I must say, I am impressed with where our guys are right now. I'd just like to highlight some of the awesome that is currently oozing out of our players and even (!) Ty Corbin at times.
I'll start with the person I dislike most in the organization, and say that Corbin has been making improvements (however small they may be). Having Favors jump for the opening tip was a nice change, and although it doesn't make a huge difference, it shows that he's willing to use logic to make decisions (Favors' reach > Kanter's reach). He shortened up the rotation tonight, gave Gobert early minutes, and let us see a lot of Clark tonight. We also saw a rather effective lineup involving 3 smaller guards - Burks, Clark, and Scott Machado. Hopefully that's something that continues, because it worked well. Obviously we'd want to see Burke or Hayward instead of Machado in that lineup, but it's a lineup tweak we haven't seen much of.
And speaking of Ian Clark... his defensive presence is pretty solid. He just looks like he's be a pesky guy to play against. And while his shooting form may look kind of funky sometimes, he knocks down shots at a high enough rate that he can stretch the floor. A 3+D guy could be really useful for this team.
Derrick Favors dominated tonight. Whatever it was that got him "up" for this game, he needs to repeat that every gameday. If he plays like that he'll put up ridiculous numbers and play his way into All Star games and into ref respect. His defensive presence was great, he owned the glass, and his offense looked polished and smooth. I don't know if it was the contract that set his mind at ease, or if he just REALLY wanted to outperform Griffin. Whatever it was, I want THAT Derrick Favors every night, because he's unstoppable.
Gordon Hayward found his shot in the first half, then lost it again in the second half. He still had a great overall line, putting up 19/6/6/1/1, but I'd really like to see him start hitting about half his shots. 23 points on 18 shots would have looked a lot better than the Al Jefferson-esque 19 points on 18 shots. I still love his all-around game (he should have had a few more assists, but guys missed open looks), and his attitude and leadership make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Or is that his baby face? I can never tell.
Enes Kanter isn't putting up the gaudy numbers that he was earlier in the preseason, but he's still solid. He put up an efficient 13 points and grabbed 6 boards in just 23 minutes. He needs to cut back on the turnovers, but that will come with time and experience. I'm not worried about it.
Rudy Gobert looked CRAZY good tonight. He was swatting shots and grabbing boards left and right. His per 36 numbers from tonight? 7.2 points, 21.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 steals, and (!) 9 blocks. That's hilarious and awesome. It's awesarious.
Alec Burks forced it a couple times tonight, but looked more in control than he did last night against the Lakers. His shot was off, but he got to the line, grabbed rebounds, and had 3 times as many assists as our "starting PG". He also had a couple steals.
Chef only took 2 shots, so... that's a plus.