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The Downbeat - 3 December 2010 - #374 - The Defensive Edition

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  Sloan talks about why they've been able to have such success against the three-pointer this season:

"That's been one of our downfalls," the Hall of Fame coach said, referring to 3-point defense. "But we couldn't guard inside. Fortunately, we've been able to guard inside a little bit better."

It helps, players admit, that the Jazz are working harder on defense this season, too.

I don't think it's any secret what (who) the difference is when it comes to interior D.  Blocks aren't the absolute measure of defense, but Jefferson has nearly as many blocks right now (31) as Booze had all last season (35).

  Boozer's return to the ESA in a couple of months won't get the same kind of response the LeBron's did.  Mainly because most either wanted him gone anyway or didn't care if he left.  There's no comparing the two situations.

The final twist in Cleveland's heart last night was that not only did Miami win, but LeBron had arguably his best outing of the season.

I really am indifferent now about Boozer except that it would kill me to see the Jazz lose that game and even more so if Boozer plays a big part of that.  That would be a stomach-punch game.

I'm most interested in seeing Millsap defend against Carlos.  That may just be one of my highlights of the season.

  Clearly defensive rebounding isn't where the Jazz want it to be.  The Jazz are near the bottom of the league right now grabbing just 69% of available defensive boards (they're also at the bottom of offensive rebounding).

I have a question on this for our more basketball Xs and Os people:  Why has this not hurt the Jazz more?  Right now the team is 10th in the league in defensive efficiency.  Not coincidentally, the last time the Jazz were this low in defensive rebounding was in the 2009 season when Boozer played just 37 games.  Here's the past several seasons:

Rank, Year, DR%
#28 2011, 69.1%
#5,  2010, 75.6%
#21 2009, 72.7% (Boozer only played 37 games)
#9,  2008, 74%
#4,  2007, 75.1%

In 2009, the Jazz finished the year ranked 10th in the league in defense as well despite not having a good year on the boards. 

I'm just struggling to see the correlation between defensive rebounding and having an efficient defense.  I'm not saying that they're overrated, but are they overrated?

  We're now on day 232 on Memo-watch, the return of Mehmet Okur.  I miss Memo too, but can we stop reporting the "he's improving, no time-table for his return" articles?  I just want to know when he's going to play.  I'm assuming he's getting better so the only news should be if he has a major setback or his return has been announced.

Memo doesn't care though, in fact, he likes people asking,

I'm not sick or tired of hearing that. It just means people care about me.

He also mentions that he's fine coming off the bench.  It's great to hear him say that.  Given that he could play the 4 or the 5, that gives the team a lot of flexibility with rotations.

Of course, when he comes back, that will mean reduced minutes for Elson and/or Fesenko.  However, I think he'll play quite a few minutes at PF which would space the floor for Al to work. If that's the case, then there will be a few more center minutes to go around.  It could also mean that AK won't be playing any PF going forward.

  Random Jazz stat of the week.  The Jazz lead the league in games decided by 10 points or more with 12.  In those games, the Jazz are tied for the league lead in wins with 9.  Two of those 10-point losses came in the first two games of the season.

So of their 15 wins, 9 have been by 10 or more points and 3 (3-0) have been decided by 3 points or less.  That leaves just two wins in the 4-9 point range.