12th Row Sports

I got my hands on some free tickets for tonight's game (12th row lower bowl!) and I tried to take mental notes while I was watching. I'll start with each key player and maybe a few others. This might be a bit of rambling and probably will seem unfocused, and that's because it is. I'm kinda just writing whatever I remember and saw from the game.

Trey Burke: The eyeball test tells me he was in control tonight. I don't know what his final stat line was, but it seemed like he was always making the right play and taking the open looks he was given. From what I remember he did not shoot particularly well from deep, as he missed 3 or 4 really good looks from 3. He didn't have a ton of assists, but he was making the right passes and got quite a few "hockey assists".

Alec Burks: He disappeared on offense for a lot of the 2nd half, but he turned it on late in the 4th quarter and IT. WAS. AMAZING. Some of the drives and shots he made were just silly good. He is starting to look more and more like he could become a legit #1 option for a contender, and he is getting better and better at the all-around game (rebounds, assists, steals, etc). It also seemed like he played BETTER when he was next to Burke and Hayward, which seems counter-intuitive. When he's next to Garrett and Jefferson it seems like he should be "the man", but he seems to thrive when he's next to good players instead of bench warmers.

Gordon Hayward: Three words. Chase. Down. BLOCKS. I think he got 3 chase down blocks and each one was prettier than the last. His shot came back tonight, too, which was nice to see. He was much more aggressive than he has been playing recently, and it showed. He got to the line early and got some good looks, which allowed him to get into a rhythm. He didn't get the rebounds and assists that he usually does, but anytime a player scores 22 points AND has 2+ in EVERY category, that's impressive. He needs to cut back on those long twos, but it was nice to see him bounce back.

Enes Kanter: He looked dominant. He bullied people down low on the block and his shooting form looked fantastic tonight. He still didn't get enough minutes, and Ty Corbin is still stupid enough to believe that he can't play next to Favors, but... whatever. He put up 11 and 6 with 2 blocks and 1 assist in 19 minutes. That translates to 21 points, 11 rebounds, 3.6 blocks, and 1.8 assists in 36 minutes. In other words: DOMINANT. He was aggressive on defense, which was fantastic, and he only had 2 turnovers (one of them a questionable moving screen call). He was abusing defenders all night.

Derrick Favors: He changed shots all night and played solid defense. And even though he scored 21 points, it felt like the Jazz weren't going to him ENOUGH. I know he had 16 FGA, but it didn't FEEL like that many, if that makes sense. He was getting phenomenal position all night against Larry Sanders, who could not keep him off the low block. That said, he made 21 points look EASY. I didn't realize how many points he was racking up. Not much else to say. His game was solid on both ends of the floor and his presence was felt by anyone who dared enter the paint.

Jeremy Evans: He didn't play a great game, but he had some exciting plays. Even a missed Evans dunk gets the crowd into it (a failed dunk from a lob that was THIS close to being in). He seems hesitant to shoot jump shots, which is strange since he was hitting them at an insanely high rate earlier in the season. Other than his failed alley-oop and one other dunk, he only took two shots. He did get a few rebounds, but he didn't look comfortable on defense.

Richard Jefferson: He seems to have gone from "invisible" to "markedly terrible". So... at least now his "contributions" are noticeable. Too bad it's in a negative way. 25 useless minutes that could have been going to Kanter and Burks instead. I think it took until 8 or 9 minutes left in the first half for Jefferson to record a SINGLE STATISTIC - an uncontested rebound. He was god-awful tonight, and other than his one good drive to the hoop, he did nothing for the team. And yet there are STILL stretches where the team goes out of its way to feature him on offense.

Marvin Williams: My goodness. Only a vet could play this badly and still get nearly 29 minutes. Other than a nice steal late in the game, he contributed basically nothing all game. He couldn't hit a shot, he couldn't defend anybody, he couldn't rebound... THIS is the Marvin Williams of last year. I kept forgetting he was on the floor. Why can't Kanter get the green light to shoot threes (or long twos, the Utah Jazz specialty).

Diante Garrett: He looked solid tonight. Came in and did his job as the backup, hitting some key shots and playing decent enough to keep the lead intact. He had a couple of bad passes, but his shooting was lights-out to make up for it. He could be a great backup for quite a few years if Neto doesn't pan out.

Ty Corbin: The defense forced a lot of turnovers tonight, and I'm assuming at least some of that is due to film study. I'm trying to give him credit where I can, because he does get a lot of hate from the fans (myself included). However, he STILL has shown that he is unwilling to play the F5 together (I think we had 4 of the 5 on the court for maybe 10 minutes total tonight, and other than that only 3 were on the floor at a time). He refuses to let Kanter shoot threes. He won't adjust his gameplan to let Kanter and Favors play together. He still coaches his guys to take long twos (or fails to get them to stop taking them; either way it's a failure on him as a coach). He was vocal a few times that I noticed, but it seemed like he actually let Burke run the show on the floor. I heard him yelling "MOVE!" a few times, but I didn't hear specific instructions from him. For long stretches he wouldn't even leave the bench. He still hesitated to change lineups to get his guys rest, which left Burks and Hayward in for absurdly long stretches with very little rest.

Anyway, that's all I can think of.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.