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Emptying the Noggin — Jazz’s lack of experience shows up in Toronto

By David Locke, Utah Jazz

Summary: The Raptors dominated the fourth quarter behind Kyle Lowery and beat the Jazz, 101-93.  Lowry was unstoppable in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his game-high 33 points.

·       The Jazz led almost the entire game. The Raptors took their first lead at 89-88 with 3:44 left in the fourth. The Jazz started fast and took a nine-point lead into the second quarter. The lead was down to four going to the half and just two by the time the fourth quarter started.

·       The Jazz’s offense just couldn’t get rolling late. Joe Johnson hit a bucket at the 7:26 mark and the Jazz scored five points in the next five minutes: Hayward had two free throws and Hood hit a three. In that span, the Jazz went 1-4 with four turnovers. There was a lack of composure getting into the offense and getting good looks.

·       Shelvin Mack was terrific all night, taking advantage of the Raptors’ defense. He worked himself to the right side of the floor, which is what he prefers. He handled the match up with Lowry well. However, when it got down the final possessions of the game and it was Lowry time, it was a lot to ask. Lowry is an All-Star and Mack has played great and has developed a really solid game, but Lowry is as tough as they come. For those final minutes, it was a huge mismatch.

·       The Jazz didn’t defensive rebound as well as they usually do. The Raptors’ second half was a dominating performance on the offensive glass. The Raptors got 12 offensive rebounds and the Jazz had 16 defensive rebounds.

·       The Jazz’s second half shooting was tough. They went 12 of 33 and Hayward and Johnson went 7 for 13. The rest of the team was 5 for 20. The Raptors were over-playing Gordon and doubling him off the pick-and-roll, which should open up chances for other guys.  Mack did it in the first half but it didn’t hold for the night.

·       The Jazz were only -1 when Gobert was off the floor tonight. The Jazz’s ability to be successful when Favors is at center is going to be vital for the season. Tonight was better than it has been all year. Finding a big combo with Favors at the five is vital in the next stretch.

·       The Jazz’s desperation for good point guard play became obvious again tonight when Quin closed the final four minutes without a point guard.

·       The Jazz had a great defensive night on DeMar DeRozan. Hayward had the assignment most of the night and DeRozan went 8 for 26.

·       Lowry was the beast late in the game. He wants it right now.

·       Valanciunas had one of his best games of the year with 18 points and 13 rebounds. He was a huge force inside to match Gobert. He had eight offensive rebounds.

·       The Jazz played 11 players in the second quarter. That is not a great way for players to stay in rhythm, but Quin is trying to give everyone a chance and some involvement.

·       Alec Burks got his first points of the season on a tough jumper and hit 2 of 3 from the line.

·        Rodney Hood’s number this year are all slightly below last year. I think that is hamstring and sickness related for killing nearly three weeks, but the Jazz need him to get rolling.

·       Winning in Toronto is a tough task. They have been through a lot. First round playoff series losses, two game 7 wins last year and an Eastern Conference final — they have had a ton of experience.  The Jazz don’t have that to fall back upon. It shows.