Run It Back
Final Score: Clippers 108, Jazz 94.
Player of the Game: Derrick Favors. A lot of different players played well, but Favors was an absolute monster and produced in every quarter.
|Derrick Favors – Quarter-by-Quarter Statistics|
Favors set the tone from the outset with a deep post-up on Blake Griffin where he sealed, got a nice entry-pass from Richard Jefferson and went up for a bigtime finish that DeAndre Jordan wanted no part of. By the time the quarter was over he had added a power layup on a mismatch with Jared Dudley, and two jump hooks over Griffin – a left-block baseline spin right-shoulder hook and then right-block left-shoulder jump hook.
Over the final 3-quarters Favors continued to finish strong at the rim while also stepping out on the floor and hitting mid-range jumpers and showing more of his left-hand jump hook. Easily Favors best game of the preseason and the first time he scored 20-points or more in a Jazz uniform since 3/4/13 when he posted 23&15 through 3-quarters before inexplicably riding the bench in the 4th-qtr and overtime.
Best Play: 11:10 1st-Qtr – Favors got Utah on the board with the seal and dunk against Griffin. What made it so effective was Favors started the play on the weakside while Utah ran side-screen roll with Hayward&Kanter. Because that forced Griffin to be the pick&roll rotating big, it allowed Favs to establish deep post-position on him. Utah did a nice job swinging the ball across the court where Favors could make the quick duck-in & seal the lane. That’s the type of play that can manufacture a quality look and get someone like Favors going early.
Best Execution: 2:22 4th-Qtr – High screen-roll with Hayward and Favors. Favors rolled down the middle and Antawn Jamison rotated up to cut off Favors’ drive. Favors made an excellent dump-down pass to Kanter who scored at the rim while also being fouled. Favors was an an effective stationary passer last season but this pass on the move was a primary source of turnovers for him. Malone and Boozer were outstanding at it and when executed properly is another example how a well-executed pick&roll can produce beautiful basketball.
Best Move: 10:57 1st-Qtr – Favors got the ball on the left-block, reverse-pivoted, took a hard dribble right then spun baseline and delivered a left-hand jump hook over Blake Griffin.
Worst Move: 6:20 1st-Qtr Blake Griffin tried to take Favors off-the-dribble from the top of the key, making an ugly crossover in which he turned his right ankle and fell down. Naturally, the refs whistled Favors for a foul and gave Griffin 2 FT’s even though replays showed there was no contact.
Best Dunk: 4:02 3rd-Qtr – Chris Paul and Griffin ran the side pick&roll to perfection, with Blake exploding to the rim over Rudy Gobert (who wisely pulled back to avoid ending up in a poster).
Best Follow-Dunk: 10:36 – 4th-Qtr – With one hand, Gobert emphatically slammed in a missed Mike Harris jumper. There have been a lot of wingspan giants over the years who lacked the athleticism and coordination to be an above-the-rim player at the offensive end. Even a point-blank range, Gobert still showed he has the potential to be more than just a shot-blocker.
Best Pass: 10:10 4th-Qtr – Running in transition Alec Burks shoveled a no-look dish to Scott Machado filling the lane for a layup to put the Jazz up 81-76 and force a Doc Rivers’ timeout.
Runner-Up: 7:16 4th-Qtr – Rudy Gobert got he ball on the left-block and made a gorgeous drop pass to a baseline cutting John Lucas III who promptly air-balled the layup.
Best Block: 11:18 1st-Qtr – Blake Griffin drove right on Favors only to have his 5-foot runner sent back by the long arm of Rudy Gobert. On the very next possession, it was Byron Mullens turn to be rejected by Gobert at the rim. Following his 2nd block, Gobert ran the floor hard and had what appeared to be an open dunk attempt but lost the ball on the way up. He was noticeably winded after that sequence but he played hard and made a tremendous impact (5 blocks, 12 rebounds in just 20-min).
Best Jazzbasketball Play: 9:06 2nd-Qtr – Utah quickly got setup and into their flex offense, with Mike Harris passing from the high-post (right elbow) to a back-cutting Alec Burks for a layup.
