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Utah Jazz vs Phoenix Suns: Fan Notes From the Game

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Observational research!

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Why do we do this to ourselves? This is a game we likely lose last year. And this is probably a game we still win by 20 if George Hill had played (more on this later). Anyways, I decided to write up my thoughts and impressions after going to the game this evening. I know we have a bunch of Jazz fans who aren’t able to go to any games at The Delta Center EnergySolutions Arena Viv, so I hope you can get a feel for the experience, at least through my eyes.

  • This doesn’t have anything to do with the game itself, but I thought it was interesting. Gordon Hayward was the only player that put his hand over his heart during the National Anthem. I’m not trying to start a social debate or anything, just writing about how my game experience was.
  • Rudy Gobert’s defensive impact cannot be overstated. This is something I recognized even more from being there. You can almost feel the fear that opposing players have of going at him. Very early on he had a few good blocks, those go down in the record book. But his presence and effect often don’t. Like forcing a bad pass because the driver didn’t dare shoot over him. Or forcing a double dribble because his length gives everyone fits. Or scaring people into avoiding the paint altogether. Rudy is also becoming a very intelligent defender. He knows when to help, when to jump, when to back off, and his timing is often perfect.
  • Shelvin Mack certainly hasn’t looked great so far this year. He does some good things, but I think he needs to better recognize his role and that others can put that round orange thing into that other round orange thing a lot better than he can. And defensively, I think he has the size and speed to be pretty decent, he just needs more focused effort. For example, he is often sitting too deep on his heels. This makes it too easy for people to blow by him with hesitation moves and crossovers. Proper defensive stance really just comes down to effort.
  • Unfortunately, Dante Exum hasn’t played very well either. He looks like a rookie again with how timid he is. He is playing like he is scared to make mistakes again. I like the aggressive Dante. The one with the elite quickness to get by just about anybody. I’m really hoping Hill can tutor him in his mental approach to the game. I also keep reminding myself that it takes a long time to come back from ACL injuries. Jabari Parker didn’t look good early on last year either.
  • Why is Gobert not used even more on pick and rolls oops? He is getting a lot better at catching and finishing around the rim. Plus, I’m pretty sure he has the standing reach of a giraffe, so it’s not like someone else will come down with it as long as you put it in the right place.
  • I know a lot of you are sick of the whole “fouling out” thing that Quin Snyder does. But it looked like he uses it more as a teaching tool rather than being worried about fouls. You have to play defense (and offense for that matter) without fouling. Exum made some dumb little fouls and Quin sat him down because of it. As long as it isn’t destroying Dante’s confidence I am cool with it.
  • We need George Hill back so bad. At the beginning of the 4th quarter I just knew exactly what was going to happen. You could feel the entire building grow uneasy. Everyone knew that a blowout was about to turn into a tight game. And sure enough our 20 point lead was down to a 0 point AAHHHH! Hill wouldn’t let that happen and I can’t wait to have him back.
  • Why do our wing defenders suck into the paint to help with interior D? We have the best defensive center in the league. I don’t think he needs much help patrolling the paint. Stay on your dang shooter!
  • Gotta love the advertisements for upcoming home games with George Hill on it. And the expression of gratitude for our loyalty as we leave the game. Hey how about showing us some loyalty once in awhile by giving us injuring updates!? “You love George Hill right? Come watch him play! Maybe...” I’m with Andy (link) that the Jazz really need to be more informative to their loyal fans by being a little more transparent about injuries.

Sorry for the huge block of words. Going to the game is always an awesome experience, so I hope at least some of you could live vicariously through me for a few minutes. Then again, I’m a poor grad student with upcoming finals. No one should have to live that in reality, let alone vicariously.

A win is a win!