Facing a quick 9-2 deficit, Snyder called a timeout to gather the troops. Whatever transpired in that huddle made a big difference as Utah came back with increased tenacity and offensive flow. They turned the tables with a 31-13 finish to the quarter. Despite some torrid Phoenix runs, that start set the tone for the easy Jazz win.
Yes they were a different team after the time out.
What it means: With the way the offense flowed and how the defense gathered itself after that lethargic start, it is clear that the youthful Utah roster is buying wholeheartedly into Snyder's basketball philosophies. Throughout the evening, the ball was popping, as the Jazz players continually made the extra pass.
Sometimes they have been too unselfish though.
This naturally led to good shots, which they were making. The team was also running after both makes and misses. Behind his serious game face, which is now a running topic among Utah fans, Snyder had to be happy to get his first substantive taste of this team adopting his style.
Grading the performance: This was easily Utah's best outing. Derrick Favors was simply dominant, playing with extreme confidence en route to his career-high 32-point effort. In the second half, it was Gordon Hayward's turn to take over. Largely behind his third quarter, the swingman ended with 24 points and 10 caroms. While the transition defense was lacking at times, all in all, it held the Suns to a mere 41.4 percent shooting night. After firing blanks on their first seven 3-pointers, the Jazz connected on seven of their final 19 trey attempts.
Utah Jazz grade: A-
The Suns had stretches where they assumed momentum. But the overall performance was just so-so. The backcourt trio of Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas managed to shoot a combined 11 of 37 from the floor. Always potent from the perimeter, Phoenix made just seven of 31 from downtown. And they did little off the glass. Not the best evening for Hornacek and company.
Phoenix Suns grade: C
Three telling stats:
— The Jazz simply controlled the boards, out-rebounding Phoenix 52-34. Besides Hayward's 10, Utah got nine rebounds apiece from Favors and super sub Trevor Booker. Second-year center Rudy Gobert also grabbed eight in just 18 minutes.
— After hoisting 35 3-pointers against Dallas, the Jazz worked more of an inside-outside attack. With Favors and Booker operating down low, Utah had a whopping 66 points in the paint; 35 fast-break points contributed heavily to this. They also garnered 33 trips to the free-throw line, compared to Phoenix's 15.
— Despite all the passing, Utah only assisted on 19 of its 42 made field goals — 45.2 percent.
Up next: The Jazz are back on the road Monday versus the Los Angeles Clippers. Chances are both Blake Griffin and Booker are looking forward to the rematch, thanks to their preseason scuffle.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
“I didn’t want to worry about it during the year, have it in the back of my mind about playing and trying to help my team win,” Burks said. “I’m glad I got it done. I’m thankful and I’m excited.”
Burks, entering his fourth season in Utah after being picked 12th overall out of Colorado in 2011, gave his agent a message to relay to Utah management during negotiations ahead of the Oct. 31 extension deadline.
“I had him tell the Jazz I wanted to be here. I want to be a part of the future,” Burks said. “I see something bright in the future.”
General manager Dennis Lindsey said the Jazz "really appreciate" how Burks has expressed his desire to stay in Utah.
"The mindset of being part of something, being a part of the Jazz tradition is very important to us," Lindsey said Saturday morning. "The Millers are very proud of this organization's history, so when a talented young player tells you that, it lends you to a position that you want to strike a deal if possible."
Burks' new bench boss, Quin Snyder, has been a vocal supporter since joining the Jazz in June. Both player and coach agree that Utah's work-in-progress, open, quick-pace system suits Burks' fluid and fast-playing style.
And they believe the best is ahead of them.
“I think Alec shows that he’s a good player right now and he can grow into a very good player. I’m really excited to have him as part of the program,” Snyder said. “I was happy to see that we’re able to find a situation that really works.”
That last word has multiple meanings for Burks.
“Alec’s a player that I feel like can really continue to improve,” Snyder said. “He finds his way to the gym. He likes to work, and it’s always good to build on that.”
Burks has averaged just under 10 points an outing in his first three seasons, but he was the team’s second-leading scorer (14 points per game) last year in a sixth-man role. It’s quite possible Burks could lead the Jazz in scoring this year with his ability to slash, make acrobatic shots and get to the free-throw line.
He should lead them in scoring.
The athletic 6-6 guard knows he has work to do on the defensive end to get to the next level in the NBA.
“Just constant work, constant coming in and getting the job (done) every day with my teammates,” Burks said. “I feel like if I do that I can take the next step in my career ….
“I feel like I have God-given ability on offense,” the always-confident Burks continued. “Defensively, it just takes a lot more work. I feel like I can get there.”
Snyder credited Burks for being a “very effective” on-the-ball defender, but said his young guard needs to improve away from the ball. It’s a common theme among Jazz players this season, the coach pointed out.
“He’s got to be a little more disciplined,” Snyder said. “I told him I want him on the floor as opposed to sitting next to me.”
