After the Utah Jazz gained a last-second victory over the Orlando Magic, the momentum and emotion should have been there to parlay that into another victory at home, after a day’s rest, over another Eastern Conference lottery team.
Granted, it’d be another game without Alec Burks, who’s been averaging 16 points a game over the past five weeks. Still, the Jazz should be good enough to beat the pistons at home, shouldn’t they?Let’s just say this is the third Jazz game I’ve taken my teenage daughter to, and they have yet to win when she attends.
The Jazz defense just isn’t there. I kept trying to figure what they’re doing that’s so inefficient. They usually play man-to-man, but they get confused by the easiest of rotations. To illustrate this, I’m going to focus on Andre Drummond shooting 9-10 from the floor, and how that happened.
First offensive possession of the Jazz results in a turnover. Now this first shot is right after the turnover happened. Look where everyone is. Now this turnover happened when Gordon Hayward tried to pass into Derrick Favors on the block, but Greg Monroe poked it away and Kyle Singler grabbed it. Favors and Monroe are in a track meet, Hayward and Burke are getting back quickly, Jefferson’s going to stay with Josh Smith, and Kanter’s below the basket going, “Hey, where did everybody go?”
Now in this shot two seconds later you can see that Favors is sticking with Monroe, not really looking at where the ball is. Josh Smith slowed up on the fast break, which left RJ way behind Drummond. He’s futilely pointing out that no one is guarding Drummond. Jennings sees it and is about to throw a lob assist to Drummond for a dunk.
Next shot. Kyle Singler ran a curl with Hayward behind so he was open for this shot. Favors rotated to bother the shot and Jefferson dropped to Monroe. Kanter had Drummond, but right after Singler releases you can see Drummond running to the basket while Kanter stands flat-footed and watches. Drummond grabs the offensive rebound for a put-back two.
Third bucket – Drummond shoots a 12-footer over a standing-still-with-arms-up Enes Kanter.
Fourth bucket – On a high pick and roll, Kanter tries to help against Jennings, who passes into Drummond, and he makes the shot while getting fouled by Jeremy Evans.
Fifth bucket – Pick and roll where Kanter watches the point guard and doesn’t notice Drummond is jumping for the lob.
Sixth bucket – Fast-break off a missed shot where Drummond has beat Kanter down-court.
Seventh bucket – Pass to Favors stolen, and his guy Drummond is already fifteen feet ahead down the court for a running lay-up.
Eighth bucket – Kanter completely commits to a double-team on Jennings on a pick and roll, leaving Drummond wide open for a dunk.
Ninth shot – Transition layup that Hayward pokes away from Drummond at the beginning of his shot.
Ninth bucket – High pick and roll, Kanter commits to double team on Will Bynum, but Bynum gets around him easily and throws up a shot that misses, but Drummond gets the offensive reobund over Marvin and hits the put-back. This made the score 96-79, and Drummond wouldn’t need to score again.
So there you have it. 8 of Drummond’s 9 made shots were when Kanter was on him. His other make was on a fast-break, and his lone miss was due to Hayward’s defense.
Now I will compare that to the five shots Derrick Favors took all night.
First miss – Favors goes one-on-one with Greg Monroe, misses the five-foot jumper.
First bucket – Hayward drives to the basket, draws the double-team, dishes to Favors for the easy two.
Second miss – Monroe on Favors. Favors dribbles to middle of the key, his shot goes in-and-out.
Third and fourth miss – Monroe on Favors. Favors misses the lay-up, rebounds, misses the putback, Monroe grabs the rebound.
That was the total of Favors’ offense, plus his 2-of-8 free-throw shooting.
Eleven games to go, folks.