Run of the Game: A 2-hand Gobert dunk put Utah ahead 83-78 with 8:58 to play before the Clippers answered with an 8-0 run over the next 2-minutes that proved to be the difference in the game. During LA’s run Alec Burks played out of control with two wild layup attempts that were blocked preceeding Lucas’ airball off the pass from Gobert.
Sneaky Good Player of the Game: Gobert’s impact was obvious. Richard Jefferson put together another efficient game with 11 points and 5 assists on 3-5 shooting, 4-4 from the FT line and 1-1 from behind the arc. In the 3rd-qtr he scored 7 consecutive Jazz points including a nice step-back jumper on the right wing. If he stays within himself and takes care of the ball, he could definitely be a solid starter.
Quote of the Game: I watched the game on an internet feed instead of on TV. This feed played live audio instead of commercials. During halftime, Boler and Harpring had a hilarious “off-camera” exchange about Floyd Mayweather (who was apparently at the game and pointed out by one of the producers). After asking the producer if they could get him for an in-game interview, Harpring then remarked “He’s probably got $5-grand on this game.” My computer probably now a bunch of spyware on it but watching Jazz games on strange internet-feeds does have it’s perks.
Stat of the Game: It was a tale of two-halves for Gordon Hayward, who shot 5-9 in the 1st-half but just 1-9 in the 2nd-half.
After a brilliant start that likely only caused Doc Rivers’ man-crush on Gordon to grow, Hayward struggled to score in the 2nd-half. In my opinion – the struggles were partly due to the Clippers wearing him down, and party due to Utah’s lack of a quality point guard play that put too much pressure on Hayward and forced him too far out on the floor. Even in the first-half, he took a lot of off-the-dribble threes and long-2’s that are great when they’re going in overall the odds will likely catch up to you.
|Gordon Hayward – Quarter-by-Quarter Statistics|
Again it’s hard to criticize a 19/6/6 performance in just 32-minutes of play, but the 1-9 second-half shooting is definitely worthy of discussion following a close loss. This is Hayward’s first time in a leading role, so it’s natural for him to go through some growing pains closing out games as well.
Overall this was Utah’s best preseason performance to date, in my opinion more impressive than their lone victory over Golden State when factoring in opponent, competitiveness of the game and the manner in which they competed. Even though Utah tried hard to win and came up short, if they can combine the levels of intensity and execution they showed tonight 60-70 times during in the regular season – there won’t be many complaints about the 2013-14 Jazz season regardless of their win-loss record.
Following the game, Hoopsworld’s Alex Kennedy reported that the Jazz and Jamaal Tinsley had come to terms on a contract and that Tinsley would join the Jazz prior to Friday night’s preseason finale against the Lakers in Anaheim.
There are two reasons I think this is a terrific move by the Jazz:
1. Tinsley can be an excellent mentor for rookie PG Trey Burke. Unlike John Lucas III, Tinsley has extrodinary court-vision and a 6th-sense that all visionary point guards possess. He can help Burke understand passing angles in the NBA, when to look to push the tempo (Tinsley is still very good at knowing when to throw ahead in transition), and how to slow down in transition to create passing lanes.
Also Tinsley was once in Burke’s shoes. He was the potential franchise point guard for the Indiana Pacers before his career took a sharp swerve that knocked him out of the league completely. While Trey Burke is a outstanding young man coming from a great family, having someone like Jamaal to provide that “Don’t do what I did” example as well as show him that “I’ve learned what it means to be a professional and this is how you do it” approach.
2. There’s a very good chance Tinsley can help the Jazz on the court while Trey Burke is out. John Lucas III has been hot-and-cold offensively and hasn’t been particularly strong orchestrating the offense. Tinsley is the quintessential veteran pass-first point guard who can at the very least come off the bench and stabilize a 2nd-unit that often struggles to score. If he starts, he may struggle defensively but he’ll take some of the pressure off Hayward to make a play every time the shotclock is winding down.
Bottom line: Jamaal Tinsley makes the Jazz a better team.