Quin Snyder knows what kind of team Atlanta is: “A Good one, a very good one. Obviously the best defensive team in the league right now. They are tough to score on and are a veteran team.” The Utah Jazz proved on Friday that they can be a pretty good defensive team as well, posting a 72.4 defensive rating and holding Atlanta to 36.1% in effective field goal percentage on their way to a 95-68 win over the Hawks.
When the Hawks are in town, so are some familiar faces in former Jazz men Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver. Snyder mentioned that the Hawks use Millsap as more than just a scorer. “He’s a play maker, they play through him a lot.” Millsap is averaging 3.8 assists this season, and 4.5 assists in games that Hawks win. The Jazz were able to hold Millsap to zero assists tonight, which has not happened this season. Lyles’ one-on-one defense was maybe the best we have seen from him in a game.
Korver came into this game as the hottest shooter hitting on 92.6% of his spot-up looks. The Jazz limited Korver to only three shot attempts and really took him out of the game. Snyder was willing to take the ball out of the hands of Millsap and Korver and let Dennis Schroeder try and beat them, something he struggled to do as he shot 6-for-19 and posted a -13 on the scoreboard in his 28 minutes.
Three Major Takeaways
1. The Defense Was Huge
The Atlanta Hawks average 103.0 points per 100 possessions on offense. Tonight the Utah Jazz held them to 72.4 points per 100 possessions. George Hill being back helped Utah tremendously on defense, as he brings the combination of a 6’9″ wingspan and veteran knowledge that the other point guards on the roster don’t have. Once this Jazz team gets a healthy Derrick Favors back this defense could be absolutely stifling.
2. The Bench Stepped Up
“Our bench has been really, really inconsistent,” Snyder mentioned at shootaround. “If players come in and make mistakes, that’s not acceptable off the bench. If players come in and aren’t urgent and don’t have energy, that’s not acceptable off the bench. Those two things collectively have a tremendous impact on the game, and that’s what we need from our bench.” The bench heard Snyder and stepped up. Lyles played some of his best defense to date, added 10 rebounds, and was a +16. Joe Johnson added in 11 rebounds and was +21. Shelvin Mack had 4 points, 5 assists, 4 steals, and was +12. The Jazz will win most games where they get this level of production from their bench.
3. The Jazz Are Really Good With Hill And Hayward
The sample size is small (three games), but Jazz have won the games where they have both Hill and Hayward by an average of 19 points. You would expect to see Hayward’s stats are up when playing next to a point guard but Hill is also shooting 6.54% better from the field at 8.75% better from three in games that Hayward plays.
10 Points, 10 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 5 Blocks, 2-2 FG, 6-7 FT, +24
As David Locke noted, Dwight Howard and some of the stronger centers have had their way with Gobert in the past, but that was not the case tonight as he was fantastic. Howard was limited to 2-9 shooting, was a -17 in 27 minutes, and was out rebounds 7 to 10 by Gobert. According to ESPN’s shot chart, the Hawks only made six shots in the restricted area all game, and that was all due to Gobert’s defense.
Last year Rudy Gobert was 1 for 10 v. Dwight Howard and tonight he has completely dominated Howard
— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) November 26, 2016
Play Of The Game
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 26, 2016