Utah Jazz Review: The Season so far and enumerating our first quarter woes

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, so we've now played 58 games this year. That's not a small number, it's 71% of our entire regular season. So, at this stage -- what you see if what you get. Like, don't they start calling presidential elections after counting like 60% of the votes? We know who this team is, pretty much. And it's a team that can look amazing, dominating, and exciting. It's also a team that can come out sluggish, not give an effort, and be a major turn off. Sadly, it's the same team. And infuriatingly, it's both of these teams in the same game.

After putting every quarter and individual OT period into excel I learned a little more about our 2012-2013 Utah Jazz. And, well, while it answers some questions, and gives evidence to some feelings we may have -- in the spirit of Andy and the #SSAC, it's also put forth OTHER questions.

First of all, we score 98.5 ppg. The other team scores 98.9 ppg. We're scoring less than the other team. The sad part about this is that our entire team is based around working on offense. We didn't do jack in the defensive department this off-season (no, Mo Williams and Randy Foye were brought in to help our three point shooting on offense, not to help our dribble penetration defense), and we're coming out on the negative in this equation. So, why does this happen? Well, either our defense needs to get better, or our offense needs to be restructured, or both.

Hopefully both.

Well, moving on . . . I think we need to look at the different quarters.

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Utah Jazz Net Points per Quarter:

n = 58 Games

When you add up all the points scored by the Jazz by quarter, and minus that from how many points we've given up over the same range you get a pretty interesting pattern.

Scoring_quarters_total_net

"I don't understand what this is telling me." - Fake Tyrone Corbin

The Jazz starters (whomever they are) are not doing so well in the first, and holding their own in the third. The Second quarter is when our bench guys play -- and the fourth quarter is "winning time". And we fail to finish strong when looking at the entire season so far.

Why does this happen? Well, our starters start off slowly. And they are presumed to be the best players, so they finish the game, or some combination of them do. And as starters they start at halftime -- and well, yeah. Maybe the problem is our starters? Maybe our starters aren't that good this year, especially with all the injuries we've had to Mo Williams, Marvin Williams, and Paul Millsap? Or maybe the problem isn't who we are missing, but the guys who are still starting every game? I don't know. This is a multifactorial problem. And our teams (starters and bench) finish the first quarter at -84 in 58 total games. What does this look like per game, and not a net total?

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Utah Jazz Net Points per Quarter per Game:

n = 58 Games

Oh, it's pretty much the same thing.

Scoring_quarters_per_game

"I honestly expected this to look different." - Fake Tyrone Corbin

Here we see what happens on an 'any given day' situation. After one quarter we're down by 1.5 points, which our second quarter almost eliminates. We (for the entire season) are an overall okay third quarter team -- but the fourth tilts back to the bad guys. This really is just an echo of the previous data though and while it's nice to see these pretty blue bars -- they don't make me feel better about our starts. And I'm less confident about our end game strategies and decision making (players and coaches combined).

Butttt . . . I do have a theory that goes back to our offense from the intro, and how maybe it needs to be re-tooled.

Big_al_theory

"Still not seeing anything . . . " - Fake Tyrone Corbin

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Utah Jazz Net Points per Quarter, Game 31 onwards:

n = 28 Games

If you try to look at what's changed between the first 30 games of the season and the team we are now (58 games = 71% of the season, 30 = 37% of the season, and right now 28 games = a tidy 34%, which is still LARGE enough to be greater than 1/3rd) . . . you can see some things have remained the same, while some things have changed. Let's see if you can spot any difference.

Scoring_quarters_total_net_-_gm_31

"Son, just so we're clear here, how many more of these do you have to show me?"

If you missed it let me tell you, before our third quarter play was a positive in our favor, now it's an outright negative. The fourth quarter / finishing deficit has almost doubled as well. Oh, and we've gotten worse at the start as well. So that's all bad, the only thing that has changed is that our 2nd quarter performance has gotten REALLY good. Even though our depth has been hurt by injuries -- our 'bench guys' are still awesome. This then could be used to suggest that the main problem isn't injuries -- but just flat out performance from the guys who start and play the most minutes. Of course, you could also say that, 'hey, the injuries really ARE bad, but our second quarter is helped by the emergence of Alec Burks from being a forgotten man to a rotation guy.' Either way you're still painting the starters are having trouble starting. And that's bad because they are supposed to be our best players, and if our best players are this bad -- maybe we have no real business being in the playoffs to begin with? I don't know. I'd just like to see something more positive.

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Utah Jazz Net Points per Quarter, Per Game, Game 31 onwards:

n = 28 Games

Let's look at this to see the per game numbers, because even for a huge nerd like me something like "93 / 28" isn't an easy fraction to make.

Scoring_quarters_per_game_-_gm_31

"Huh, so this one didn't change either? I guess ratios is mathemagician speak for 'the same'." - Fake Tyrone Corbin

Okay, so yeah, our fourth quarter problems did double. And we are doing worse in the first as well. I still like to think part of this is NOT having irrational confidence All-Star Mo Williams around. Our second quarters are pretty amazing now, we are +3.32 in them. That's the starters and bench working together -- and maybe the greater common denominator is that we're just playing against bench guys? That is a valid idea after all, we know that our starters play around 1/4th of their time against bench guys and our C4 play about 1/2 of their time against starters. (*cough* click here for more info on that one *cough*)

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I tire of this . . .

Okay, let's look at the difference between the entire season and the last half of it

Table Form:

Scoring_quarters_diff

Graph Phorm:

Scoring_quarters_diff_graph

"Son, are you giving me the finger? Go Run some laps!" - Fake Tyrone Corbin

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Conclusions, I guess:

We're a bad starting team, and we've gotten worse. I want to think not having Mo there to run things has hurt us, and hurt us in the second half as well. What also seems to be happening is that our bench is stronger than our injuries indicate, as we're killing it in the second quarter now. Perhaps the divide between our starters and our bench guys is really small. If that's the case, I guess the only reason why we really start our starters is that they're all vets with egos in contract years -- and we presume our young bench guys are just okay with that.

We'll see.

What I hope to more immediately see is better play from whomeever starts games for us. And if we've bashed our head long and hard enough with our starters and we're seeing the same result, maybe we need to think of more changes besides adding in Earl Watson to our starting five.

What do you think? Write down in the comments what conclusions you make based upon the disparity between how much we score from quarter to quarter. Why do you think this is? Is something wrong with our starters? Our bench? Or our lineups? Or something else? (DO THEY NEED ADHD MEDICATION?)
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