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Written by Jacob Jeppsen | 31 December 2011

The Utah Jazz leave 2011 in the same fashion as the first game of the season just a few days ago:  Completely over-matched on the road by a veteran team.  The latest damage done to Utah?  A 104-89 hammering at the hand of the San Antonio Spurs.  And while Utah may sit at 1-3 in this very young season, the Jazz have already faced some tough tests, most of which away from home.

Tonight's game started out favorable for the Jazz, welcoming Al Jefferson back into the lineup after a night off on Friday.  After seeing the youth movement in action just a day earlier, how would Al contribute?  It started off well, going 7-11 for a 14 point first half.  As a team, Utah hung tight in the first quarter, down only 5 after one.

That's precisely when things got out of hand.

Manu Ginobili took matters into his own hands, extending the lead to 12 on his own, including back-to-back three pointers.  Utah's perimeter defense took the second quarter off as other Spurs got in on the fun.  Richard Jefferson knocked down a couple wide open looks.  Matt Bonner, everyone's favorite Jazz killer, got involved.  Next thing you know, San Antonio was 7 of 8 from behind the arc and leading by 17.  Utah made a quck 7-0 run, but that would be the last time Utah would get any closer than within ten points.  San Antonio took a 54-39 lead to the locker room at the half and never took their foot off the pedal.

The main missing component that was so present just a night earlier was a collective team effort.  Too many times, Utah was late to rotate, caught out of place, or simply not hustling after the ball.  It doesn't help matters that Utah shot poorly from the field at 37%, including an awful 2-16 performance from three.  Only two players finished the night in double figures:  Jefferson, and steady veteran Josh Howard.

Bright Spots

(Photo by Darren Abate/NBAE via AP Photo)
Howard

Signing Josh Howard is proving to be a great addition for a young core of talent needing veteran guidance.  Howard has asserted himself on offense and defense, consistently finding himself in the Jazz's most effective lineups.  Again tonight, despite a +/- rating of -11, Howard finished with 18 points and 7 rebounds in 26 minutes, going 6-6 from the charity stripe.  Aggressive to the hoop, even fouling James Anderson hard on a layup as San Antonio led late in the 3rd quarter by 22 showed Howard is ready to show how Jazz basketball should be played: Tough.  Young'ns, take note.

Utah finished the game with only seven turnovers while forcing San Antonio into 19.  Typically, this would translate to transition baskets and realistically is what kept this game from being even uglier.  Utah needed to capitalize better on the Spurs' mistakes, especially considering how lights out San Antonio shot the ball.  Alas, I've already segued into the "not so fabulous" portion of the recap.

Low Lights

Gordon Hayward, after being a catalyst for so much of Utah's great play last night, was virtually non-existent.  A mere four points in 31 minutes, going 1-9 from the field is hardly how he'd have wanted to follow up such a great performance the night before.  Raja Bell also played ghost, going 0-3 and a whopping zero points in 17 minutes.  For Jazz fans on the #FreeAlecBurks bandwagon, this would be welcome news.  However, Alec only saw three minutes of floor time tonight, all in the final quarter to close out the game.  Bell's minutes have continued to decrease, which many have been asking of Coach Corbin since opening night.

Enes Kanter missed a surprise alley oop from Josh Howard in the second quarter.  Badly.  Although it was a quick, unexpected pass, the resulting gaffe was a facepalm in every sense of the word.  Chin up, big fella.  Keep working hard, keep your head up and get that next one.


Utah has a day off to regroup before hosting the new look New Orleans Hornets at Energy Solutions Arena.  Will Utah iron out some of the team-wide effort wrinkles that were glaringly obvious in tonight's game?  Part of the problem seems to be a lack of true direction.  Coach Corbin, no doubt feeling his way around the situation, is still putting pieces together with rotations and match-ups.  Only four games in, few have truly stepped up to claim their spot as Utah's go to group.  Will Monday see yet even more changes and tinkering?

