The Triple Team: Three Thoughts on Jazz vs. Nuggets 12/1/2014

December 1st, 2014 | by Andy Larsen
Trevor Booker, leading the break. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

Trevor Booker, leading the break. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

1. It wasn’t a “WAKE UP” yell, but Snyder finally got through to his players. 

Probably most of the stories will tell this game as a tale of two halves: the Nuggets performance in the 1st half was just good enough to defeat the Jazz’s comeback in the second. But the turning point of the game really came at the 4:11 mark of the 3rd quarter, when the Jazz had an 18 point deficit. That’s when Quin Snyder re-inserted Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert after subbing them out just a minute earlier for poor defensive performance. Snyder took that minute to berate Gobert and Kanter for their defensive effort thus far:

As Gobert explained it after the game, “That was just to get attention from me and Enes. That worked pretty well.”

I’ll say. Prior to that point, the Jazz had allowed 79 points in 34 minutes of basketball. Denver was shooting 55% from the floor, 43% from three, had only 6 turnovers for the game, and were shooting fully half of their shots from within the restricted area.

After that point: the Jazz went on a 22-4 run to tie the game in just 6 minutes of play. For the final 16 minutes, the Nuggets made just 8 of their 27 shots, made just 1 shot within the restricted area, had 5 turnovers, and gave up 7 offensive rebounds to the Jazz. All of a sudden, the Jazz came out to play. A lot of credit for that goes to Gobert, who seemed to literally frighten the Denver guards from putting up the shots they otherwise would have in the paint.

In the end, the Jazz’s offense wasn’t smooth enough to bring them over the hump: the Jazz were just 13/31 in that same 16 minute period on offense. But for a stretch, they showed real game-changing defensive potential, and perhaps better things to come on that end of the floor.

2. Alec Burks was in an attacking mood.

Burks scored 22 points on 15 shots tonight. He also continued a recent trend of contributing on the glass, with 8 rebounds overall out of 11 rebounding opportunities, times when the rebound came within 3.5 feet of Burks. For a guard, that’s excellent. He added 3 nice assists off of his drives to contribute even further. Perhaps most interesting is how those points were achieved:

Alec Burks’ shot chart, from

As you can see, Burks got all of his points from the floor from within 3 feet of the basket. He then added 8 free throws to those layups and dunks you see above. With his outside shot not working, he brought his game inside with drive after drive tonight, and it ended up an efficient night for the Jazz’s newly-extended SG.

3. The Jazz’s trainer, Gary Briggs, received an unjust technical.

I think this is something the NBA needs to look at. Here’s the full play:

Alec Burks gets hit with a hard clothesline that the referees ruled a flagrant 2, clearly hard enough for an ejection. After the play, Alec Burks is rolling around on the floor, clearly, unmistakably, and understandably in distress. Since the ball is dead, Quin Snyder comes out to get his players, and Gary Briggs, the Jazz’s longtime trainer, comes out to look at Alec Burks. In the review of the play, the refereeing crew of Marc Davis, Leroy Richardson, and Curtis Blair assess a technical to Gary Briggs for going onto the court without a timeout.

Look, I get that the rule regarding unnecessary personnel on the court has good intentions. But really, is the intent of the rule to prevent players from receiving medical treatment after a hard foul to the head, one that the referees agreed was dangerous enough for a flagrant 2 ejection? Indeed, that’s the scenario where I think immediate treatment of players is needed most.

Two parties are at fault here:

  1. The NBA, for not including team trainers in the allowed personnel on the court during these situations and allowing possibly injured athletes to essentially remain untreated for critical periods of time.
  2. The refereeing crew of Marc Davis, who applied the letter of the law in the situation when it clearly didn’t have to be.

I would encourage the NBA’s Rules Committee to look at adjusting this rule at the next possible opportunity, as well as the NBA’s Referee Operations group to instruct its officials to consider the safety of the players when reviewing these situations.

