I don't know if they did, but it seems like the Utah Jazz guys could have gone to the Alamo and seen other things today before they face off against the San Antonio Spurs. We know the game is going to be a series of learning moments, why not make the rest of the trip to San Antone educational as well?
The Jazz don't look good on paper when you compare them to the Spurs. San Antonio is the best team in their division, conference, and league right now. They have the 7th best offense by OFF RTG, and the 4ht best defense by DEF RTG. By average points they are #7 and #6 respectively. And they play at the #13th fastest pace in the league. Playing slow doesn't mean good defense. And playing fast doesn't mean playing without discipline. The Spurs show that it can be done.
They are on a 9 game win streak right now and will be looking to secure #10 tonight against the lowly Jazz.
I wouldn't say that San Antonio plays mistake free basketball, but they do see to do a lot of great things. And it stats on defense where they are Top 5 in three of the core four defensive factors: #4 in Opp eFG%, #5 in DRB%, and #2 in FT/FGA ratio. They don't foul on defense, make you take tough shots, and almost always get the rebound. That's a force multiplier. Sure, they don't cause a lot of turn overs, but taking a turn over is taking a risk and exposing yourself. The Spurs use some form of Kung Fu where they let the other team beat themselves and just use body position and angles to be in the right place to win the day.
They use it on offense as well, not as much forcing their style of play, but evolving their play based upon what the defense is doing. That's why they have killed us either in single coverage trying to guard Tim Duncan, off the pick and roll where he can't stop Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili, or even with guys in the corner who are somehow open. San Antonio really is like water, to use that cliche.
And the corner three, something that we flat out weren't even ALLOWED to use with Al Jefferson on the team taking away Marvin Williams ' favorite shot, is something the Spurs have been dominating since the time of Bruce Bowen. Pop makes great strategy, which is bitter-sweet because he'll tell anyone that he stole it from us.
If we're going to get beat, we should at least learn from it. (Unless we just come out and admit that the Jazz is just a semi-professional tour group, and not an actual NBA team.)
They're healthy and rested. We're starting a three games in four nights trip (we'll also see the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies -- expect the 'hometown' tweets from Jon Rhinehart). Both teams are healthy, Jazz will have Marvin Williams and John Lucas III back.
In the spirit of learning point out things the Spurs do during the games that you'd want future Jazz teams to learn from / be able to do. This can be mundane things like setting screens better, franchise things like actually using their D-League team to train young players, to strategic things, like allowing the talents of the player dictate the Xs and Os. (If you think Tyrone Corbin would use Boris Diaw the way Pop does you're someone I'd love to talk with, in a well lit, public place that has cops nearby.)
Anyway, Jazz need to keep losing. It's already impossible for us to make the playoffs this year.