Jazz fans, please remember:  This season is young, and so is our team.  There will be plenty of growing pains to come, so don't expect major turns of events immediately.  Sit back, enjoy the (often painful and bumpy) ride, and look with a hopeful eye to the coming weeks.  Players like Josh Howard are slowly but surely making their mark a positive one.  Now if we could just get Jeremy Evans and Alec Burks some meaningful minutes...

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Written by Spencer | 30 December 2011

(Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Utah Jazz generally go as the point guard goes, at least that's how it has been for the past 25 years or so. And so it was last night. Here are the Pros and Cons of last night's game. 

Pros

New Old School Jerseys--They are very similar to the throwbacks a few years ago, but these have dark green. I know that they will be wearing them on St Patricks' Day, but probably another few times throughout the year. 


Devin Harris-He got pulled early because of tempo issues and mistakes. He got the message and came out in the second half and played very well. He dictated the speed of the game and the speed of our players. He made his free-throws when they counted and got to the line nine times, which is more than any other Jazz player. 

Derrick Favors-  Derrick finished with 20-11 and only had one turnover in 39 minutes. Last night's game showed what a lot of us see Favors becoming; a consistent 20/10 guy with an attitude. I think that is what a lot of us think has been missing or have wanted to see over the past few years,  a mean attitude. Favors has the mean streak. He showed that tonight.  

Josh Howard- He had a +16 last night and helped the Jazz keep the balling moving. Howard had a calming effect on the team no pun intended and was part of two best stretches of the game. See in the Raja Bell graphics below.

Gordon Hayward- Hayward was intense and ready to go tonight. He showed up on both sides of the floor and gave everything. He also hit what would potentially be one of the biggest shots of the game late in the fourth. In the post game interview he mentioned coming home and connecting the fact that most of the players are young and that they will grow together. Brian T Smith. 

Coaching- Corbin really showed some balls last night when he benched Harris after 4:25 of bad play. He stuck by his decision and it payed off. Harris came back into the game with more fire and intensity, which showed in his play and leadership. He also stuck with Favors for 39 minutes of a close game, and left him on the floor in the closing minutes.  

Player Introductions- Via @monilogue aka JazzFanatical



Being In High School 


Cons- 

Fans- The game did not sell out. It's only the second time in the past 10 years that the Utah Jazz haven't had an opening night home sell out, the last time being in the post Stockton to Malone year of 2003 via Luhm. 

No#FreeAlecBurks tonight. I know that it was a close game and that Burks is young, but as stated on twitter by many fans, "What is Raja Bell doing that Alec Burks can't do?" Interesting thoughts by @diggitbrother
Screen_shot_2011-12-31_at_12.17.20_AM 
I don't know the answer, I just know that it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Okay really, fundamentally you can work on lots of stuff on a daily basis, passing, conditioning, plays and so forth, but really you can't just throw all five rookies or sophmores on the floor together.  Realistiaclly part of developement is situational. Different players will develop in different situations. Maybe Ty put Burks in so he could learn from Kobe on the floor not just by watching.  

Raja Bell- I know I can't trade him or keep him off the floor, however the two best stretches that we had tonight a +9 in the first half and +8 in second half were when he was on the bench. You can also look to see that Howard and Favors were also in both of the lineups. While this is not exact science, because I don't have the 76ers that were on the floor, this trend will most likely continue. 

Screen_shot_2011-12-30_at_11.20.24_PMScreen_shot_2011-12-30_at_11.21.10_PM


For those of you that were at the game... What were your impressions? 








