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Emptying the Noggin - Jazz vs. Celtics

By David Locke, Utah Jazz

Summary: The Boston Celtics continue to be a terrible match up for the Jazz and blew the Jazz out from the start.

  • This is the first paragraph I wrote after the first game with the Celtics in Boston: “The Jazz found no answer for Boston’s offensive system all night. Boston plays a 5-out offense where all 5 players are playing outside the paint. A player will cut through the lane but then never stop in the paint and the offense continues with 5 out and the lane wide open. This sent the Jazz for loops we haven’t seen all year. Boston was able to get dribble penetration into the paint and the when the Jazz’s defense shifted into the lane to help they ended up in a complete scramble. The Jazz are the second best team at not allowing three-point shots to be taken by the opponents allowing just 26.8% of opponents’ shots to be threes. Tonight, Boston took over 40% of their shots as threes. The Jazz couldn’t control the ball and once that happened it was over and Boston was bombing away and making shots.” 
  • This is the same story tonight. The Jazz’s defensive system is built on working as a collective unit and driving the ball handler off the three-point laie and into the defensive presence in the middle (Rudy Gobert). The Celtics big can all shoot so they set the pick and pop out to the three-point line and then Gobert or our other big has to go with the shooter and the Jazz’s defensive system doesn’t work to the same effectiveness. The Celtics are so set to playing 5-out that they even ran a double stagger pick, where the ball handler runs off two picks and both of them popped. The traditional way everyone runs that is one big rolls to the basket and the other pops to the three-point line, but the Celtics popped both bigs. 
  • Isaiah Thomas killed the Jazz in transition tonight. He went 4 for 5 in transition with three 3-pointers.  These were just poor defensive plays by the Jazz. The Jazz’s big was supposed to come up on the first two and prevent him from taking the three. The big did a great job of getting back in transition, but they didn’t come all the way out to prevent the shot. That is a tough assignment but that is what great players make you do. The third three was a case of a guard simply not picking him up above the three-point line which is totally inexplicable.
  • The Jazz didn’t have the ball movement on offense they have had the last few games and the Celtics eliminated Rudy Gobert on the roll. I am not sure if this was entirely the Celtics doing or if the Jazz lost their collectiveness on the offensive end. 
  • The Jazz missed a ton of open looks and the Celtics hit everything. It is hard to say if this was the Jazz showing no resistance defensively and so the Celtics were in rhythm and the Jazz were being speed up by the Celtics and therefore what looked like open looks actually didn’t feel as good to the players as they looked to us. 
  • Gordon Hayward had a really strong night for the Jazz on both ends of the floor.
  • The Jazz never led tonight.  
  • The Celtics were without Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder but got unreal performance from Gerald Green who was 7 of 8 from the field and James Young who was 4 of 7.  These guys are not regular rotation players and they played with great freedom. 
  • Missing good looks tonight can’t be underestimated. Dante Exum got a wide open three and he missed it and he is now 8 of 41 on corner threes and Alec Burks had a wide open three from the top and he missed, and he is now 4 of 17 from the above the break three. These were huge shots in the Celtics’ second quarter run. 
  • The Jazz missed Rodney Hood tonight because the Celtics can hide Isaiah Thomas on Joe Ingles defensive and the Jazz couldn’t take advantage. 
  • Dante Exum’s four shots in five minutes and Lyles 11 shots in 22 minutes. Let’s keep an eye on their usage rates. 
  • The next two games before the break are big for the Jazz