Hawks’ Defense Stifles Jazz in SLC

March 8th, 2016 | by Angie Treasure
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

The Utah Jazz lost their 34th game of the season to the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday, turning what was once a 13-point lead into a seven-point loss after four quarters. Jeff Teague had a monster game for the Hawks, clocking1 24 points on 18 shot attempts, making half of his six three-pointers and dishing six dimes. The Jazz were lead in scoring by Gordon Hayward, (who played just over 38 minutes in the loss) whose stat line was 22/6/3.

‘We Need to Talk About Kevin Turnovers’

So, the turnover monster came out from under the proverbial bed again during Tuesday’s game and the Hawks’ active defense gobbled up 20 often yikes-worthy TOs that resulted in 26 of their 91 points.

On the turnover problem, coach Quin Snyder said, “Atlanta’s really quick. They did a really good job of hawking the ball, no pun intended.”

That’s okay, Q. Puns are the bread and butter of Salt City Hoops2.

Speaking of bread and butter, Gordy-Hay broke down what specifically the Hawks did well to force so many Jazz cough-ups.

“I think first off, they’re a good defensive team. They’re really good at shutting down the pocket pass, which is one of our bread and butter things.”

Rudy Gobert, who had 6/15 with a pair of assists to go along with it “toussa” (“coughed” in French) the balled up once for every point he made. The boo-birds were even out a little bit at the Viv late in the game when the Jazz lost the ball. The team is going to have a tough go at the Roaracle against the reigning champs tomorrow night if they don’t take care of the ball.

Dropping leads makes for the sadz

Even though the Jazz’s record over the past nine games is 2-7, the good guys have actually won nine straight first quarters and came out strong tonight, closing out the first 12 minutes with a nine-point lead, (27 to 16). The problem came afterward when the Jazz shot the ball poorly and only scored 15 points in the second and third quarters.

And for the fifth game in a row, the Jazz gave away a double-digit lead.

“We played well the first quarter and then Atlanta did some things that really bothered us and we started turning the ball over,” Quin said in his post game interview.

Once a 35-22 game, a massive Hawks run turned into a 41-38 lead for the Atlantans3 with 2:30 left in the half. The Jazz shot the ball poorly, but the Hawks have also boasted the second best defense since the All Star break, which resulted in some serious scoring droughts.

Gordon remarked after the game that the team has to find a way to not give away those leads, saying, “We’ve had double-digit leads (against good teams), we just need to find a way not to have a lapse.”

“We just stopped getting good looks,” Gordon said, “and it’s hard to constantly be making tough shots.”

It’s easy to diagnose the problem, but is it as simple to assess and rectify?

Trey Burke gets another DNP-CD

Shelvin Mack did not, how you say, have a traditionally ‘good’ game. I mean, the shot chart:



And the one shot Mack made in the restricted section? That came on a gimme at the end of regulation when the Hawks weren’t even trying to guard him. When asked about whether or not he thought about inserting Trey into the game for scoring, Quin had some interesting things to say.

“This is kind of a tough situation when it’s hard to play three-point guards,” he said. “I made a decision tonight, you know, obviously, that Shelvin is our starter. Shelvin didn’t play well tonight. Raul has been coming off the bench because he’s, you know, a good defender.”

When neither Shelvin or Raul were cutting it, Coach Q went without a traditional point guard down the stretch, using Point-Jingles in place of his starter/backup/3rd string PG.

On Mack’s struggles, Snyder said that what he saw was “a different type of struggling,” namely that he was getting looks that he’s “watched him make for years.”

“He didn’t … shoot well,” Quin said. “But he was getting great looks, and at some point, you have to show confidence in a player.”

A little sunshine

Hey, the opening play was awesome!

Big-to-big passing is just the best. And Fav had two awesome dishes to Rudy.

Someone in the arena had a really great sign:

I know it’s been true in my life, but Jazz games are really bigger than sports. There’s a lot to be said for the kind of bonding/sense of community/family time that Jazz games provide. Maybe that’s my rosy, sometimes-there’s-stuff-bigger-than-sports hot take, but there it is.

Favors had some serious man moves in the post. He refuses to quit, and that’s awesome.

Another win was that my laptop didn’t die on press row, despite not plugging in for the duration of the game, which was a tiny miracle. Okay, I think I’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel for things that made me happy during the game. I’ll just leave you with some wisdom from the Jazz’s top scorer, Gordon “G-Time”/”H20″/”Dad Calves” Hayward: “We’re still right in this thing.”

Angie Treasure

Angie Treasure went from talking about Gordon Hayward’s #dadcalves on the internet to being the Salt City Hoops beat writer. You’re all culpable. Bother her on Twitter: @snark_tank.


  1. Chris Broussard says:

    My Nokia has a full qwerty keyboard. It’s really well put together, much like this recap. Quit losing games, Jazz.

  2. LKA says:

    Burks would have made the difference in several games

    • Ryan says:

      Burks wouldn’t have made the difference in any of those! I mean maybe he would’ve gotten hot and made 3 straight baskets and won one of them out of dumb luck, but then when things averaged out, he Also would’ve lost one of the games the Jazz did win, by himself, to put them exactly where they are now! I say this based on the numbers(so that it’s about 95% fact rather than opinion), because his stats are below the NBA averages(as are Hayward’s, though he gets undeserved credit too), meaning that, barring anomalies, every other team’s average players would’ve scored more on him than he did on them. Per 36 minutes, Burks puts up 15.4 shots and also uses up 3.2 possessions going to the line(aside from “and-ones” and techs, since those don’t waste any extra possessions), to score 19.0 points. NBA average(without turnovers- I’ll get to those with his assists) is 1.05 points per possession, meaning for the 18.6 possessions he uses up, the average NBA player scores 19.5 points. So any average opponent is scoring 19.5 points on their 18.6 possessions, while he’s only scoring 19.0 in return, so he hurts the Jazz 0.5 points per 36 min that way. Since I’m writing a novel, I’ll try to make this brief and not fully explain why each single metric of the different stat categories are worth what they are to a team, but the Average NBA SG gets 4.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 stls/blks and turns it over 1 time per 18 points scored or per 3 assists. Burks is +0.6 reb possessions(helping his team 0.5 points in this way, since 22% of the time a teammate would still grab each rebound even if he didn’t), -0.2 points passing, -0.5 points on stls/blks, and -0.3 points turning it over more than the average player. All together that is just 1 point that he hurts the Jazz under any average player’s play, but there’s also the issue that the NBA average defensive rating is 105.5 points given up per 100 possessions, and Burks gives up 108. Since the Jazz only use 96 possessions per game and 36 min is 75% of a game, that means in 36 min he only defends 72 possessions, so he gives up 72% of the 2.5 points worse than average per 100 possessions that he is, which is 1.8 points. So, in all Burks is 2.7 points worse than the average NBA player per 36 minutes. When you line him up against any random average player, he will generally cause the Jazz to fall behind 3 points, personally, every 36 minutes.(Hayward hurts the Jazz by 0.7 points too, per 36 minutes)

  3. Robin Rodd says:

    I am a bit puzzled that Snyder has gone with Mack as the starter over Neto. Mack can’t shoot, and this places a stress on the team. Neto can space the court, and also deliver the ball where it needs to go unselfishly. I’d like to see Neto start and Mack back him up…. and well our bench sucks but there still isn;t a place for Burke, who shoots poorly and defends even worse, on it. He’d make a great import in the Australian league.

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