 

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Written by Spencer | 29 December 2011

It is hard to take notice of all of the rookies on that are getting minutes this year. As Jazz fans we have an extermely powerful mircroscope on the rookies. Kanter has been fine, not overwhelming, but not underwhelming either. We should be able to see small improvements every game. Double teams, help defense, effort, tecnique. We can't expect Kanter to know the tricks of the trade even after one or two years. I am fine with giving him time. I don't expect amazing out put, but I do expect amazing input/effort

#15
Dec. 22: Burks gets the nod here with the thinking being that Utah will want to play him and Gordon Hayward a lot in order to develop a core of youngsters that includes Derrick Favors and, to a lesser extent, Enes Kanter. It's been a long while since Utah has had a shot-creator at the 2, a guy with slashing ability and big scoring potential. The front line ofPaul Millsap and Al Jefferson will create big scoring areas on the perimeter, so Burks will have real opportunities to put up points.

Burks, has been phenomenal. He may be the most all around rookie the Jazz have had in a long time. Two things that I absolutey love about the kid. He doesn't settle for the outside shot, even if the shot clock is running down. He is one of two, maybe three people (CJ, Josh) who can create their own shot when the play breaks down. Second, he is always going towards the rim. He is second on the team with two dunks, and looks to be the player that we have desperately needed to fill Ronnie Brewers slashing guard posittion. Time will tell for Burks, but the Jazz fans have spoken., #FreeAlecBurks 

#17


Enes Kanter, Jazz
It's great that he grabbed 11 rebounds in his first game, but the Jazz cannot be happy with what they saw from him. No, not because he only made one of his seven shot attempts. It was his lack of interest in going to the rim to rebound. If he was hanging around the basket area, then he'd rebound. But too often I saw him defending on the perimeter until a shot was taken, then stand and watch the game, hoping the Jazz would get the ball so he could run down and score. 
Part of this might be conditioning issues, as he looked heavy to me. But the bottom line is he's got to be an eager rebounder after every shot.

 

It is hard to take notice of all of the rookies on that are getting minutes this year. As Jazz fans we have an extermely powerful mircroscope on the rookies. Kanter has been fine, not overwhelming, but not underwhelming either. We should be able to see small improvements every game. Double teams, help defense, effort, tecnique. We can't expect Kanter to know the tricks of the trade even after one or two years. I am fine with giving him time. I don't expect amazing out put, but I do expect amazing input/effort


Quotes from David Thorpe Scouts Inc. via espn.com

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Written by Alan Zaugg | 29 December 2011

It was “Free Taco” night for Nuggets fans as the growing pains continued for the Utah Jazz in the Mile High City. It was another tough game to watch if you’re a Jazz fan. It was dunk followed by dunk. And then another, and another, as the Nuggets scored 68 points in the paint on their way to a 117-100 win over the young and inexperienced Jazz squad.

Nene dunks vs the Jazz

Denver had their way in the paint as Nene, The Birdman, Gallinari and Harrington all had posterizing dunks vs Jazz big men. Denver didn’t shoot the ball from outside particularly well, but they didn’t need to. Ty Lawson spear headed a run and gun game that left the Jazz bewildered and lost. At one point in the game it was playground basketball for the Nuggets. They laughed, played, danced and taunted their way around the young inexperienced Jazz. Denver had a playful arrogance surrounding them and with good reason.

It was another night where it was hard to watch, yet there were positives to pull from this game. Al Jefferson recovered from his forgettable 2-16 night in LA to finish 8-14 for 19 points and 4 assists. The Jazz, who had a hard time making 71 points look respectable in LA, reached the century mark for the first time as a group. What was an horrific night offensively in LA was the complete opposite in Denver.

And it was again the young rookies who took center stage. Enes Kanter came in and immediately left his unintimidated imprint on the game. Ten seconds in, he corraled his first rebound of the night. Kanter is proving to be a force down low. He has no fear! He continues to impress with his nose for the basketball. It doesn’t matter who it is. He fiercely attacks the boards and holds his position defensively on the blocks.

