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Game #23: The Top (the Blazers) vs the Bottom (the Jazz)

Game #23 -- Portland Trailblazers (17-4) @ Utah Jazz (4-18) EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT 7:00 pm (MT) -- TV: ROOT Sports, RADIO: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz, Utah Jazz losses every night.

No one tanks like you guys tank your losings out of si-ght!

Utah Jazz Utah Jazz losses every night

No one tanks like you guys tank your losings out of of sight- hey!

(Sang to the tune of Jingle Bells )

The Utah Jazz will face the Portland Trailblazers for the second time this season. We should all have fresh memories of our last game against Portland since it was just last Friday. In case you can't remember here is a gif from Moni to catch you up.



The Jazz will be facing the Western Conference Player of the Week in LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge had quite a bit of success against the Jazz on Friday. Aldridge scored 20 points, 15 rebounds and was a whopping +45 in +/-. Jeremy Evans when in the game drew the assignment of defending Aldridge, it didn't work that well. Not that Favors/Kanter did that much better. But I guess since he was the player of the week maybe it wasn't just the Jazz who had problems with him.

Friday's game was a game that players and coaches say they just want to put behind them; fans, often feel the same way. I can only hope that Coach Tyrone Corbin and his staff did NOT put this game behind them, that they took it and watched it and figured out what went wrong. I imagine they did do such a thing and I'm excited to see the adjustments that they are able to come up with so the Jazz can at least be competitive this go around.

If we remember right Trey Burke got pulled 2 minutes into the second half and never saw the floor again. The next night against the Kings Burke played more minutes than any other Jazz player. There was really no reason for Burke to be benched. Jazzbasketball broke down the plays leading up to Trey's benching:

Why Trey Burke Got Benched

The Jazz trailed by 11 at halftime and then opened the 3rd-Qtr by being outscored 10-0 in the first 2:12. Following the timeout, Ty Corbin removed Trey Burke and Enes Kanter from the game. Burke would not play again.

What did Burke do wrong in the 3rd-Qtr?
1. Aldridge post-up on left-block. Batum beats Jefferson on baseline-cut (like Jazz used to run with Malone/Boozer) for layup on hand-off.
2. Left-block post-up for Favors who gets stripped by Aldridge.
3. Burke and Hayward both retreat in transition as Lillard pushes the ball on them and then kicks it to Matthews on the wing for an open three that Hayward couldn’t close out on in time
4. Hayward/Favors side pick&roll creates little so Hayward feeds Favors on left-block against Aldridge where he misses a left-shoulder jump hook.
5. In transition Favors ties up Matthews to force a jump-ball which the Jazz control.
6. Kanter misses 10-foot jumpshot off side screen-roll with Hayward.
7. Portland runs an unconventional Lillard/Batum pick&pop where Batum pops off a little flare-screen from Aldridge. Jefferson shows out and then gets caught on the screen and Batum hits the open three from the top-of-the-key.
8. Jazz run UCLA set with Burke running through half-speed before popping out on the weakside and feeding Kanter on the left-block against Lopez. Kanter crab-dribbles before kicking it out to Burke who misses a catch&shoot three with the shotclock under 5.
9. Lopez posts-up Kanter and hits a left-hand jump hook over him.

Corbin calls timeout and Burke is never seen again. Only thing I could pick at Burke on is the half-speed possession he ran but considering the collective speed at which the Jazz were playing at in their half-court sets, I’m not sure that alone is enough to single him out above everyone else.

I hope we get to see more of Trey against Portland than 16 mins. I hope the Jazz will learn how to deal with that pick and roll defense that has caused them trouble, and I hope that they will defend the pick and roll better.

The Blazers have been an unbelievable team this year. The Blazers have had a few coaching changes the last few years and it seems to have helped. We have had Blazer fans commented here at SLC Dunk about how happy they are McMillan isn't the coach anymore because of his iso-heavy offense. McMillan took the Blazers to the playoffs three out of the six complete seasons that he was coach. The team was stagnant however in its growth. Brandon Roy's injury of course changed everything. Drafting Lillard also changed that team along with the hiring of a new coach. It will be interesting to see if Blazers can keep up their winning ways throughout the season or if they drop off at some point.


I feel the Blazers are a realistic model that the Jazz can follow to see success.

The Jazz have young talent, a great point guard and a smart front office, they have completed a lot of the steps to see success. Time can only tell what will happen next with the Jazz. We have seen lack of leadership with this team since February 2011. Do we have a leader now on this team? Is the system holding back a potential leader? Who is our leader?

The Utah Jazz will tank on tonight and I'll watch the team I love. I hope we see more of the F5 play together, eight minutes together so far this season is just simply not enough to know what we have.

But then again this is what Dennis Lindsey had to say about the youth this week.

On building for the future
Look, you know, we had the team that we had the last years, and I think we tapped that team out, especially with what we were, the commitments that we were gonna have to make going forwards if we were to try to keep it intact…

But, look. It’s not, you know, young guys come hell or high water, you know?

We have, you know, Richard Jefferson that we’re trying to recreate his career, and we owe him a lot, you know, towards his career, and responsibility to continue it. And Ty’s coached him well, and been honest with him, you know? And so Richard, I do, I think appreciates that.

We have Brandon Rush, that we’ve gone through a long rehab, and we’ve been very patient and diligent. We could’ve rushed him back, but we didn’t physically or mentally. And I think Brandon and [his agent] Mark Bartelstein appreciate that.

You know, same thing with Andris Biedrins.

A complete 180 from this summer and what Max Chang and I heard from Richard Smith and KOC at the Jazz practice we attended.

Oh well. So tank on Jazz and we'll keep watching.