Burks is the third young player the Jazz have signed to new deals in the past year, joining Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward. In October 2013, Favors signed a four-year extension, which began this season. Hayward took the route Burks preferred to avoid before signing a $63 million deal, which includes a player option for the fourth year. Big man Enes Kanter couldn’t agree to terms with the Jazz, so he’ll enter next offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning Utah can match any offer that comes his way.
“They’ve got some great players and I just want to be part of that,” Burks said. “That’s what I told (the Jazz).”
Asked if he could score 20 points and collect 10 rebounds every night, he said: "Of course, if they give me the minutes. It’s up to them."
A lot of confidence for someone without a post game.
It’s no longer up to them. It’s up to him.
His declaration came three years ago, a different time when a different coach was at the helm and when different players stood in Favors’ way, stealing his playing time. On Saturday night, Quin Snyder was in charge and no one stood in the big man’s way. Not Snyder, not the Phoenix Suns. Nobody.
Favors scored 23 points and hauled in six rebounds - in the first half. He ended up with 32 points, a career high, and nine boards overall, and Snyder was rewarded with his first victory as an NBA head coach, a 118-91 win over Phoenix.
The 23-year-old Favors was happy about the result - and about his progress as a player. In this season’s small sample, he’s shown more aggression and skill at the offensive end - and more efficiency. Saturday night, he made 12 of 22 shots and 8 of 9 free throws - and he played some defense, too, with two blocked shots.
"I just got going," Favors said. "And it got contagious. Everybody else got going. I just tried to get something going myself, and to get the team going. I took it upon myself to make a play."
He made a lot of plays.
"It might not be every game I score 30," he said. "But I can do stuff like that."
He wasn’t alone on Saturday night.
Another young veteran - Gordon Hayward - pitched in, scoring 24 points and hauling 10 rebounds, running the floor and hitting three 3-pointers. Hayward showed the versatility of his game against the Suns, straight into the grille of Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek, who, as a former Jazz assistant, helped develop Hayward’s talents. The 24-year-old max-money guy did something else for his team. He, along with Favors, showed the kind of savvy and maturity for which Snyder’s been waiting.
"Those two guys, from a leadership standpoint, they just connected," he said.
Alec Burks also helped, in a subtler manner, scoring 10 points and playing tough defense against a Suns guard line capable of punishing opponents. Said Snyder: "He did two things - he played without fouling, he was disciplined, and he was disciplined off the ball. We’re happy that we’ve got him for a few years. With that kind of focus, he’ll continue to get better."
4 TO's wasn't very disciplined but apparently they're happy with his d.
All of that is significant because those are the three players, part of the Jazz’s core, to whom the club has committed itself, handing out some $150 million in extensions over the next four to five seasons.
The Jazz have closely examined Favors, Hayward and Burks, and decided they are worth the cash. If they go on combining for the kind of execution everyone saw Saturday night, they will be a collective bargain.
It’s too early to draw a conclusion.
But Saturday night, all systems were go.
Looking back at an early scouting report before Favors got to the NBA, it read like this: "At his size, Favors is a clear-cut power forward, but is nowhere close to possessing the offensive game you expect from a player at that position. … Favors will have to learn to put forth maximum effort no matter who he is going up against."
Whatever. The man was a beast against the Suns, working incessantly around the basket, opening up opportunities for his teammates, all around.
It was positive news for a team that needed it, having lost its first two games. The floor game was there, the Jazz moving the ball, sharing the ball, shooting 48 percent, getting into transition, getting more fast-break points than the explosive Suns, 35-21, and playing strong defense. Phoenix shot just 41 percent.
The Jazz out-rebounded their opponent, 52-34, and ran whenever they could.
And they did one other thing - they protected their home court. It might be unrealistic to expect the young Jazz to win a lot of road games this season. But any step forward has to include making EnergySolutions Arena a difficult place for opposing teams to play. That is not too much to ask.
And Hornacek, whose jersey hangs in the rafters at ESA, knew what was coming. He warned his team beforehand what he thought it would face: "I told these guys, ‘They are a good team. … Maybe we thought it was going to be an easy night."
It was not.
"Our guys played well, they played hard," Snyder said. "We were rewarded for playing the right way."
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" with Spence Checketts weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM/1280 and 960 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson
"He really practiced hard this morning, he was like woooosh," Snyder said zipping his finger through the air. "In our shootaround, every cut that he made was sharp. There was just an energy about his preparation for the game that carried over. He needs to play with that kind of force, if it’s for 12 minutes, 18 minutes or how long he’s playing. The shots will go when he’s in that frame of mind mentally, and he’s just doing everything, cutting hard, running back, bushing the ball, just being really aggressive."
Exum said he felt it too.
"I think it’s just about getting that routine in," he said. "I’ve been doing that shootaround ever since preseason. It’s just about that consistency and I’m starting to build that."
got to bring it consistently
Just three games into the year, the rookie looked like he had begun to find his legs, swingman Gordon Hayward said.
"I thought he played pretty well tonight," he said. "He made some big 3s. … He’ll be fine. He’ll learn a lot this season. I think he’s learned a lot the first two games already."
One thing the rookie is learning: how to work the refs.
At one point, play was stopped because an official thought Exum had some blood in his nose.
