Tonight the Utah Jazz host the Phoenix Suns in, clearly, a must-win game for both teams. The Jazz have the reputation of being a slow, methodical team. The Suns are still classified as a fast team because of their heritage of "7 seconds or less". Clearly a team headlined by Steve Nash would be playing at a much faster pace than a team anchored by Al Jefferson. Right? Well, did you know that the Suns pace is 92.4 possessions per 48 minutes; and the Jazz pace is 91.3 possessions per 48 minutes. The difference is that the Suns get +1.1 more possessions, and thus, they are regarded as much "faster". Pace is a very interesting metric; however, it does not really factor in offensive rebounds. Offensive rebounds get factored in there somewhere -- but it's not actively looked at in pace. While the Suns are ranked higher than the Jazz in pace (#9 to #14 -- again, an actual difference of +1.1 possessions), the Jazz obliterate the Suns in offensive rebounds (#3 to #21 -- an actual difference of +135 offensive rebounds this year).
The Suns aren't really a faster team. And the Jazz aren't that slow. The Jazz are dominant on the offensive glass. And the Suns? If you watch the games you know that they've hurt us MOST in the half court where Steve Nash is second to only three other guys in NBA History. They run a lot of pick and rolls / pick and pops; Nash drives a lot; and when the Suns slow us down their patience is what hurts us. Not their running game.
After all, you can't run if you don't get the ball. And the Suns don't get the ball (#28 in steals, #21 in rebounds), and we always crash the glass (#3 offensive rebounds, #8th best in lowest amount of opposing team's defensive rebounds).
The Jazz can beat the Suns tonight, playing at home, playing the younger guys, by RUNNING THE DAMN BALL.
The Suns can't rebound. They hurt us in the half court. So . . . unleash Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Paul Millsap, and Derrick Favors. Run the Suns out of Salt Lake. Run them out of the playoffs.
We're younger. More rested. And at home. This would be the greatest display of collective learning and progress this season if the Jazz run tonight. In the first game of the season, against the LA Lakers (who were playing their third game in three nights), the Jazz just did not run. At all. They should have.
The Jazz should run tonight. Our bigs are faster. Our bigs are better rebounders. And we have a ton of fast guards and wings. (IF they play) Slowing it down so we can post up to Player of the Week Al Jefferson is what gets the Suns into their half court excellence. Al can't do it all. Tonight the rest of the younger, faster guys have to get this win.
And they will and can if Tyrone Corbin tells the Jazz to run.
And if you run, you get stuff like this happening all the time -- bigs finishing the break and guards crashing the glass. And you get a win tonight. Period.