After what was a forgettable five minutes in LA, Alec Burks entered the game and provided a pleasant spark in “garbage time”. He continues to show flashes of the brilliance in his game. His ability to get to the hoop is undeniable. He is athletic and lightning quick. He, like Kanter, shows no fear of being on the court. He has become a fan favorite and provides an exciting bright spot in what looks to be a painful season to digest as a Jazz fan.

Hayward continues to impress as well. In fact there was a brief moment tonight where he played the point with Harris playing the off guard position, something Coach Corbin might want to consider using as the season progresses. Hayward is a fantastic ball handler and can and will make his teammates better. He was a brilliant facilitator again for the Jazz tonight, dishing out a team high 7 assists. He again showed flashes of brilliance that make one excited for what is to come.

Favors impressed in his brief time on the floor. He, like Kanter, has the ability to dominate the glass. He rebounded the ball extremely well tonight finishing with a team high 10 rebounds.

But Favors, like Kanter, has to learn one very valuable lesson: stay out of foul trouble.

Five minutes into the game and he found himself on the bench with 2 fouls. Yes the referees aren’t giving him much to work with, but as a youngster he has to recognize that and play aggressively but wisely.

Collectively the Jazz need to gain confidence. They start off strong but, when Denver started putting the pedal to the floor, they backed off, reeling from the blow that had been dealt. As soon as Nene went down the lane for his second uncontested dunk it was apparent they weren’t sure how to respond. They had been dealt a deadly right hook and weren’t confident enough to fend off the ferocious attack from Denver.

All things considered, this was another night of bumps and bruises. The learning curve will not be discovered for some time. It may not even be discovered this season. The offense has no flow and no continuity. Many, if not all of the players on the floor, look completely lost at times. But that is a reflection of yet another truth: Ty Corbin is a rookie himself. He too is learning the flow of the game. He is still realizing his potential as a head coach. His imprint on the game will not be realized until his team meshes with his philosophy.

The offensive and defensive identities will not be discovered right away, only as practice and game experience continue.

What will be the biggest question is can Jazz fan be patient as many more games like this continue?

Step away from the ledge for now. There are many games ahead in this very young and shortened NBA season. Many more opportunities for growth.

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Written by Dustin LaMarr | 28 December 2011

Its hard to come up with many positives from this game.  The defense was awful, especially on the perimeter with Raja Bell giving up 11 pts to Kobe in the 3rd quarter and Harris getting burned by Derek Fisher and  Kobe.  Nothing would go in the basket in the first half.  Place the blame wherever you like, but the bottom line is that the Jazz had some good looks and were in the game going into the half.  The stats speak for themselves as to how miserable the game was, but it should come as no surprise to anyone.  This doesn't mean that Jazz fans shouldn't or won't get upset at a loss like this, but it has to be expected, so start preparing.  

The bright spots came mostly (as most of us suspected) in the form of the play of the young guys.  First, despite what a certain national blogger tweeted untilEnes Kanter defends against Steve Blake his finger bled, Kanter is further along than most expected.  His rebounding is outstanding and his defensive instincts are the best of any big man since Greg Ostertag.  Yes, even better than Favors'.  His rotation in the paint was sound, and his isolation defense oun Pau was great.  He was burned a couple of times but, what young guy wouldn't be when going up against a player of Pau's caliber.  Kanter did have some struggles when finishing, but there is absolutely no reason to say that he lacks offensive skills.  

Hayward also showed some flashes of what we saw at the end of last season, lets just hope that it doesn't take as long for him to get that back.  He is a strong facilitator in the offense and it is surprising this doesn't happen more.  In the third quarter he had a fantastic cross-over on Kobe that led to a Favors lay up, and another drive that ended in a dish that Jefferson bobbled and turned over.  He's simply got to be more aggressive.

Favors was solid in limited minutes.  The problem for him was foul trouble, however its pretty apparent that a lot of his problems in this area are going to be directly related to the inadequacies of Bell and Harris.  He also showed some great moves going to the basket, splitting defenders, and using his footwork.

