Monthly Archives: December 2020

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Three thoughts on the Utah Jazz’s 129-119 win over the Washington Wizards from Salt Lake Tribune Jazz beat writer Andy Larsen.
1. It’s nice to play the league’s worst defense
The Jazz’s offense played at its highest level in weeks, scoring 129 points on the Washington Wizards — who do feature the league’s worst defense. That’s a 127 offensive rating, which is nice on its own, but a 118 offensive rating just on their half-court possessions, which is really, really elite.

As you’d expect, that’s a combination of good Jazz offense and questionable Wizards defense. This basket was the Jazz’s first three of the game, and it’s a nice ready by Bojan Bogdanovic to fake the pass inside to Rudy Gobert, then kick it to Royce O’Neale in the corner.

On the other hand, it’s pretty lazy work by Ian Mahinmi in getting back to Gobert, and that was a very unscary closeout by Bradley Beal.

This is good ball movement by the Jazz, to be sure, but also… Shabazz Napier makes a terrible gamble on the play.

In other words, this was a really nice team to play in terms of getting out of a slump, especially one in which it seemed like the ball stuck far too much. With how aggressive Washington’s defense was in terms of helping, both on the perimeter and with Gobert’s rolls, the Jazz had to pass to get open looks.

I also thought it was a little strange that the Wizards played Isaac Bonga, their best perimeter defender, only 12 minutes, and played Mahinmi, probably their best interior defender, only 13 minutes. Their second unit really struggled with defensive rebounding. Davis Bertans only had five rebounds in his 28 minutes, and Thomas Bryant, who only had two rebounds in his 18 minutes, was even worse.

2. The bench
The Jazz were legitimately saved by the Cheap Tony Bradley Jersey/Cheap Georges Niang Jersey minutes. Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were matching -16s on the game. Meanwhile, Niang had a +23, Bradley a +22, Ingles and Clarkson +17, and Conley — the starter who played most with the bench — a +18.

Here’s’s graphic showing the Jazz’s rotation, along with their plus-minuses during each stint.

Bradley’s ability to get offensive rebounds — including his own — was crucial. This is nice set-up by Conley, but after Niang misses the three, Bradley’s early work allows him to get the very easy tip in.

But Bradley flashed more of his fringe skills tonight, too. The first opportunity was his three, caught and launched after a jump ball.

“It’s a great feeling shooting it,” Bradley said. “Joe [Ingles] told me, everyone told me to shoot it. Georges [Niang] especially encouraged me to shoot it and make it. There were four seconds left on the clock and Joe was like, ‘Shoot it!’ and I was like, ‘Alright.’ So I took my time, had all day it felt like and shot with confidence.”

It probably surprised people, but Bradley takes and makes those in his G-League games, so of course he’s capable of making the wide open ones in this level. Once, I saw him make 13 threes in a row in practice. That’s just practice, but it’s still pretty impressive!

More regularly useful was his defense, in which he did a pretty good job of defending without fouling. The Jazz’s defensive rating with Bradley out there was just 67, pretty terrific, and Bradley only had one foul. As with many of the positives in this article, this number is significantly caveated by the Wizards’ play, in this case the fact that Ish Smith, Jerome Robinson, and Thomas Bryant frequently took some pretty ill-advised shots.

I also appreciated Cheap Joe Ingles Jersey early aggression from 3-point range, especially after the troubles there against Boston. He only ended up taking five shots, but I thought the early ones he took allowed him to draw in the defense later, leading to his six assists.
Cheap Jordan Clarkson Jersey remains good, especially against teams with limited rim protection.

3. A good night for random milestones
About a year ago, the NBA gave me access to their NBA Courtside web app, a media-only site that is directly tied to the league’s scorekeeping apparatuses. In short, what it means is faster updates on in-game stats: as soon as the stats are updated by those at the scorers’ table, they refresh on my computer, so I can see how many points a player has, how well he’s shooting, etc. It’s useful for someone in my shoes, but the speed is especially helpful to play-by-play announcers and color commentators.

