RUN IT BACK
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Alec Burks provided a huge spark off the bench, scoring 14 points on 6-10 shooting to go along with 4 assists and 3 rebounds. In his 14-minutes of first-half action, the Jazz outscored the Warriors 40-25.
PLAY OF THE GAME: 11:25 1st-Qtr – Gordon Hayward penetrated and kicked out to Enes Kanter for a 17-foot elbow jumper to record Utah’s first points of the 2013-14 season. It was one of a team-high 8 assists for Hayward.
BEST SHOT: 4:15 3rd-Qtr – Trey Burke hit an off-balance three from the left-corner after receiving a crosscourt pass from Gordon Hayward (via side screen-roll).
BEST MOVE: 7:49 2nd-Qtr – Andris Biedrins shocked the entire state of Utah by taking Andrew Bogut off the dribble starting 23-feet from the basket before hitting a spinning left-handed hook – an off-balance shot that would have made Jeff Hornacek proud.
BEST PASS: 3:11 1st-Qtr – Trey Burke pushed the ball in transition to the FT line where he delivered a rocket one-hand off-the-dribble feed to Jeremy Evans who swooped in for a two-hand flush.
BEST BLOCK: 7:52 3rd-Qtr – Richard Jefferson showed great recognition, dropping off Iggy to reject Steph Curry (who lost a trailing Burke on a series of wrap-around screens) at the rim.
BEST STEAL: 3:25 3rd-Qtr – Hayward ripped the ball away from Klay Thompson (who stayed behind to argue for a foul) and pushed the ball ahead before dishing to Favors for a reverse layup.
WORST CALL: 9:37 3rd-Qtr – Derrick Favors snuffed out a driving Andre Iguodala layup but was called for a foul. Iggy promptly missed the first foul shot. #BallDontLie
STAT OF THE GAME: Golden State’s starters actually played more minutes (121) than Utah’s (120), yet Jazz starters finished with more points (+4), rebounds (+5), assists (+5) and blocks (+4) while shooting 7.1% better from the floor.
STATISTICAL ANOMALY OF THE GAME: John Lucas III, a career 39%-shooter, shot 5-9 from the field and 2-2 from behind the arc. Lucas is a respectable 3pt-shooter but his dreadful two-point percentages (39.9% the past 2 seasons) drag down his overall FG%. 4-7 on 2’s last night (43%) hopefully is a sign of improvement to come – but still the numbers say to expect rough shooting nights in the future for Lucas.
“GET BETTER” OF THE GAME: Jeremy Evans’ outlet passes (needs to improve vision to foresee lurking defenders), Derrick Favors’ finishing around the rim (imo part bad luck, part lack of concentration), Enes Kanter’s showing out on screens (esp. on Steph Curry). They all did a lot of good things, but in those areas they need to go back to work and get better.
MAILMAN PLAY OF THE GAME: 2:13 2nd-Qtr – Kanter stepped off the left-block, reverse-pivoted, jab-stepped Bogut then hit a face-up jumper in his face. We’ve seen that before.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: “We’ve been waiting to play together a lot, I mean we played a lot in practice the last two years against – you know the veterans we had but you know on the actual game – actual court we’ve been waiting to play for a minute.”
SEE A DIFFERENT GAME
While Utah shined in transition, their halfcourt execution wasn’t particularly sharp. While that’s to be expected early in preseason, there were also positive signs such as this play that got Derrick Favors an easy layup at the 1:43-mark of the 2nd-quarter.
Let’s look at if frame-by-frame:
1. With Alec Burks holding the ball on the wing, Trey Burke goes into the lane and cross-screens for Derrick Favors who is being guarded by David Lee (circled). A hallmark of Jazzbasketball is “little guys screening for big guys” and Trey Burke shows he is willing to sacrifice his body to set a pick on the 6-9 240-pound Lee.
2. Lee opts to go “over” on the screen as Favors goes under. The creates the separation and positional advantage needed for Favors to beat Lee “to the spot.”
3. Because Lee went top-side, Favors now has leverage to seal Lee baseline. This is where timing become a factor – and Burks is in a ready position to make a sharp post-entry pass the instant that Favors gets Lee pinned on his back. Favors catches takes one dribble and finishes an easy reverse-layup.
With Al Jefferson, Utah at times would cross-screen but the only real advantage it served was preventing Al’s man from fronting him in the post. When Al did catch the ball, he would still hold it and then start his back-down move. Al was never the type of player who could score on the move or could take advantage of deep post position.
With a big like Favors who is much more athletic, explosive and less polished offensively – this type of execution will be welcomed to help Utah “manufacture” clean looks at the rim.
Battle of the Assistant Coaches:
For the Jazz you have Sidney Lowe wearing a suit that would make Craig Sager blush.
For the Warriors you have Brian Scalabrine entering his first season as an assistant coach with Golden State.
Yes it’s only preseason, but on a night where Utah smothered Golden State defensively and had their way in the paint (42-20) and on the boards (62-21), at least the Warriors had the edge in something.