Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Some things learned....
The Utah Jazz fell hard again last night, losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-97. This one was hard to watch. I fully expected the Jazz to come out with more intensity. This was not the case. The Jazz started the usual starters minus Derrick Favors who was out with a strained abductor. Enes Kanter was plugged in and was ineffective.
Last nights game showed a couple of things. First the value of Derrick Favors. I think the Jazz should be extremely happy with the contract extension and the development of the young Mr. Favors. He is a game changer in so many ways. On defense, the other team is always conscious of where he is. He may not block every shot in the paint but I guarantee you he effects every shot in the paint. Offensively he demands a double team simply because of his size. If he catches the ball deep in the post there are very few people in the league who are going to deter Favors. Last night really shows how important Derrick is for the future of the Jazz.
To go along with the Derrick Favors and his value to the Jazz, we need to take a close look at the value of a rim protector. Rudy Gobert played 27 mins, went 4-5 from the field scoring 8 points, had 6 rebounds and 3 blocks. The stats may look a little pedestrian but Rudy's effect on the game was not. The Timberwolves were very conscious of where Rudy was at all times on the floor. At one point he made JJ Barea shot a runner earlier than he would like. You could see that it was totally out of rhythm and was a floater a long way from the hoop (unfortunately some how it went in). It was great to see Rudy get some extended run.
Gordon Hayward did return to the lineup and played well. No rust for Gordon. He and Alec were really the only offensive bright spots for the team. Hayward finished 10-17 from the field, 2-5 from 3pt for 27 pts. Alec finished 6-14 from the field, 1-1 from 3pt for 18 pts. The Jazz just did not get much else from anyone else offensively.
One of the most frustrating parts of the game was the inconsistency in the calls by the officials. I try not to bring the officials in to the game or anything that I write, but last night it could not be ignored. So much so that even Coach Corbin made a comment or two about the way the game was officiated. Looking at it, the Timberwolves shot 24 free-throws to the Jazz 12. Its not very often that the home team is doubled up on the free-throw attempts. Ty did mention early on that Minnesota was the aggressor, but I did not feel that it was that big of a discrepancy. The Jazz also lost the rebound battle 42-41 and the turnover battle 9-14. As far as the boards go, the Jazz did a much better job as a team in comparison to the previous game. That was good to see.
With the way this season has developed we can safely say that Trey Burke and Derrick Favors are the Jazz most important/valuable players. This team flounders when missing one of these two players. While I love Gordon and what he brings to the team, those things were filled by the other players on the team for the 2 weeks that Gordon was out. If anything this may help the Jazz with their negotiations with Gordon this summer and will also help the front office decide how important he is to this team.