My favorite feature, though, is the in-game alerts, where it will tell me when teams go on runs, or when a player has a spectacular number of points in a quarter, or when a player has reached a milestone of some sort. It’s pretty lenient about what defines a milestone, so you get some really random ones. Here’s the list from tonight:

Cheap Bojan Bogdanovic Jersey passed Ricky Rubio for 21st on the Jazz All-Time three pointers list with 176.
Cheap Mike Conley Jersey passed Wesley Person for 80th on the All-Time three pointers list with 1,151
Mike Conley tied Shawn Kemp for 95th on the All-Time steals list with 1,185
Joe Ingles tied Aaron James for 24th on the Jazz All-Time points list with 3,829
Cheap Rudy Gobert Jersey passed Emeka Okafor for 93rd on the All-Time blocks list with 1,004
Donovan Mitchell tied Cheap Mehmet Okur Jersey for 6th on the Jazz All-Time three pointers list with 517
Donovan Mitchell passed Cheap Al Jefferson Jersey for 21st on the Jazz All-Time made shots list at 1,782
It is not surprising that Rubio was surpassed by Bogdanovic in about a two-thirds of a season. But Conley has a real chance to move up the NBA All-Time three leaderboard pretty quickly: he’s now just two made threes behind Jameer Nelson, and three behind Metta World Peace — both notorious 3-point shooters! (Okay, not really.)

I didn’t know who Cheap Aaron James Jersey was, so I Googled him. He played five seasons for the New Orleans Jazz. There are two good Aaron James stories in this article. First, Hod Rod Hundley, who even was the team’s radio voice way back then, had a catchphrase for him which was apparently “A.J. from the parking lot!” It wass to the point where it’s still James’ nickname.
Second, Jazz GM Bill Bertka drafted him in the second round in 1974, but somehow didn’t know what he looked like. So James walks up to him the next day at the team headquarters and introduces himself, saying, “My name is Aaron James, and you drafted me. How much you going to pay me?”

Gobert’s progress up the All-Time blocks list is going to be interesting to watch. He’s only in his seventh NBA season, so he has a ton of time to get more. On the other hand, we’re not in the era where Cheap Mark Eaton Jersey could average five blocks a game anymore — as good as Eaton was, teams now would just adjust by taking him out of the paint. If Gobert got 600-700 more blocks in his career, that’d put him at about 30th in league history. (For what it’s worth, he’s only one block behind Rick Mahorn for 92nd.)

Cheap Donovan Mitchell Jersey has played 2.6 seasons and is already even with Memo Okur — actually legitimately a notorious 3-point shooter for seven seasons — in 3-point shots. The game has changed. Mitchell has a couple of other milestones coming up: on Monday, he’ll tie Cheap Jarron Collins Jersey for games started for the Jazz with 203 — a good reminder of just how many games Collins somehow started during his Jazz career. Next week, he should also surpass Cheap Bryon Russell Jersey for 20th on the Jazz’s All-Time assists list.

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A win is a win and the NBA doesn’t award extra W’s for style. The Utah Jazz (2-1) will appreciate that fact after trailing Oklahoma City (1-1), a projected lottery team, for the majority of their Monday matchup before a fourth-quarter surge gave the visiting Jazz a 110-109 victory.

The Thunder led by as much as 12, aided by the Jazz shooting just 4 of 16 from three in the first half and OKC going 10 of 22 from deep in the same span. Al Horford, Darius Bazley and Luguentz Dort were firing on all cylinders from 3-point range in that opening half.

Speaking of Dort, he continued the tradition of guards having career nights against the Jazz. The undrafted second-year guard set a new career high with 26 points, tying a career-best with five made 3-pointers.

Utah’s second half was considerably more efficient on offense than the first half. They turned a decent 44.7 first-half shooting percentage into a 56.4 percent effort in the second, which included flipping that 4 of 16 mark from deep into 9 of 20.

That offensive push helped, but the defense didn’t quite keep up. Every time Utah closed the gap or even took a slight lead, OKC pushed back ahead and had a 100-93 lead with 7:31 left. At that point, Utah finally put it all together on both ends, outscoring the Thunder 17-9 in the final seven-and-a-half minutes of the game.

The Jazz nearly managed to blow their late surge by losing a 108-104 lead with just under three minutes to play by going down 109-108 with 1:04 on the clock. But Mitchell came through with a game-winning floater to give Utah its final and ultimately decisive lead.

