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The Late Canadian Thanksgiving Edition: The Downbeat #1482

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It's a special Thanksgiving edition of the Downbeat. Dig in.

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"Hey, buddy.  Happy Thanksgiving."

I remember when the previous owner of this website was a God-fearing man and took national holidays off like a good American.  But, because reading about the Jazz is more important than spending time with your family, here we are.

You're the reason stores are opening Thanksgiving morning for Black Friday sales.  I hope you're happy.

Okay, let's talk Jazz.  Kevin Pelton answered a few questions yesterday in his chat. He'll never say this, but I assume that he shakes his head at about 95% of the questions he receives.  Kevin's a good guy though and doesn't publish those with just SMDH at every one.  The best answers far me are those where he mentions the Jazz without being asked about them directly.  Here's one of them:

Kevin Pelton

The Jazz have had tough opponents to start the season.  Playing the Mavs twice as well as the Warriors, Clippers, and Rockets hadn't helped.  As a result, the Jazz have played the third-toughest schedule in the league so far:

That also means that the Kings are for real so far while the Lakers might not suck as much as we hope they do.  No, they still suck.  Also, the Knicks have had the easiest schedule so far and they're still terrible.

Any win is good for the Jazz but right now, I would give them two quality wins: Cleveland and Phoenix.  The Cavs weren't playing at the their best, but it was a win that showed what the Jazz can and should do night in and night out.  The loss to the Bulls was painful, but it was good to feel pain after a loss rather than a "meh."

One more item Pelton touched upon was the lack of defensive improvement so far from the Jazz:

That's been my biggest surprise.  That was Snyder's main selling point when he interviewed for the position. There's still a ton of time to improve, but where are things breaking down?  Are starting guards are sieves, we know that.

The good news is that the Jazz are now slightly above average in fouls committed (meaning they're down) and they're not sending opponents to the free-throw line as much.

Despite their slow pace, they're giving up a ton of extra shots and opponents are shooting well with those extra shots.  Those extra shots come as a result of not forcing a lot of turnovers and being below average on defensive rebounds.  The Jazz are allowing opponents to shoot 37% from three so far this season, sixth worst in the league.

The offense has shown improvement, but for a team that wants to get out and run, the lack opponent turnovers and not getting defensive boards really hurts.

From now through the end of December, the Jazz are probably going to be favored in three, maybe four games: Two against the Magic, and one against the 76ers and Timberwolves at home.

We all know the Doctor.  The super fan that's been sitting under the basket for as long as I can remember.  ABC 4 reported yesterday that he wasn't allowed to use props anymore to distract players shooting free throws:

I don't subscribe to his conspiracy theory, but I do believe it was the result of an opposing player, coach, or owner complaining.

The game prior to his protest was against the Pelicans.  I don't recall seeing the umbrella then, only his megaphone.  So I'm not sure what prompted the call from the Jazz and the NBA.

He's right though, there's nothing explicit in the fan conduct about using props to distract players.  But if that's the case, don't they have to get rid of all of the boom sticks that they hand out to the lower bowl to distract players while shooting free throws?  Isn't the noise and movement from those far more distracting than him tossing something into the air?

Maybe the NBA's just mad they can't get any sponsor revenue from his props.

Some favorite Thanksgiving TV episodes for your perusal:

Open poll question: What's your underrated Thanksgiving food or a dish that's not traditional outside of your family that you have to have?

For me, it's cheesy breadsticks.  Not real cheese, mind you.  But breadsticks coated in butter and topped with a powdered cheese and baked.  Crack sticks are what they are.