The rotations and matchups employeed by Coach Corbin were a bit of a head scratcher.  Hayward should have spent more time guarding Kobe.  We saw at the end of last season how he was able to use his length effectively and the experience couldn't hurt.  Further, if ever there was a game to play Sap at SF, this was it.  World Peace is just too strong for Miles and Howard, so it would have been nice to see a front court of Favors/Kanter/Millsap.

One sports cliche that is really going to hold up this season is the old "Forget about this game and concentrate on tomorrow".  There's going to be a lot of growing pains, but the rapid fire schedule won't leave much time to concentrate on all the so, so, very many bad parts of this game. 

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Written by Spencer | 28 December 2011

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Written by Spencer | 27 December 2011

via Brian T Smith from Shootaround. 
Utah_Jazz__Los_Angeles_Lakers_Dec_27th_Game_info
Screen_shot_2011-12-27_at_11.48.55_AM

Bovata (formerly Bodog.com) has the Jazz as 4.5 point underdogs.  One of the great things about being on TNT is getting the half time analysis from Charles Barkley and newcomer Shaq. This should be fun.. 

To see thoughts on tonight's Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers Game go here. 

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Written by Spencer | 27 December 2011

Jazz__Lakers
With a win tonight the Utah Jazz will send the Lakers into panic mode. 

If Jazz fans are honest with themselves, they should/have come to the fact that we probably won’t make the playoffs, and are at least two years away from a deep playoff run. However, tonight we have the power to do something that we rarely have had the chance, and the ability to do---put the Los Angeles Lakers in panic mode.

It has been nearly 15 years since we swept the Lakers in the playoffs. You know the playoffs when a young Kobe shot air ball after air ball.

With a loss to the lowly (as the national media calls us) Utah Jazz, the Laker organization and its fan base would start to question its off-season decisions and start jumping of the bandwagon. A rational Laker fan would realize that they still don’t have Bynum, they lost their 6th man in Odom, Kobe is playing injured, and that they are just getting to old. A rational fan would understand the life cycle of a superstar, and that eventually he may lose his touch. We know that Lakers fans are not rational, well at least most of them aren't. 

Kobe has not won an NBA game in eight months. Eight months. Going back to last years playoffs---Swept by Dallas, then a 0-2 preseason against the Clippers, Christmas day meltdown to Bulls, loss at a revived Sactown.  I am not promising a win; in fact, I think the Lakers are the sleeping giant ready to annihilate us, kind of. But, what if, just what if, we could sneak into Staples with our young bigs that don’t know any better, and run the Lakers our of the gym on the third game of a B2B2B.

We have to keep the pace furious and try and run them of the court. Slowing down the tempo and playing half court with them is awakening the sleeping giant. We need to send Hayward, Howard, Miles, Burks, hell, even the corpseBell, at Kobe in waves and waves of frustrating fouls and defensive pressure. We need Favors to play exactly like Cousins did last night and get into Pau’s quiet place and disrupt him from getting started. We need to let World Peace try and well, try and just be him. 

Heaven forbid the Lakers lose to the Jazz. What next? Well New York, and a home and home with Denver, which could possibly start the Lakers 0-7. By that time, Mike Brown will have been fired, and Fisher will have asked to get out of his contract...Of course to move closer to a doctor for his…well you get it (I had to throw that one in there).  I don’t know how bad the Lakers really are, or how much they miss Odom and Bynum. I just know that we have the chance to step on the throat of a hated enemy, and send their organization, fan base, the national media into panic mode. And maybe more importantly send Kobe into Me mode, which he as already shown multiple times during the first couple games. The problem with Kobe in me mode is that he can't do it anymore. He can't carry a team for 66 games in 123 days for 35 minutes a night. He has to many minutes, and to many games under his belt. 

The Utah Jazz have a chance do something even better than win; they have the chance to embarrass the Los Angeles Lakers.    

