Run It Back
Final Score: Jazz 111, Pelicans 105
Play of the Game: 1:22 4th-Qtr – With a 5-on-4 advantage, D-League call-up Deante Garrett pump-faked a corner-3, drove baseline then kicked out to a wide-open Marvin Williams for a top-of-the-key three that put the Jazz up 104-100 and sent Enes Kanter on a chest-bumping frenzy and rest of the Jazz bench pogo-ing into the night.
Player of the Game: It was a total team effort. Gordon Hayward 27/10/5. 22 pts on 7-11 shooting and 3-4 threes for Richard Jefferson. 21&10 for Enes Kanter. 12&12 to go with 5 steals and 2 blocks for Favors. 12&9 from Marvin Williams. 7 for Garrett. Exuberance, encouragement and pure joy from whoever was on the Jazz bench. From the coaches, to the players to the assistant trainer – everyone was alive and into the game..
Best Shot: 3:14 3rd-Qtr – RJ drove baseline, drew the defense and kicked to Hayward in the right corner for a quick-trigger catch&shoot-three that tied the game at 70-70 and got the crowd into the game for the first time.
Best Move: 7:50 4th-Qtr – Hayward drove to the basket in transition and was hacked going up but got no call. He recovered the ball, then aggressively backed down Anthony Morrow, spun, drilled a baseline fallaway jumper and then said something to the official before running back up court. That’s the type of demeanor a go-to scorer needs to have – where not getting a call makes you even hungrier to go initiate contact, score and let the officials know they missed it.
Hayward became the first Jazz player since Deron Williams in February-2011 to post a 25-point/10-assist game. Through 9 games Hayward is averaging 20.3 pts, 6.0 rebs, 5.0 ast in 36.9 minutes of play while raising his FG% to 46% and his FT attempts to 5.2 per game.
Best Drive: 0:24 4th-Qtr – With New Orleans trapping Garrett in high-screen roll, he made a perfect bounce pass to Favors who caught the ball at the 3pt-line, took one dribble then took off from 12-feet out and delivered a soft little finger-roll over Tyreke Evans. Favors didn’t try to force a dunk and or a pass. He took as much as the defense gave him, but not too much. Perfect decision and nice touch around the rim.
Best Block: 3:17 3th-Qtr – Derrick Favors rejected a spinning Tyrke Evans driving layup, sparking a 4-on-3 Jazz break that resulted in a Marvin Williams layup that put the Jazz ahead for good at 98-97.
Best Execution: 8:33 1st-Qtr – Baskets off well-executed baseline out-of-bounds plays seemed to have been retired with Jerry Sloan, but here the Jazz ran their classic screen-the-screener play. Two Pelicans jumped out on Hayward and Kanter (the screener) dove to the basket for a layup.
Best “Karl Malone Move:” Twice (7:05 2nd-Qtr and 10:29 4th-Qtr) Enes Kanter posted Anthony Davis directly beneath the rim, sealed him on his back and scored. The key to that is the pass – that has to be on time, crisp enough to get there yet still catchable for Kanter to snag while holding off the defender. Garrett and Hayward made perfect feeds both times.
Run of the Game: The 2nd-half started in ominous fashion, as the Jazz gave the Pelicans a wide-open pick&pop jumper, Kanter committed a butter-finger turnover leading to a transition layup, Favors missed 2 FT’s and the Jazz then allowed a 2nd-chance putback. A 6-0 New Orleans run 90-seconds into the half and Ty Corbin was forced to call timeout with the Jazz down 16.
After two more scoreless possessions, the Jazz then went on an 11-2 run – with 9 points coming from Jefferson.
-9:40 3rd-Qtr – Jefferson hit an open three rolling up on the weakside of a Hayward/Kanter screen-roll. Next he hit a baseline jumper in transition, a right-wing catch&shoot three before the defense could setup and then a pump-fake and dribble-drive layup off a terrible closeout by Al-Farouq Aminu to pull Utah within 7.
Without that scoring punch from RJ, there’s a good chance this game turns ugly and the Jazz fall to 0-9. Jefferson recaptured some lost momentum and allowed Utah to “hang-around” for a few more minutes before mounting another strong push of their own late in the quarter.
Veteran Play of the Game: 3:43 3rd-Qtr – In transition, Jefferson saw he had a cross-match and yelled/motioned Kanter (ahead of him) to run through and clear it out for him. RJ got the ball at the 3-point line, drove past Davis and then dished to Kanter beneath the rim for 2 FT’s. RJ gets no credit whatsoever in the boxscore but his effort to run and experience to direct got the Jazz 2 quick points.
Best Effort: Marvin Williams not only scored 12 points but he did all the little things. His first FG (0:35 1st-Qtr) came from out-running two Pelicans down the court and he slammed in a missed Lucas fastbreak layup.
Against the Bulls and Nuggets Marvin had problems defending Taj Gibson and Kenneth Faried, but going up against Lou Amundson and Jason Smith (neither of whom is a post-up threat) Marvin was very effective at PF.
-7:20 4th-Qtr – Marvin hit a true “stretch-4” three, where he spaced out on the right-wing and got an open look when a Hayward/Kanter middle screen-roll drew the big’s (Davis’) help. Marvin shot just 32% on threes in 2012-13 but since returning from achilles surgery is 5-11 from behind the arc this season.
Exactly one month following Trey Burke’s injury – the Jazz may have finally found an NBA-caliber point guard who can back the car out of the garage without running over the mailbox.
