The Utah Jazz (25-16) made this game much harder on themselves, but still found a way to come back and beat the Orlando Magic (17-24) by an acceptable margin: 114-107. First of all, yes, Rodney Hood is hurt. We don’t know how badly. But we do have a post on that over here, for that discussion:
Let’s keep this about the game that happened, and the really impressive win, if you can call letting a tired road team missing their best offensive player (Evan Fournier) drop 42 points on you.
Utah was not at all impressive, nor did they look like themselves. I don’t just mean putting Joe Johnson on the inactive list (activating Raul Neto, and resting old Ironsides). During stretches of this game both teams had ORTGs and DRTGs that were above 115. That means no one is playing defense. That’s the OPPOSITE of what both of these teams are trying to do. (Both Quin Snyder and Frank Vogel are running defense first programs, I mean, what else are you going to do when you have guys like Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Serge Ibaka, and Bismack Biyombo getting serious minutes?)
Elfrid Payton was driving and attacking the rim with abandon. Orlando did a lot of high screen and roll stuff where there was no one guarding the paint (Rudy was baited out of the paint quite a bit by their bigs taking jumpers — Ibaka 7 threes, Nikola Vucevic 3, Aaron Gordon 6, Jeff Green 3). Payton had a great game and gave George Hill fits. The refs also gave Hill fits, and allowed Payton to get whatever he wanted. Elfrid would get to the line 11 times, greatly rolling out the red carpet for his 28 point night (career high).
Payton’s penetration and sloppy Jazz play led to many easy buckets in both the half court and in transition. Gordon was getting highlight reel dunks while the Jazz were botching simple passes. The 42 point first quarter “defense” by Utah was very bad. And again, worse still when giving it up to one of the WORST offensive teams in the league, playing on the second night of a back to back, in their third game in four nights, on a six game Western Conference road trip, while their best offensive player is injured and not playing.
Utah “won” the next three quarters 35-23, 20-18, and 30-24 -- but they kind of HAD to in order to secure this win. Gordon Hayward was effective, efficient, and evolving — yet didn’t demand the ball that much and only took 10 shots. It seems like every time he touched it he was either hitting a three, getting to the line, or dunking it on guys. Let’s try to get him the ball more, next game? Okay?
Rudy Gobert continues to be the absolute axis that this Jazz world rotates upon. His ability to get multiple offensive rebounds on plays where his teammates are missing jumpers . . . or his game changing ability on defense . . . Rudy was tremendous, as usual. He had good chemistry with a number of passers on offense as well. He finished with 19 points, 19 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 assists. But because this game is crazy, he finished -6 in +/-.
When the Jazz were floundering on offense during this game, they got some life from Derrick Favors and Alec Burks. Both were effective and combined for 25 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 6 FTA. That’s not world beating, but both are still in training camp mode right now in the season. Every little bit helps.
Boris Diaw is a conundrum. He somehow missed two layups on the same play (that included about 4 non-called fouls and 7 turn overs by both teams combined), yet found time to do crazy things like hit Hayward cutting, or finishing touchdown plays.
No one would claim that he had a great game. And his +21 in +/- tell us that the +/- stat is meaningless.
Utah found a way to win tonight, while shooting 26.9% from downtown and 69.4% from the line — after letting the other team take a 42-29 lead after one quarter. Joe Ingles put on his cape and saved the day with a pair of late threes after Hood left the game. But on paper this game should not have had to have needed that. (English is a crazy language.)
Happy for the win. Three and oh on this home stand. Taking care of business. Hope Hood isn’t out for much time, but he needs to be healthy for the playoffs. Period.
Utah laces them up on Monday, @ Phoenix Suns. And then they do not play again until Friday. So if Hood is out for the Suns, he will be out for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday - five total days. This is a nice break in the schedule. Lucky, even. We do not know how bad his injury is. We will know more as soon as possible. But it’s an easy time to let him rest with only one game in the next five nights.