"The possession before I got a blocking foul, which I thought should have been called for a charge," he said afterward. "I told [the referee] maybe it was because I got elbowed in the face. I got a laugh out of him."
The Suns, he said, had a mix of veterans with diverse playing experiences, whether it was forward journeyman P.J. Tucker, the resurgent Gerald Green, or the league's most improved player, Goran Dragic.
and a couple guys that played like all-stars as well. Jazz had two guys play like stars for a game. Big difference.
"We've got guys that are getting a little older," Snyder said of his squad. "Alec [Burks], for instance, is one of our older guys. He's 23."
Regardless of its significance, the Jazz will enjoy their first victory-even if only for a moment.
"Quin got a game ball," forward Derrick Favors said after the win. "We celebrated for, like, 3 seconds. We congratulated him and that was it. Time to move on."
Yes they were a different team after the time out.
Sometimes they have been too unselfish though.
Snyder mentioned in the post game presser about the unselfishness and how over passing led them passing up great shots for good shots. There's a fine line in how much is too much, but I'm sure they'll find the right balance as they progress through the season.
“He’s so unselfish defensively. Sometimes you don’t think about that,” Snyder said. “The way he’s defending pick-and-roll, he’s like Ray Lewis. He’s controlling everything. It starts with Derrick.”
I thought it started with Trey?
And when Favors is playing that and gets 24 points, 10 rebounds and all-around good play from Hayward, watch out for the Jazz.
“It was a win we definitely needed,” Jazz point guard Trey Burke said. “Starting off 0-2, we wanted to come out (Saturday) with a lot of intensity and we needed the all-around play we got (Saturday), and Gordon Hayward stepped up big.”
Favors smiled when told that he was called a “monster” by teammate Alec Burks after his career night.
“You can call me whatever you want to call me. It don’t matter to me,” Favors said. “I just had a great game (Saturday) night.”
Although he might not have to have the same statistical output, the Jazz will have to be on their game again to take down the Clippers, who fell to Sacramento on Sunday afternoon.
Favors doesn’t believe the Jazz’s success against the predicted NBA championship contender in the preseason — one win and a down-to-the-wire loss — will have any bearing on this first real matchup.
“That was the preseason. Not at all,” Favors said. “Clippers, they’re a championship-contending team. In the preseason, they were probably trying to figure things out and do different things. It will probably be a much different Clipper team.”
If the Jazz really are going to be this year’s Suns, they might be too.
Erik Murphy and Carrick Felix -- who went #3 and #4 in the draft. There are plenty of people you may marginally know about, either because their father was an NBA player, or the Jazz brought the player in for a pre-draft workout or in one of the free agent minicamps . . . but unless you are really crazy, then the only names you'd recognize are the Marquis Teague level ones. And only then if you follow along bench warmers on Eastern Conference NBA teams. (But if you are curious, full results here)
One of Paul Millsap 's brothers was selected, and so was one of John Stockton 's sons. So all in all, this was a pretty Jazz draft, and one that will help the Stampede get going early on in their season.
The Jazz haven’t had a quiet warrior since the Paul Millsap days. It appears Booker can fill that void.
Maybe Millsap can come back next year with Enes' future still looking shaky? He and Quin like each other. He'd be a great fit. He's in his prime. He won't come so cheap though.
"I just think both of us are competitors," Booker said. "I didn’t take anything personal."
Booker’s had other signature moments. In a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, he hit a trio of 3-pointers. It represented a career night for Booker from beyond the arc. He came into the year with one made in five seasons.
On Saturday night, in a win over the Phoenix Suns, Booker was a major piece off the bench, scoring 14 points and grabbing nine rebounds. He consistently made things happen in transition, defensively and off the dribble. When he came out of the game for good, the crowd at EnergySolutions Arena offered a standing ovation.
"He’s been huge for us," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "Just the energy and the activity, it’s been tremendous. He’s been a spark offensively and defensively. These first three games, he’s been phenomenal for us."
Booker’s played so well that he’s been eating into the minutes of Enes Kanter, Utah’s starter at power forward. The Jazz remain committed to Kanter, as he’s one of the designated young pieces of the franchise. But Booker has fit in a bit better to Snyder’s offense with his versatility on the perimeter and his ability to take defenders to the basket.
The two are different enough and talented enough to form a formidable duo at the spot opposite Derrick Favors. But Booker’s never going to speak on it. The 6-foot-7 forward out of Clemson simply goes about his business on a daily basis.
"He plays the game the right way," Snyder said. "I like that he’s really improved his passing. He’s done a great job in making decisions, and defensively he’s been able to guard pick and rolls. That’s helped us a lot."
“We’re going to be very aggressive in free agency,” he said, “and tell our story and tell what a great place this is to live and play.” Lindsey used a comparison with Green Bay in the NFL, saying that he believes there is a star-type player (or more) that might fall in love with Salt Lake City and Jazz fans and choose to settle his roots in the Beehive State instead of in a glitzier city. Deseret News
Dream on! Won't matter if G keeps playing like a star.