Final Score: Bulls 97, Jazz 73
How It Got Away
Offensive Execution – The tone of this game was set on each team’s opening possession.
11:43 1st-Qtr – On Chicago’s first possession they ran a well-executed pin-down curl where Joakim Noah’s hard screen on Richard Jefferson drew Enes Kanter’s help on a curling Luol Deng, who dropped the ball off to Noah for an uncontested dunk.
11:25 1st-Qtr – Utah countered on their first possession with a cross-screen post for Kanter (covered) and their own weak-side curl action for Hayward but there was a slight miscommunication on the pass from Jefferson (on the wing) to Hayward curling at the foul line. It appeared Hayward was looking to curl to the basket and RJ thought he was going to spot-up top-of-the-key. As a result the pass was slightly behind him – and Hayward had to pivot backwards which was the difference between kicking out to Favors for a wide-open jumper on the wing and a contested jumper. Favors missed (which could be argued would’ve happened either way) but this “growth” thing should involve executing an opening offensive set and just a miniscule detail resulted in a far lower percentage shot.
Unfortunately, that has been a main storyline all season. Both teams ran virtually identical sets but the Bulls got a dunk and the Jazz a contested jumpshot.
Defensive Execution – Utah’s attention to detail didn’t improve defensively either.
10:46 1st-Qtr – Derrick Rose probes off a double-high ball-screen and Tinsley goes under on both. After Chicago’s halfcourt set stalls, Rose winds up with the ball 25-feet from the basket guarded by Tinsley with 6-seconds on the shotclock and quickly sets up a high screen-roll with Noah (guarded by Kanter). Rose came in shooting just 20% behind the arc, yet this time Tinsley goes over the Noah screen leaving Kanter in a 1-on-1 position to stop Rose’s drive. Two dribbles and Rose is by Kanter for a layup.
9:48 1st-Qtr – A Rose/Boozer side screen-roll that Tinsley again goes over and this time Utah helps from the weakside (RJ) – resulting in an 18-foot jumper by Deng. Later Utah changed their screen-roll defense to start trapping Rose – which played right to Boozer’s strengths as Booze got going in both the late 1st and early 3rd-quarter.
This isn’t second-guessing – this is first-guessing. If you’re going to start out with Tinsley guarding Rose, you need to go under on the screen and force Rose to start making off-the-dribble jumpers. If he beats you that way he beats you, but we know (or should have known) if you trap then Boozer is going to go off (exactly how he burned Utah in crunchtime last year in SLC) and if you go over then Rose is going to toast your bigs on the blow-by.
Snowball Effect – Offensive, defensive, effort and awareness breakdowns.
9:21 1st-Qtr – A short floater by Hayward (off a well-executed baseline curl) kept Utah in it down just 9-7, before another round of end-to-end breakdowns occurred.
8:34 1st-Qtr – Off a Kanter miss, Noah sprinted away from Favors in Karl Malone-fashion for a layup. That’s the type of play that simply can’t happen and something that Favors’ has rarely allowed to happen in his Jazz career (last season Favors racked up several deflections by running the floor hard defensively) but has now happened several times on this road trip.
8:15 1st-Qtr – On Utah’s next offensive possession, the Jazz bizarrely posted Richard Jefferson on 6-8 Luol Deng. Jefferson took a contested fall-away jumper that predictably missed and in transition Rose smoked Tinsley, drew three Jazz defenders at the rim and kicked out to a wide-open Jimmy Butler for three to put the Bulls up 14-7.
7:55 1st-Qtr – On Utah’s next possession they tried to get the ball to Kanter at the high post in “horns” but Noah came from behind, deflected the pass and threw ahead to Rose for a breakaway. Suddenly a 9-7 deficit became 16-7 and the Jazz were calling for time before Matt Harpring could say “fry sauce.”
7:40 1st-Qtr – Out of the timeout, Hayward got loose on another baseline curl in which both Jefferson and Favors freed Hayward of Butler – drew help and dished to Favors for a dunk. That’s the type of execution the Jazz need but were only able to get once every 3-4 possessions at-best.
