Sunday, December 1, 2013
Holiday weekend recap, Jazz Style....
Thanksgiving is now in the books and Jazz fans can be thankful for another win in the books. That came last night in Phoenix as the Jazz beat the Suns 112-104. This was the second game of a home and home with the Suns. The night before, the Jazz looked like a team that couldn't defend, shoot or even show up.
This was a totally different team Saturday night.
The Jazz played with a purpose, they played with toughness and a knowledge that they could get a win if they just executed. Ty and the staff did a great job with adjustments from the night before and also in game. Friday night the Jazz were killed in the pick and roll, Saturday was a different story. The Jazz rotations were solid, there was a "help the helper" mentality and the Jazz were active.
On Offense, the Jazz tried to dictate the situation as well. Friday night, having clear size mismatches versus Phoenix guard line, the Jazz failed to get Gordon or Jefferson in the post. Tonight the Jazz put both players in the post and made Bledsoe and Dragic defend the bigger, stronger Jazz. It caused some foul trouble for Bledsoe specifically. The Jazz also had the advantage in the post with their bigs. They did a much better job of getting looks for both Favors and Kanter in the post. Favors finished 5-7 from the field 14 pts, 8 rebs, 1 stl, 1 blk. Kanter only logged 14 mins but finished 3-6 from the field 8 pts 4 rebs.
The Jazz had some solid contributions off the bench, as well. Jeremy Evans 12 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, 1stl. Alec Burks had a good game with 5-9 from the field 13 pts, 3 rebs, 5 ast. These two brought energy to the floor and were effective. So much so that Ty closed out the game with Alec in the line. Alec's size and length made it possible for the Jazz to move Trey Burke to the smaller Bledsoe. Diante Garret also had a similar effect with his long reach. He was able to deflect a number of passes and made life a little more difficult than John Lucas did the night before.
There are 3 stats that I always look at that I feel are a great indicator of a win or a loss. Those being, rebounds, free-throws, and turnovers. The Jazz won two of the three categories. Rebounds 39-35 Jazz, free-throws 25-29 86.2% Jazz, 18-25 72.0% Suns, turnovers 14-13 Suns. I think that these 3 categories show a direct link to effort, execution and concentration. Rebounds are all effort, turnovers are both execution and concentration and free-throws are clearly concentration. Its rare that if you win two of the three categories, that you don't give yourself a great chance to with game.
The talk of the night had to be rookie Trey Burke. Burke finished 6-15 from the field, 4-6 from three, 20 pts, 6 rebs, 3 ast and 2 stls. The stat line looks great, but it was Trey's toughness and his will down the stretch. There was a point in the 3rd quarter, Trey was battling with Dragic for a rebound, Dragic clearly trying to give the "rook" the business, and Trey wasn't buying. They both went to the ground and were called for a double foul. Love the effort he had specifically on that play. The second was the finish, in the last 3:30 of the game Trey hits 2 clutch threes! Now I know its only one game, and we need to see Trey do that on a consistent basis. But if the last couple of games are any indicator of the potential of Burke, the Jazz point guard of the future is going to be just fine.
This is a bit of a tough one if you are the Jazz fan looking for the best draft position. Losses are a good thing this season. But it is nice to see the Jazz progress and improve from one night to the other. I have to say that I was impressed with Ty and the staff's adjustments. They did a good job dissecting the game film from the night before and putting these guys in a position to succeed. That is the kind of improvement that we need to see from both the staff and the players. The good news is Milwaukee Bucks won last night also! The one negative, it helped Golden State out having Phoenix loss. But a wins a win! I will take it!