On Diante Garrett’s first offensive possession he was trapped in screen-roll and made a perfect pocket bounce pass to Mike Harris for an open jumper (that missed). 25-seconds later, Garrett scored his first basket – an open three off an under-control penetration and kickout by Alec Burks. 29 seconds after that, Garrett hit Harris with another nice screen-roll bounce pass resulting in 2 FT’s. Exactly 90 seconds later, Garrett drove and kicked out to Marvin Williams (who did a great job drifting behind the vision of his defender) for a corner three. Late in the game Garrett continued to impress simply by making passes that were on-time and on-target.
Garrett did have 4 TO’s but one was a careless unforced mishandle and another was a pass he thought Burks was going to cut but didn’t. 4 turnovers, but I didn’t think he was careless with the basketball.
Nobody’s going to say Garrett’s a hidden gem, but he did show he has both some athleticism and playmaker ability to penetrate, find the open man and make rhythm passes in screen-roll. Given the play of Utah’s point guards this season – that is much needed.
Beyond The Boxscore
To close the 3rd-Qtr, Burks made a fantastic split of the defenders on high screen-roll, took off outside the restricted area and went up strong for an explosive two-hand dunk that he missed. Everything but the finish. As he went to the bench, he sat down dejectedly with his head down and his face buried in his jersey. On his way to the bench Mike Harris and Ian Clark offered encouragement and as he sat there the demoted John Lucas came over and also offered words of support. On Garrett’s first basket of the game, John Lucas was standing up off the bench applauding. Despite sitting the final 6 minutes of the game, Kanter was on the bench fully celebrating every Jazz basket. Say what you want about their level of play, their direction, and even their energy on certain nights – but the Jazz have certainly stayed together as teammates.
The Other Guy
On the second night of a back-to-back, New Orleans did not play well defensively at all and that extended to both energy-levels as well as intelligence.
-6:35 2nd-Qtr – A right side curl/pindown between Hayward and Kanter resulted in 2 FT’s for a diving Kanter and Anthony Davis’ 2nd-foul. On the play, Anthony Morrow simply got lost off-the-ball over-anticipating Hayward going baseline when everyone in the gym knew Hayward was coming off a curl going middle. There were other examples including numerous horrid closeouts by Al-Farouq Aminu where he either gave Jefferson all day to shoot or made disastrous closeouts where he gave RJ a free lane to the basket. Now a lot of that is Morrow and Aminu not being very good, but New Orleans as a team showed very little understanding in how to defend the Jazz. Back-to-backs not only affect a team’s energy level late in games, but also their mental awareness and preparation.
Ty Corbin finally saw enough of John Lucas at the point. Lucas had numerous open looks in the first half and missed (0-6 on threes) and even more distressing, with the Hornets backing off of him he would pick up his dribble 24-feet from the basket and hold the ball looking to pass (unforgiveable for a point guard). Corbin started the 2nd-half with Burks playing point and finished with Garrett – both of whom gave Utah’s their best PG play of the season. This is something that should have happened awhile ago (days, weeks, ect) but last night it was “better late than never” and got the Jazz their first win.
I’ve been highly critical of Corbin because I think he’s a poor coach but he did a nice job coaching and quelling the Pelicans’ momentum in the 2nd-half. One thing that deserves mentioning are his 4th-qtr substitutions.
-6:13 4th-Qtr – Kanter was scoring at a good clip but he was giving it up at the other end to the quicker, longer Anthony Davis. After a Davis driving layup on Kanter put New Orleans up 89-87, Corbin brought Favors back but kept his smaller lineup of Garrett, Hayward, Jefferson and Williams on the court. That gave Utah floor-spacing but an interior defensive presence.
Immediately out of the timeout, the spacing gave Garrett a clear lane to drive and score off high screen-roll. Next possession Utah ran another high screen-roll and Favors rolled down the lane and kicked to Hayward in the corner for a go-ahead three. After New Orleans then re-took the lead, another high-screen roll yielded another perfect pass by Garrett and a layup for Favors rolling to the basket.
Going back to opening night against the Thunder, a weak defense for Ty bizarrely subbing Burks out in the 4th-qtr (which killed Utah’s momentum) was that Burks would have been unable to play the final 17 minutes of the game. Against the Pelicans, Gordon Hayward played every second of the 2nd-half. Additionally, Marvin Williams played very hard and seeking his first win, Corbin kept Marvin on the court for the final 16:53 of the game (gasp). With the quarter break and mandatory and team timeouts – playing the final 15-18 minutes of an NBA game is not an impossible task.
I was also pleased/relieved Corbin left Garrett in. Burks had some rough plays (particularly defensive) and Garrett looked really comfortable out there, so Ty decided to ride out the “hot hand.” It was the right move, but not once we’ve seen often from a coach predisposed to losing momentum by his overreliance on finishing games with his starters.
Odds and Ends
- The Jazz scored 66 points in the 2nd-half, a total they only reached or exceeded once all of last season.
- In the 2nd-half the Jazz shot 21-34 (61.8%) from the field, 17-22 (77.3%) from the FT line, and 7-12 (58.3%) from behind the arc.
- Utah’s 38-point 4th-qtr actually matches or eclipses 7 1st or 2nd-half scoring totals this season.
- Derrick Favors recorded 5 steals, surpassing his previous career-high of 3.
The Final Word
There’s nothing more frustrating than to be putting in the time and effort and not seeing any results. The Jazz – particularly the players – needed this badly. It was fun to see them having fun. It was fun to see them pulling for each other and getting excited on every shot. John Lucas was benched in the 2nd-half, yet he was the first guy up cheering on his teammates.
New Orleans is not a great team, didn’t play well defensively and had played late Tuesday night – but none of that matters. All that counts is the Jazz won. They got down but they stayed together, they played hard and they stuck together. For 20 minutes or so, we were reminded how much fun it is to watch Jazzbasketball. The ugliness of the past few weeks is likely to rear its head again soon, but for one night the Jazz were winners and at 1-8 that’s a feeling that should be savored.