
· Who is the Jazz best player? How many teams does he start on?