Game MVP
This is a really tough decision. Statistically there are several deserving guys. Utah had three players score 20+ points — Cheap Bojan Bogdanovic Jersey (23), Cheap Mike Conley Jersey (20) and Cheap Donovan Mitchell Jersey (20) — plus Cheap Jordan Clarkson Jersey did his thing with 16 off the bench and Cheap Rudy Gobert Jersey had a solid 12 and 10 with four blocks.

After a little filtering, there are still three great finalists for tonight, the three 20-point scorers though all three are in line for the game ball for reasons entirely other than crossing the arbitrary 20 point mark.

Conley’s is the simplest. His 20 points came alongside 10 rebounds and nine assists for the near triple double. He was also the most efficient and consistent on the evening for Utah, going 8 of 15 from the field overall and only having two turnovers. He was also pretty much the only one to really show up on offense in the first half, scoring 13 on 6 of 10 shooting plus five dimes.

Bogdanovic’s bid comes from having 14 of his 23 points in the third quarter alone plus a 3-pointer that cut OKC’s lead down to two, 100-98 with 6:43 left in the game. But that’s where Mitchell made his move, scoring the final 12 points for Utah, including the ultimate game-winner with 7.0 seconds on the clock.

In the end, Mitchell will get the nod from me because despite a very yikes shooting night (8 of 23 overall, 2 of 10 from three), he did what stars do in the clutch — score no matter how the first three quarters went. He entered the final seven minutes with a 3 of 14 shooting night at his back and proceeded to go 5 of 9 the rest of the way plus 2 of 2 at the free throw line.

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The Utah Jazz keep adding to their roster.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported late Thursday night following the team’s final preseason game that it has agreed to a deal with guard Yogi Ferrell.

Ferrell, a 6-0, 178-pound guard out of Indiana, has been in the NBA for four seasons. In his most productive season in the league, 2017-18, he played all 82 games for the Dallas Mavericks and averaged 10.2 points, 2.5 assists and 3 rebounds in 27.8 minutes per game.

Last season, Ferrell played 50 games for the Sacramento Kings, averaging 4.4 points, 1.4 assists and 1 rebound in 10.6 minutes per game.

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The Utah Jazz have started off the preseason in impressive fashion, knocking off the Phoenix Suns in back to back games. Remember when the Suns were apparently going to be better than the Jazz this year? Lol. I know it’s just preseason, but that did not appear to be the case heading into this season.

Anyways, a shortened preseason means the Jazz have their final tune-up game tonight on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers. This game may or may not give everyone a better indicator as to how the Jazz will look this year. Honestly, it’s hard to take too much from preseason. But it’s basketball and it’s the Jazz, so you’ll watch anyways.

Utah will be without their first round draft pick Cheap Udoka Azubuike Jersey. He’ll be sitting out tonight’s game due to left knee soreness. That, OR because he killed a guy.

Either way it’s disappointing. I was pleasantly surprised at Dok’s presence and play so far. Fortunately, to make up for it, Royce O’Neale will be back for tonight’s game!

Game Info
When: Thursday, 12/17/2020 • 8:00 PM MT

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

TV: NBAtv, AT&T SportsNet-RM

Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone

What to watch for
What will Quin Snyder’s Rotation look like?

With it being the last game of the preseason, I imagine Snyder will try to mimic regular season rotation quite a bit this evening. This will be more interesting tonight because a regular starter from last season (Royce) is back with the team. This will be our first chance at seeing Quin’s plans for this roster with the addition of Cheap Derrick Favors Jersey to the big man rotation. I’m really curious how many minutes guys get and who plays with who.

Will we get to see Shaquille Harrison?

In what was probably my favorite move of the offseason, the Jazz made a late addition by signing defensive specialist Shaq Harrison. He’s been mending from an injured wrist, but does not appear on the Jazz injury report. The assumption here is that he’ll be ready to play. But will he get minutes? Personally, I hope so. Especially after hearing some of the initial impressions people had during camp and practices. Between Cheap Miye Oni Jersey and Shaq, it will be fun to see who can carve out those guard/wing rotation minutes. This is a good problem to have!