Final Score: Jazz 89, Bulls 83 (OT)
Run It Back
Play of the Game: 3:11 OT – Off side pick&roll with Marvin Williams, Trey Burke pulled up and hit a top-of-the-key three over the outstretched arm of Taj Gibson to put Utah ahead 83-78 in OT – in what ultimately proved to be the decisive basket to put the offensively challenged and road-weary Bulls away.
Key Moment: 4:43 4th-Qtr – On high screen-roll, Gordon Hayward drove left and hit Marvin Williams camped in the left-corner for a three to tie the game at 71-71. The shot ended a 13-0 Bulls’ run in which they had gained complete control over the Jazz who looked tired and confused.
Most importantly, it re-energized the ESA crowd that had gone silent for much of the game. For the next 10 minutes of basketball, the Jazz appeared revitalized and fed off the energy from the crowd. Conversely, massive fatigue began to show for a Bulls team playing the second of a back-to-back in the middle of a 6-game road trip and still reeling from the devastating season-ending injury to Derrick Rose.
Player of the Game: Carlos Boozer was clearly the best player on the court last night. With 26 points and 16 rebounds on 12-23 shooting – Boozer scored on the pick&roll, the pick&pop, over powering Marvin Williams and finessing Derrick Favors in the post. He remains the most talented bigman to ever wear a Jazz uniform since Karl Malone.
Best Shot: 7:24 3rd-Qtr – Off a Chicago turnover, Trey Burke pushed the ball, veered in front of Hinrich and converted a hanging layup in which he used his body to shield 6-7 Tony Snell and create space to finish on the double-clutch. At 6-0, those are the types of ways Burke can learn to score at the rim against length that other diminutive guards have mastered.
Best Pass: 2:00 2nd-Qtr – In transition, Burke dished an over-the-shoulder no-look pass to a trailing Favors for a two-hand dunk. The break was started by Utah forcing the Bulls’ side screen-roll baseline, where Favors used his long arms to deflect the pocket bounce pass by Mike James intended for Carlos Boozer.
Best Move: 1:45 4th Qtr – On high pick&roll, Trey Burke penetrated and pulled up for a floater with Hinrich on his hip and Boozer between him and the rim to put Utah ahead 75-74. Another way for “little guards” to score near the basket.
Best Reaction: 4:51 2nd-Qtr – Joakim Noah was called for his 3rd foul which bailed out an out-of-control Hayward who was in the process of committing a turnover passing in mid-air. It was a questionable call at best – and Noah’s reaction was to clap his hands emphatically and yell “Wake the *bleep* up” three times to referee J.T. Orr, also earning him a technical foul.
Stat of the Game: Hayward’s 12 assists give him 3 double-digit assist games for the season and his career. Other double-digit assist games by Jazz non-point guards since Stockton&Malone left in 2003: Andrei Kirilenko (8), Ronnie Brewer (1), Carlos Boozer (1).
Gordon Hayward – Playmaker
Hayward has become a bonafide playmaker as he so often has the ball in his hands with the opportunity to create.
Here are how he racked up 12 assists:
1. Side screen-roll forced baseline, Hayward hits Favors rolling to rim and Favors powers over Hinrich (who was a half-step late in his weakside rotation) for the layup and the foul.
2. Off a high-post dribble hand-off, Hayward drove into the lane and kicked to Marvin for a 18-footer on the baseline.
3. Off a nother high screen-roll with Favors – Favors’ roll down the lane collapsed the defense and Hayward swung the ball to Jefferson for a left-wing 3pt.
4. Off high screen-roll – Hayward found Burks in left corner who took one dribble then drilled a quick 19-foot baseline jumper.
5. Side pick&roll – Hayward hits Evans rolling to the rim for an and1 layup.
6. & 7. To penetrate and kickouts to Marvin Williams for three.
8. Hayward runs hard in transition, Burke hit him in stride leading to a draw and kick to Jefferson for a right-corner three.
9. Hayward throws ahead to Lucas on a run-out for a layup.
10. Hayward feeds Evans off a side pick&roll who rolled down the lane and hit a floater
11. High screen-roll, Hayward drives left away from screen and kicked out to Marvin for left corner three over Noah.
12. Side screen-roll forced baseline – hits Evans alley-oop to rim and no weakside rotation from Bulls.
Hayward was clearly at his best as a playmaker off screen-roll. Where Utah struggled most was late in the 4th-qtr when Hayward went 1-on-1 either by his own volition (vs Deng) or when Chicago switched a mobile big (Gibson or Noah) onto him. He did get some good looks driving to the rim but was unable to finish. Nevertheless, he made plays when he had to and after totaling 11 turnovers in the last 2 games, Hayward only committed 1 against the Bulls. Another terrific all-around game by Gordon.
