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The Utah Jazz, now healthy, need to step up their play at home - The Downbeat #1832

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Zero content yesterday means bonus content today.

Ten points to anyone who can name the other #18 players in Jazz history
Ten points to anyone who can name the other #18 players in Jazz history
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

A bonus Downbeat for all the good Utah Jazz fans out there. Today we talk about what's wrong with the Utah Jazz at home, and the surprising fact that . . . gulp . . . the team is more than halfway done in the #801 this season, with a record barely above .500. Today we also look at the top big men at scoring in the paint over a variety of play types -- and see which Jazzmen make it. There's some more Trey Lyles love, and speculation about what does Rudy Gobert mean? (He's getting all Albert Camus -like with his tweets!) And last, but most importantly, we have to speculate on why did Raul Neto shave his beard.

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Tonight the Utah Jazz host the Minnesota Timberwolves. It will be game 46 for the Jazz, but it will be just their 24th home game of the season. (After tonight: 24 at home, 22 on the road) In my recollection of this season so far it doesn't appear to be one with a lot of home games, but here we are. I guess part of that feeling for me is two-fold. The first is that the Jazz are not dominating at home like I am used to seeing. The second is that with all the injuries the team has played a number of forgettable games this season -- so my mind wants to forget them sooner. The Jazz are 13-10 at home this season. They dropped games at home to the Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic, and Detroit Pistons. Orlando and Detroit both swept the Jazz, and Portland is Portland. These are three home losses that leave a bad taste in my mouth. I get the losses to the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, and Oklahoma City Thunder (x2). But the injuries sure have made winnable games very few and far in-between in Utah.

Hopefully as the team continues to find themselves, and get healthy after the All-Star Break, we'll see many more home wins. As it stands though, there are only 17 more home games left this regular season. How many more do you think we'll win? I'd be happy if the Jazz went on a tear at home, but don't see that happening this season.

At this point, I'll be happy if the Jazz go 23 and 17 at home. But I don't know if they will win 10 of their remaining 17 games in the Aunt Viv. They *can* do it, but it means they have to win all of the games they are supposed to, and steal two from the following group: Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs (x2), Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, and Dallas Mavericks. It's possible, but not plausible IMO.

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Speculate on the background for this Raul Neto event, please. You have three sentences to explain it. GO!

My attempt:

Raul's parents wanted him looking fresh for the world team.

Raul wanted to be hardcore.

His parents disagreed.

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Sooooooo, Synergy Sports Tech is bringing the heat right now. And when they are specifically looking at bigmen scoring in the paint we learn a little more about the guys doing battle there every night.

It's no surprise that we don't see any Jazzmen here for transition scoring -- the team has just been flat out bad at this all season long. Secondly, this is a surprise, but the top bigmen at scoring in the pick and roll do not include any Jazzmen. That's a shame. I grew up on watching almost exclusively that on some nights depending on if Karl was feeling it or feeling generous (more assists). We do find Enes Kanter here for put backs, but we don't care about him anymore.

We do care about Derrick Favors, and really do enjoy seeing his name up here on the list for players scoring in the paint through cuts. This is very special for me because it's important. The Flex offense was about cuts. Moving without the ball is something players either know how to do, or it's something they fail at. This shows that Derrick Favors understands offense and defense, and space. He knows when to move, and he knows where to move to get the ball in a finishing position. Quin Snyder's offense doesn't just rely on cuts and passes like the Flex did. But it's very good to see some part of Jazz basketball persist through the efforts of Derrick Favors.

Personally, he's the guy I least want the Jazz to trade. Even if the more correct answers are Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert.

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Okay, we've warmed up to Trey Lyles. But we're not the only people fond of him. Zach Lowe tried to show where he fits into the Utah Jazz future in part of his post (discussed here). But our sister site in the NCAA division of SB Nation had a chance to talk about him some more! Check it out!

It's mostly a link dump, but it's nice to see people from all over -- including his former home in Kentucky -- still come out to say nice things about our rookie. Also, it's a shame that he's not going to be in the BBVA Rising Stars challenge, unless they call him up as a replacement for the World Team's injured Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic. (details here!)

It won't be the end of the world if he doesn't make the game as a rookie, he will have a chance to do it next season. A number of Utah Jazz players didn't make it in their first years: namely Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward. Both of those guys turned out alright. I think patience is the word with Lyles, and every week he seems to be making that patience pay off for the guys who drafted him. I don't ever remember someone going from awful to starter in such a quick fashion. Sure, some of that was injured relayed, but the thought still stands. I don't think anyone felt like he'd be shooting 40% from downtown as a rookie. Especially after shooting something like 13% in the NCAAs from deep.

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We love Rudy Gobert's tweets. Yesterday he got a little poetic or "office wall decoration inspirational". See for yourselves:

So what did he say? Basically, "people want to decide what you can or cannot be . . . but never forget that it is you who decides who you are." But what did he mean? Was this in response to not making the All-Star team? Was this him sub-tweeting someone in his real life? Was it his cat? Does Rudy even have a cat? I dunno. If I had a cat I would probably sub-tweet the living hairball out o that cat.

Or maybe Rudy was just being inspirational here? Either way, I love how he brings his passion for life into the game he plays. For some it's just a game. For others, Basketball is just a job. But for Rudy Gobert -- Basketball his is calling. And you want that intensity and desire from your best players. And Rudy has both.