Andy Larsen

Andy Larsen

Andy Larsen is the Managing Editor of Salt City Hoops, the ESPN TrueHoop affiliate for the Utah Jazz. He also hosts a radio show and podcast every week on ESPN700 AM in Salt Lake City.
Andy Larsen


  1. Paul Johnson says:

    Once again, the Jazz didn’t know how to close out the game. That’s something they need to work on. Trey Burke needs to figure out that he is not a good one-on-one “iso” player in the NBA. On one of the Jazz’s last couple of possessions in the game, he was dribbling around for about 7-8 seconds, just wasting the shot clock, which prevented the jazz from getting off a good shot. The Jazz also don’t have a good out-of-bounds play that can get a player open for a three–you would think that shouldn’t be that hard to figure out, but maybe I’m wrong.

    I was wondering why Snyder went away from the group that made the come-back for the Jazz, instead of leaving them in to close out the game. It has always puzzled me why coaches feel the need to put the starters back in to close out a game when they haven’t been playing well the whole game, when they were responsible for giving up a big lead, and when they weren’t part of a successful comeback attempt–it seems very counter-intuitive to me.

    I would have liked to see what the combination of Gobert and Kanter in the front-court could have done for the Jazz. I was not a fan of the front-court combo of Booker and Kanter–seems way too undersized. It is clear from having Favors out this game that the Jazz probably need to add another center to their roster, or get another power forward who can actually play power forward (whereas neither Novak or Evans can really play the conventional power forward position).

    Finally, I thought Rodney Hood had a great floor game and played great defense. He showed that he can really play the shooting guard position, which is great, since good shooting guards are so scarce right now in the NBA. We all know that he is a good shooter. He just needs to adjust his shooting game to the NBA and get more consistent in that aspect.

    • Spencer says:

      I agree with the assessment of Hood. I think he should start next to Hayward and then Alec could sub in for Hayward early to give both those guys a chance to attack with Hood stretching the floor.

      I really like that Snyder is not afraid to pull guys out. This tough stretch early in the season will be good for them if they keep working through it.

  2. IDJazzman says:

    I agree Andy. That was total BS that a technical was assessed against the trainer, that one point could have changed the game that Denver scored on their end as a result.
    I admire Quin for finally getting into Enes and Gobert for their defense, if they will carry this level of energy, that they displayed the last 16 minutes of the game, the rest of the season, the Jazz will start winning again.

  3. Steven says:

    Don’t mistake me when I say this, I’m a big fan of what Quin is doing, but I have to be somewhat critical. I am glad that he intervened and went off on the players last night and the players responded, but for too often this season the team has been allowed to concede big deficits that are altogether too big. A coach like Poppovich or Thibodeau intervenes when their team makes two phases of play that they don’t like, quite often just one is all it takes for a timeout to be called. Too often right now I seeing stretches of plays being bad for minutes at a time.

    I understand that Quin wants the team to learn from their mistakes and I have sympathy for the approach but at the same time the team does waste a lot of energy when the lead of the opposing team is allowed to get so big only for the team to respond later on. Teams go on runs, its inevitable, I get more upset when a run is allowed to get too big and I see head go down, energy on defence is allowed to fall off, or pace of attack is allowed to drop off, and when man and ball movement is allowed to stagnate. I want to see the team execute the gameplan that Quin talked about frequently through the off season. I don’t want to see the team or individuals on the team to be allowed to check out of the offensve game plan because shots aren’t falling or the opposition is building up a lead. Its happening too often, and its concerning. The team need to execute the game plan in every play, whether shots are dropping or not.

    As for finishing teams off, the sad fact is as this team is designed just now this is not a team that has a lot of options for clutch moments. Hayward is one. Trey can be clutch, but at the same time his earlier shooting woes doesn’t always inspire confidence. Outside of that, compared to other teams around the league we are actually short on options. Burks is good for a driving two if thats whats called for, and the defence allows it, and thats key as teams know what Burks can do. Kanter’s range is nice, but his defence can be as much a liability in some match ups so isn’t always likely to be on the floor for the final plays. Favors scores nice points throughout each game but he’s not exactly a clutch option right now. Unfortunately the inexperience of the team is telling. The team has few options in those final moments of a game, and also maybe too much energy has been expelled getting into that situation for heads and bodies to be clear enough to execute to perfection.

    The good thing is, this early on in the season The Jazz got in a position where games against Atlanta, Indiana, Chicago and Denver were there for winning, the guys are making mistakes down the stretch but hopefully those mistakes will lead to extra dividends down the road, certainly there doesn’t seem to any sign of the guys giving up yet. Everyone is showing a willingness to learn and push on.

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