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Emptying the Noggin–This Season …….

by Bill Lea

By David Locke,

*** This season. What an incredible year filled with different stories and remarkable performances. Tonight the Jazz had a line-up of Bryce Cotton, Elijah Millsap, Chris Johnson, Jack Cooley and Jeremy Evans that spurred on the 4th quarter run that won the game. Incredible. This is a culture win. The foundation has been built for a program that has an expectation of how you are going to play, what style you are going to play and the type of effort that is expected from the team.

*** None of this happens unless Trevor Booker has an out of body experience. Boy did he ever. 19 points in the first quarter was the 3rd most by any player in the 1st quarter all year. Booker had only scored more than 19 points in a game 7 times before tonight and he dropped 19 in the 1st.

*** Trevor Booker joined the Jazz with 1 career three pointer. He has hit 28 this year. Consider this for a moment. In his first year from 10+ feet Booker shot 15% since then from 16+ has been nearly 40%. The work he has put in to improve his shooting has been incredible. Kevin McHale said it very well this year you either improve or you are out of the league. Booker has found what he has to do to be successful in this league and has improved in those areas.

*** This was a cool night. The Jazz jumped the Blazers early when the Blazers thought they could walk through this game because the Jazz were without Hayward and Favors. The Jazz had a 10 point lead at halftime. The Blazers came to get this game in the 2nd half. They didn’t have LaMarcus but they went after this one. They took the lead and the Jazz answered and took control of the game. Amazing to re-gain this game after the Blazers took control.

*** In the 4th the jazz played with great tempo and scored 34 in the 4th. Bryce Cotton brings a fast tempo to this team.

*** The Jazz lived on the Bryce Cotton/ Jack Cooley pick and roll for a good deal of the 4th quarter.

*** One of the reasons the Jazz rested Hayward and Favors was to give other guys opportunities and the main one is Rodney Hood. Hood has played over 30 minutes in 4 straight games. He has had the ball in his hand at the end of games. He has had to control the game as a first year player and he has answered the bell. What this last month will do for his development is terrific. Tonight he had 21 points (averaging 20 for 5 games) and hit on 7 of 13 shots with only 1 three point shot. Instead tonight he answered a question I asked earlier of whether he could start going to the foul line more. 8 free throw attempts.

*** Hood also had a career high 8 assists. 8 assist and 1 turnover. He hit Booker a ton early.

*** Jeremy Evans 15 minutes, 12 points, 5 rebounds and an assist. He has played very well recently when he has been given stretches. He is never going to gain weight and at times it is an issue but he is able to make an impact every time he is on the floor.

*** Portland forces opponents the take the most mid-range shots in the NBA – the Jazz tonight took 31 of their 79 shots in paint non restricted or mid range. This is just 39% of their shots. The Jazz took 61% of their shots in the “smart” areas tonight (restricted and three’s) the Blazers usually only allow 52%. That is good work.

*** The Blazers only allow 31% of their opponents shots in restricted area and the Jazz got 39% of their shots in restricted. Plus the Jazz shot 42 free throws.

*** This season …….


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