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Written by Spencer | 25 December 2011

Utah_Jazz_Media_Day_Salt_Lake_Tribune_Steve_Griffin
It has been a crazy preseason with the Memo trade and all of the new players added to the roster. I think things will only get crazier, in a good way. Here are five bold predictions that are possible, but unlikely for the 2011-2012 Utah Jazz Season. 

1) The Utah Jazz Will Make the 2011-2012 Playoffs. Last year the regular season finished with the Spurs at the one spot winning 74% of their games (61-21) and the Memphis Grizzlies winning the eight spot, winning 56% of their games (46-36). I don't think the Spurs will be the one seed, nor do I think that the one seed will win 74% of their games this year, but lets make it easy and go off of those numbers. With a 66 game season, the one seed based of off 74% will be at 49-17 and the eight seed will be at 37-29. Here is the breakdown of the West Conference by winning % for 2011-2012 based of off 2010-2011 numbers. 

One Seed- 49-17
Two Seed- 45-21
Three Seed- 45-21
Four Seed-  44-22
Five Seed- 40-26
Six Seed- 38-28
Seven Seed- 37-29
Eight Seed- 37-29

We would have to sneak in the back door at the 7 and 8 seed. 

2) The roster will not be the same on opening day as it will be on March 14, the day after the tradeline.  This is not that bold, considering we have a Memo trade exception, Cj Miles expiring contract, and Millsap's valuable contract. I think that the Memo trade was not just a salary dump, I think it was the move to make the MOVE. I don't know who, or when, but I don't think this is the end of that trade exception.

3) Al Jefferson will not lead the team in Double Double's. 
There are really only two other options, well let's say one. Derrick Favors.  Jefferson had 37 Double Doubles last year and that was as the main guy in the paint. Jefferson will most likely get more double teams this year, leaving Favors open for more rebounds and put-backs. One thing to look for in Favors development, is to see when and how quickly he dives to the basket on the double team. This is something that he should pick up on after a couple of weeks. He will first need to identify where the double team is coming from, and then how to react to that double team as far as diving to the basket. Al and Favors have to feed off each other. 

4) The Utah Jazz Will be a better defensive team, than offensive team.
Last year the Utah Jazz were 14th in the league in scoring with 99.4 points per game, and 9th in field goal% at .465 as a team. Defensively, they ended up at 19 giving up 101.3 ppg. The edition of Kanter, Favors, and Howard, make our team longer all the way around.Longer doesn't always mean better, but it will most likely help. I don't think the edition of these guys makes us better automatically, but they will help on weak side defense and our front court could be one of the best in the league.  All in all, I think we could see these two stat positions switch. I predict we will end up in the top ten in defense and around twenty in offense. 

5) Paul Millsap will win the sixth man of the Year Award. 
Over the past couple of days the Jazz media guys have given the feeling that Paul Millsap is willing and amiable to come of the bench. We have not witnessed this yet, because of Paul's tendinitis.However it looks like Millsap will be coming off the bench.  Millsap should be able to get 28-32 minutes a night of the bench. And depending on how Favors plays, Millsap may be able to get closers minutes. Here are the past ten years of 6th man award winners. 
6th_Man_Award_Picture._
Millsap would need to average about 30 minutes, 15 points, 5+ rebounds, 2+ assists,  Essentially over the past five years the 6th man winners play starters minutes, but comes of the bench.The Utah Jazz would also have to make the playoffs and make a semi decent showing with millsap coming of the bench.  Millsap is coming of his best season as a pro, and could possible turn that into a 6th man award. Millsap has some tough competition with Terry, Odom, and the front-runner, James Harden.  

Tell us your thoughts...  



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Written by Spencer | 25 December 2011


For Jazz fans you have a couple of good scenes in this video. Steve Nash patting Pistol Pete on the arm. There is also a scene when Deron Williams is going against John Stockton. Also, a little glimpse of the Mailman running down the court. Absolutely brilliant. 

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