Jeremy Evans saw his FG% drop from 92% to 80% with a 4-7 shooting performance – but it was impressive how he scored his 4 field goals.
1. Side pick&roll – roll to rim and converted a hanging layup while drawing the foul.
2. Right elbow 17-foot face-up jab-step jumper over Dunleavy.
3. Side pick&roll – 6-foot floater diving down lane and pulling up over weakside helper Taj Gibson.
4. Side pick&roll – another dive to rim and an alley-oop from Hayward.
Evans has improved his skillset and now finally receiving meaningful minutes under Ty Corbin – it’s nice to see him utilizing his athleticism in screen-roll situations. It’s also telling that all three of his screen-roll baskets came off of Gordon Hayward assists.
In the ’97 and ’98 NBA Finals, John Stockton and Karl Malone went down to the wire against Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. In February 2011, Deron Williams and Derrick Rose dueled for the title of best PG in the league that ended with Rose picking DWill’s pocket in the final minute to seal a Chicago win.
Last night, John Lucas and Mike Dunleavy engaged in a battle for the worst player on the court.
Lucas started the game missing his first two jumpers. Next, he made a shot-fake at the 3pt-line, drove and shot an off-balance floater that missed badly – causing Craig Bolerjack to remark: “Another player for the Jazz that has been struggling, Lucas 36% from the floor.” As Moni pointed out, that’s not really much of a struggle for him.
After Lucas then missed another pull-up jumper in lane, Matt Harpring said “I just feel when John Lucas comes into the game he needs to start looking for his own teammates.” Lucas’ 5th miss was a long catch&shoot two-pointer in transition. Harpring’s reaction: “Not a great shot selection from Lucas.” That didn’t stop Lucas from ending the 3rd-quarter missing another floater in the lane, and then an 18-foot fall-away from the baseline.
Lucas finished out his night early in the 4th-quarter with an out-of-control drive where he stumbled into Noah then fired a pass to Evans as the shotclock expired. Harpring’s reaction: “John Lucas is just struggling out there. Just-just…lost-lost the time…and dribbling around. Coach Corbin says ‘John what are you doing (Harpring laughing) pass pass pass.’”
Dunleavy was just as bad, seeing Lucas’ 1-8 and raising him 2 turnovers (including one with 14-seconds left in OT and the Bulls down just 5). It was basically the Bird vs Dominique shootout in ’88 – only the exact opposite.
Odds and Ends
- Utah’s victory ended a 6-game losing streak to Chicago. The last time the Jazz beat the Bulls was March 9, 2010 in a game the Jazz scored 132 points and shot 12-20 behind the arc in Jerry Sloan and Phil Johnson’s old outdated system.
- Marvin Williams played 43:55 – 3 seconds more than he played in the 2012 Hawks/Jazz 4OT game and the most he’s played in a game since March 21, 2010.
- Gordon Hayward played a season-high 46:59 – including 26:50 of 29 2nd-half/OT minutes.
- With a 15 point, 12 assist and 6 rebound performance, Hayward’s season averages through 16 games now stands at 16.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
The Final Word
Riding a 6-game losing streak that included 4 losses by double-digits, the Jazz desperately needed last night’s victory to boost morale and rebuild as much confidence as possible. For at least 3 more days, they can maintain some belief that they’re still improving, learning and developing.
Was last night’s loss more Utah winning or Chicago losing? Well the Bulls’ schedule and depleted roster certainly played a factor. With Rose out, it’s clear they really miss Nate Robinson’s ability to score off-the-dribble as Hinrich and Mike James were terrible last night.
With Enes Kanter out the Jazz again resorted to a 4-out 1-in screen-roll half-court offense. They looked sharper early on but overall their offense against the Bulls wasn’t any more efficient or productive than it was on their recent road trip.
In regulation the Utah Jazz:
-shot 38% from the field (42% for the season),
-eFG% of 42.3% (45.2% for the season)
-Shot just 15 FT’s (average 23 for the season)
-Committed 16 turnovers (average 17.2 for the season)
-Scored 78 points (average 88.5 for the season)
There were encouraging signs, but as a whole there was virtually no offensive improvement. The Jazz won because they defended with energy and intensity and capitalized on Chicago’s lack of guard-play and inability to burn Utah in pick&roll the way most teams have.
It was fun watching Trey Burke assume more of the playmaking and ball-handling duties. It was fun seeing Gordon Hayward look to set up teammates in the screen-roll. It was fun seeing Jeremy Evans is find a niche. Favors had an outstanding first-half before being saddled with foul problems. Jefferson played tough defense down the stretch and Marvin is really shooting the basketball well in a contract year. I’m not sure how often the Jazz will face a team with worse point guard play than they have – but even with the lack of overall progress came a lot of fun plays and moments to take away from last night’s game. Most importantly – Utah’s embattled coaching staff will take the win.