Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Jazz looking for revenge tonight!
The Utah Jazz are coming off a 3 game road trip, having gone 1-2 with a win in Detroit. The first game of the trip, the Jazz took the Spurs to the wire, but ultimately came up short. Game 2 of the trip, they dominated the Detroit Pistons. This wasn't even a game. Game 3 the roles were reversed. As the Minnesota Timber Wolves had their way with the Jazz. The Wolves front court of Pekovic and Love combined for 45 points and 27 rebounds. The Jazz had no answer. This was the second game of a back to back and I would have guessed the Jazz would have had more energy than they did, considering the outcome in Detroit.
Tonight the Jazz are back in the comforts of the ESA and look to return the favor. It will be interesting to see how the Jazz come out tonight. Gordon Hayward did practice with the team yesterday but is a game time decision for tonight's game.
Versus the Wolves, the Jazz lost the 3 key statistical categories. They were out rebounded 60-42, free-throws 34 attempts to the Jazz 29 and turnovers 15-16. You can't win games if you lose all 3 of these categories.
The Wolves were the aggressor from the tip. They got both Trey and Alec in early foul trouble and it was all down hill from there. The level of play dips drastically when Trey is off the court. When Alec has to go to the bench, the Jazz lose their best penetrator and creator. Alec's December and January have been the best 2 months of his career. He seems to be in a great rhythm and understands his role with the team. The best part about Alec's play has been the consistency. He has been able to string together good games and has been effective in other facets of the game beside scoring. Alec was the only Jazz player in double figures versus the Wolves and that was after the foul trouble. The Jazz will need that kind of effort again tonight especially if Hayward is a no-go.
Look for the Jazz front court to take this game personally. Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Marvin Williams overwhelmed by Love and Pekovic. Prior to the game at Minnesota, both Favors and Kanter had been using a quick offensive move that was very effective for both players. Kanter spoke of this change in the post game at San Antonio. He mentioned that Andres Biedrins and mentioned to him that the Spurs were loading up on him when he caught the ball in the post and advised Kanter to go early. Make a move on the catch. I have noticed this being used by both young bigs since the Spurs game. Look for both Kanter and Favors to make quick moves in the post, trying to catch Pek and Love off guard.
Lastly, I have to give credit to Ty Corbin and the staff. Since Trey's return to the line up the Jazz, as a collective, have really developed. Favors offense, Alec Burks progression, Kanter coming out of his slump all this plus the kind of effort the staff has been able to get from this team every night has been remarkable. I can't remember the last time I watched a Jazz team compete and compete for a full 48 minutes regardless of score. This young team is headed in the right direction. I really feel, baring a major injury or trades, the Jazz will play .500 basketball from here on out. With that being said, the piece the Jazz get in this summers draft, regardless of position may just be the piece to get this team back to the playoffs. Its good to be a Jazz fan!