What an exciting team we have this year!!!!
Coach Quin, Exum, Hood all had their debuts at this level tonight. Exum and Hood both took 3 pointers as their 1st shots and both made them.
Coach Q had some intriguing rotations tongiht. Hood was first off the bench. At one point when Rockets went small, we had a lineup of Burke, Burks, Hood, Hayward, and Gobert. Gobert got a lot of burn. Booker played a lot too. Favors led all Jazz big men in playing time with 27 minutes.
The 1st 18 minutes went well for the Jazz. We were up 42-36 with about 6 minutes to go in the first half. Then the Rockets unleashed a 3 point barrage on us, going on a 22-8 run to end the half, with previous no-name-to-me Kostas Papanikolaou making 3 of those three pointers.
The Jazz made a good comeback run in the 3rd quarter getting within striking distance at 75-72. Then the Jazz went ice cold for much of the 4th quarter to squander their earlier efforts.
Tonight the Jazz definitely
lived and died by the 3 on both sides of the floor. Take a look at the shot chart:
Rockets made a scorching 14 of 27 three pointers for 52% while the Jazz shot a paltry 3 of 18 for 18%. That is honestly the bottom line for why the Jazz lost tonight, the shots just weren't falling from outside tonight.
The Jazz had 5 less turnovers than the Rockets, 3 more made free throws than the Rockets, 7 less fouls than the Rockets and roughly the same team stats in every other area.
The Rockets had notably better ball movement than the Jazz tonight which should be unsurprising as the Jazz go through the growing pains of tackling on an entirely different system compared to the Utah teams of yesteryear. The Rockets would frequently slash into the paint just to kick it out a wide open player outside to drain the easy 3.
The Jazz looked less fluid tonight compared to some of their preseason games and had some stagnation problems of reverting back to old habits such as taking several long 2 pointers as well as missing a bunch of easy buckets at point blank range. I mean just look at all those "X's" in the paint by the Jazz. Your proper reaction when looking at all those misses should be as follows:
However, back to the good things that we saw tonight from our team.
Trevor Booker looks as if he is capable of making a bigger impact on the team this year than perhaps many of us, including myself, gave him credit for. He played the most minutes off the bench at 23, made 6 of 10 shots (even though it felt like his misses were ugly and more frequent), and finished with 14 points and 5 boards.
Burks gonna Burk. Alec had a clean 18 points off of 11 shots. I lost track of the amount of time he seductively spent on the court with his tongue out of his mouth to the side.
Trey had some questionable shot selection tonight but still finished with an okay 15 points off of 16 shots. Also has 4 assists and 2 turnovers.
Derrick Favors was just a defensive beast tonight, contributing to Dwight Howard fouling out and having 6 turnovers. Favors statline: a sexy 16 points off of 10 shots, 7 boards, 2 assists, with 3 STEALS and 4 BLOCKS BABY!!!! Yeah, Favors had the closest thing to a vintage Utah Jazz 5-by-5 as we were gonna see tonight.
Kanter by the eyeball test didn't impress me. But looking back at the box score he still was productive with 10 points and 5 boards in 22 minutes. He's still gotta work on that defense though.
Hayward shot horrible (3-11) but still finished with 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists with only 1 turnover and foul, so not bad but it still leaves something to be desired.
Gobert didn't stand out in the box score, but while watching the game it was apparent that he was affecting just about every shot within 10 feet of the rim when he was on the court.
And like I touched on earlier both of our rookies made a 3 pointer for their 1st ever career shots. Hood finished with 5 point and a surprising 2 blocks. Exum had a tidy 5 points in 10 minutes.
Novak, Evans, and Clark did not play, but for some reason Joe Ingles did.....curious....
In conclusion, if the Jazz just shot even an average 39% from 3 point land, they would have won tonight. But alas, they did not in both regards.
Jazz play at the Mavericks tomorrow at 6:30 P.M. MT to continue through this season of hope.