Now this is more like it! The Utah Jazz (1-1) beat up on the injured Philadelphia 76ers (0-2) in what some hyped up to be a battle of two young teams that were big in the paint. In a way you can agree with a lot of those statements, the Jazz have an average age of 24 and the Sixers are even younger at 21. And yes, these two teams add (in theory) a Rudy Gobert, , , , , , , , and to the table. And yes, the paint was scored in, repeatedly tonight. But the Jazz won the battle there with 40 points in the paint, 51 rebounds, and 8 blocks to the Sixers 22 points in the paint, 39 rebounds, and 5 blocks. The Jazz won. And won big. And it was because their size was used as an advantage, and not taken advantage of by more mobile stretch bigs. (Like what happened in Detroit) How many times a year will the Jazz appear this dominant? I don't know. But a huge part of it is being allowed to use this size to tower over opponents.
Noel and Jahlil had very solid games against Boston, but went a combined 6/24 tonight, not even able to score in the post with any regularity even against Utah's third string bigs. Ouch. Because it really did start and end with the big guys for the Jazz:
- Derrick Favors: 20 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 1 assists, 8/10 from the FT line
- Rudy Gobert: 8 points (only 6 shots), 11 rebounds, 6 blocks, 2 assists, a few highlights, a great stare down
- , Trey Lyles, Tibor Pleiss: great energy and defense, also added 4 points, 6 rebounds, but had a bad shooting night, only 2/9 shooting
Of course, the blowout where the Jazz were up by 30 at one point, wasn't just because of the bigmen. Everyone played their part.and took care of the scoring early, and allowed for to get some good looks in the second half. Alec finished the game with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and a steal, assist, and made three. Rodney shook off his 0-7 shooting from deep to go 3 for 6 tonight, and nearly led the team with his 17 points. He also added an assist. Gordon Hayward continues to shoot in a slump, 12 points off of 12 shots, including his 6 FTA to help him get there. But he does so many other things on the court for the team, he added 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and helped keep Philly out of reach.
Numerically it was all good for most of the Jazz rotation, and Philly didn't really put up a fight. (Which is a shame, as tonight they honored three of their family who passed away over the summer, Hall of Fame center Moses Malone who brought them a ring, Darryl Dawkins, and effectively the first numbers guy in the history of the NBA, Harvey Pollack. You can't boo on a night like that.) But what I think most everyone is going to talk about tonight was the great bounce back game for the Jazz point guards.
looked more like himself, or what we saw in the preseason. He was active on both sides of the ball and finished with 7 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals. He hit another three and was actively a pest. He's going to develop a rep pretty soon.
has the unenviable task of changing the minds of people who have made their minds up already, but he shot fg% tonight on his way to 10 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds. He made a lot of smart moves by being the guy we drafted. If he continues to play with confidence like this the sky could be the limit. His hustle on defense was noticeable, and a lot of other Jazz people should have taken notice. He even had a steal!
Anyway, you don't care about that. You wanna see Rudy and company murder Philly. Here you go, ya filthy animals! (Home Alone reference)
AIR COOK BOOK https://t.co/0XGxXj8xM0— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) October 30, 2015
Sometimes, people need to be reminded that Gordon Hayward dunks on guys... https://t.co/b3T4V82Tjv— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) October 31, 2015
The Jazz finish off this East road trip with a game tomorrow night, against the Indiana Pacers (0-2). It will be their second game of a back-to-back, and their third game in four nights. And thankfully, not the third straight "home opener" the Jazz have to play as the road team.