7:24 1st-Qtr – Chicago answered with a UCLA shuffle-cut on the left side of the floor, then swung the ball weakside to Boozer at the right elbow and ran a simple back-pick with Rose back-screening for Deng who came ridiculously wide-open for a layup. RJ got picked and neither Kanter or Tinsley helped and the Jazz were down 18-9 after playing less than 5-minutes of basketball.
After that, Utah’s offense continued to disintegrate. Down 18-11, Favors missed a face-up jumper over Boozer in the post and on the ensuing possession Boozer hit exactly the same shot over Favors. Next possession 10-seconds of wasted half-speed motion resulted in Hayward going 1-on-1 with Butler and missing a challenged 14-foot turnaround in the lane. They were completely unable to manufacture points whether it be in halfcourt or transition offense – as evidence by their shooting percentages. The Jazz shot 33% in the 1st-Qtr, 23% in the 2nd-Qtr, and 28% in the 3rd-Qtr before “catching fire” at 39% in the 4th-Qtr.
Odds and Ends
- Down 20-13 with at 4:50 1st-Qtr, Tinsley probed in transition and fed Kanter at the left-elbow for an open 14-foot jumper that missed. Harpring said “Coach Ty didn’t like that shot” and Corbin immediately sent for Gobert to replace Kanter.
1. A wide-open 14-foot jumper for a good mid-range shooter like Kanter was one of the better looks they could get all night.
2. Tinsley probed and passed to Kanter while he was still on the move in transition. If anyone is to blame for that quick shot, it’s Tinsley in that situation.
I had a strong opinion on the difference between in-game teaching and tearing down a player’s confidence from the Celtics game that I edited out of yesterday’s review because I felt it was unfair to blame Corbin when he was so passionately trying to win, but I don’t like admonishing Kanter for taking a quick shot when it’s a good shot that he was put in position to take.
- With 0:00.9 left in the 1st-qtr and Utah inbounding from halfcourt – Derrick Favors ran to the top-of-the-key, took the inbounds pass from Hayward (why is Gordon inbounding?) and launched a lean-in three that was blocked. Genius.
- The Jazz have now lost 4-consecutive games by double-digits for the first time since December 6, 2004.
It should be noted that one of those losses was far more competitive than anything we’ve seen this season – an overtime loss in Seattle in which Howard Eisley essentially blew the game in regulation with a missed layup and the final 10-point margin was a by-product of intentionally fouling at the end.
- Jamaal Tinsley is now 1-14 on three-pointers this season. Coincidentally, Tinsley started the 2012-13 season 1-14 on threes but did follow that up with a more respectable 34% clip from downtown to close the season. Teams have been daring him to shoot all season, so if he can warm up (he had a 17-39, 44% stretch in December) he can open up some things for Hayward driving and Favors/Kanter inside.
The Final Word
The Bulls simply out-everythinged the Jazz. They out-hustled them, they out-talented them, and they out-executed them. Again the Jazz should be expected to lose due to talent deficiencies or an absence of late-game experience – but not blown out from a lack of effort or from such a dearth of execution.
Coaching aside, Utah’s on-court play has significantly deteriorated since opening night. Regardless of postgame rhetoric, I see a team not only lacking in success but also in confidence. Blame whomever you want, but no matter who is at the helm, the Jazz need to get several of their more prominent players believing in their abilities again because once a young player’s confidence goes – the developmental stage becomes stagnation and stagnation leads to unfulfilled potential.
Winless and playing the 4th game in 6 nights to close out a roadtrip, I really don’t even care if the Jazz win or lose against a bad Toronto team. I mostly want to see several members of the “Core-4” begin to believe in their ability again. Utah has a lot of things that are broken (quite literally in Trey Burke’s case), but some of those are fixable and rebuilding shattered confidence can begin tonight north of the border.