The Utah Jazz won, in a big way mind you, for the second night in a row. The Jazz did it again on the second night of a back-to-back; and against another team playing with motivation. Against the Philadelphia 76ers they were honoring the memories of Moses Malone, Darryl Dawkins, and stats guru Harvey Pollack. Against the Indiana Pacers they were honoring the memory of Mel Daniels, who had passed away just the night before. It's hard to bring it on the road every night, especially in emotional games that mean more than just a regular season win. So you have to take your hat off to the Jazz for doing it right now. All these road games early may make them that much sharper. But back to the game, and really, the 97-76 final score was not at all indicative of the game we all saw.
The first quarter was brutal with the team almost going the entire 12 minutes without "earning" a trip to the free throw line -- though I think NBA Draft. Before you could say "Nascar fandom includes among them many Mensa members" the Pacers were looking like they would win their first game of the season.and could have something to say about that. The second quarter saw a steady diet of rookie , whom many Jazz fans were hoping would fall to #12 in the
Sure, it was only a seven point deficit, but it's pretty clear that Quin Snyder spooked his team pretty good in the locker room. (Perhaps he took off his human mask to reveal a flaming skull where his head should have been, I dunno . . . it was Halloween.) They responded, immediately, by taking control of the game. In the third quarter they went on a 12-0 run -- both teams were playing their starters ( , , Gordon Hayward, , and vs. , , , , and ). So I don't think you could argue that it was a talent issue that spurred this comeback. Utah just clamped down on defense, and suffocated Indiana to death. It was slow. It was deliberate. It was . . . without remorse. The Jazz then went on their second extended run of the quarter by going for an 8-0 romp almost immediately after.
In the fourth quarter Gordon Hayward finally got going, and helped put Indy to bed. This is Gordon's second victory in his home state, and his work as a spot up shooter (similar to his performances there in his first two seasons with the team) helped him salvage an otherwise third straight poor shooting performance.
The Jazz had two more big runs in the fourth, 10-0 and an finishing salvo of 10-2, that put the game away. For good.
What started off as a messy unfun game turned into a horror movie for the home crowd. Indiana would score only 76 points. They're not missing anyone. They scored a grand total of 27 points in the second half after scoring 29 in the first quarter. Utah is a slow, deliberate, killer. (
Like bacon.) ( Shutup. Bacon for life!)
The team, once again, saw huge performances from Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. Derrick finished wiht 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, while shooting above 50 fg%. Somehow he only got to the line once all game, despite being our primary option on offense. Favors don't mind. He's just going to dunk it on your silly team.
Gobert had his second near-miss of a double double, finishing with 9 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks. He went 3/4 from the free throw line. I don't see him getting a lot of touches early, especially because he's so willing to make the extra pass. So it is that much more important that he makes the most of his free throw trips. His defense tho...
Rodney Hood was fantastic, and for the second night in a row, almost led the team in scoring. He was one of the only guys to do any damage in the first half (lack of scouting reports on him?), and finished the game with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 4 steals. He had his best shooting night of the season going 8/13, and made one of this three three point attempts. Previously we had only seen him be a shooter in 2015-16, so it's nice to see more of his all-around game flourish when he is needed most. (And that's when Gordon is struggling, like he was tonight for three quarters.)
There was solid defensive play from most of our guys, though Indy was getting a lot of cheap calls. (Which didn't reciprocate on the Jazz getting cheap calls). Raul Neto was hampered by foul trouble.-- instrumental on defense in the second half -- couldn't catch a break as George Hill would jump into him while Book was flying out of bounds, and it would be called a shooting foul. was his usual self, finishing with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. His contributions on defense continue to go under the radar. But when it comes to the bench I think we're going to be doing the Burke/Burks report for a while.
Speaking of which, Alec Burks had a very poor shooting night. If all you do is catch the boxscore his 4/13 looks straight up Haywardian. If you look at the shot location data it doesn't look any prettier. But if you watched the game it tells a different story. He missed a lot of layups BECAUSE he wasn't being rewarded with free throws. Which led him to change his on-court personality to attempt more midrange shots off the bounce. So this is probably how you defeat him -- make sure his slashing game is neutralized, and see him drift intoshot taking territory (aka. the worst shots in the game, from 16-19 feet). Of course, a lot of this is predicated on Burks just not getting the rep calls to get to the line. Half the games are in Utah, and he should get some of those benefit of the doubt calls.
is balling. He continues to hustle on defense (2 steals tonight), and is shooting well (6/11), and finished with 15 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. On a night when Raul Neto is shooting like Raul Nasty (0/5) it's nice to have someone who can step up off the bench and help the team play 5 on 5 on offense. Of course, there are still times out there when it seems like the Jazz are playing 4 on 5 on defense with Trey out there, but those are honestly becoming fewer and farther in-between. George Hill did have 17 points in this game, but before facing Raul/Trey he was averaging 19.5 ppg. So, not bad.
For Indiana their star pairing of Paul George and Monta Ellis ended up shooting 11/25, which isn't great. Their 28 points were boosted by free throw attempts. (Man, I can't wait to play a home game...) C.J. Miles went 1/9, which is disappointing. However, it's a blessing as he seems to always make shots against his old club (previous to tonight his career vs. UTA FG% was .4865).
It really was a tale of two halves for this game. The first half was worrying. The second half had sufficient garbage time for Quin Snyder to play all 13 active players on the roster. And after the first Eastern Conference road trip the Jazz are 2-1. Not bad. Not bad, at all, Utah. They next play on Wednesday, November 4th -- their home opener against the Portland Trail Blazers.
I think the team earned a day off today with how they finished up that trip. I love seeing this team play with an attitude, like they were supposed to beat you down. They're playing with that right now. And we haven't seen that in a while.