Analysis: Why’d the Jazz lose to the Knicks? Second-chance points and turnovers
Jazz fans had been really lucky this season, and had yet to see their team lose at home. That changed Tuesday night against the Knicks.
Utah Jazz fans have been really lucky this season. They had yet to see their team lose at home heading into Tuesday night. Of course, the Jazz had only played 5 of their first 15 games at home before that, which is when the New York Knicks came into Vivint and handed the Jazz their first home loss of the season.
The Knicks beat the Jazz 118-111.
I’d like to take a closer look at a couple of things that have continued to crop up as issues the Jazz are going to need to address, so let’s get straight into it.
About a week ago, when talking to Will Hardy after a Jazz practice about the Jazz being ranked near the bottom of the league in defensive rebounding percentage, he noted that the Jazz’s halfcourt defense usually does a good job guarding the first action before a shot. That’s usually why the other team misses the shot, hence the chance for a defensive rebound.
But the Jazz are allowing offensive rebounds and then they’re out of position or confused or forced into rotations and they don’t defend the second-chance opportunity well.
“Those moments are hard to guard for anybody,” Hardy said after Tuesday’s game. “The biggest thing for us is we need to give up fewer offensive rebounds because when you go for a rebound and you don’t get it, you’re out of sorts, you’re not necessarily matched up with the person you’re supposed to be matched up with, they could have players on the perimeter that they’re kicking the ball out to and you’re in a long close out.
“Again, with our team, without having one player that’s gathering all the defensive rebounds, we have to do it as a group and we have to do a better job.”
The Jazz went into the game against the Knicks ranked 27th in the league in defensive rebounding percentage. They’re just not getting to the rebounds that they’re working so hard to create and they’re 21st in the league allowing teams to score second-chance points, allowing 14.4 per game.
The above video shows just six of the second-chance opportunities that the Knicks had on Tuesday, they ended up with 13 offensive rebounds and 19 points off those. Some of the time the Jazz did an ok job defending the second action and sometimes there wasn’t really a good way to defend it. But as you can see, there are times when players either don’t box out, or they are slow getting back to someone after the Knicks secure the ball.
“We’re just like a step slow processing. Everybody is,,” Kelly Olynyk said. “We’re trying to find the open guy, like re-calibrating …we’ve just got to refocus, next place be, it has to be like one step quicker.”
In five games this season the Jazz have committed 19 or more turnovers, including on Tuesday night. Surprisingly, they’re 3-2 in those games. But the Jazz do not want to be a team that is averaging those kind of turnover numbers. It’s very hard to win games when you’re turning the ball over that much, especially if the large majority of the turnovers come in live-ball situations.
“I think there’s moments where, early in the clock, we’re not maintaining our space, we’re very tight,” Hardy said when asked about the turnovers against the Knicks. “Sometimes we have two people cutting or trying to post up early in the clock.
“And then I think just making decisions a little bit late…if you take an extra dribble in the paint in the NBA, the length can swallow you up if you get too close to the basket. So it’s a lot about the timing of our decisions.”
That’s the overall philosophy. The Jazz are still a new team and they’re still learning the system, the spacing and the timing that is going to make this ship run smooth. But it’s not just about the whole.
Each player is still trying to learn the timing and spacing of one another within the system and that stuff takes time.
Here Olynyk has the right idea trying to get the ball to Conley of a short action from the right but just doesn’t quite time it right. There were a few of those but there’s also a mix of guys just making late decisions, to Hardy’s point.
Right now, I wouldn’t say this is a problem, but it’s something to keep an eye on as this team builds chemistry through the season.
Now onto something a little more positive. Simone Fontecchio got to play a little more on Tuesday because Rudy Gay is sidelined with a left hand sprain. Impressively, despite having not played in eight of the Jazz’s games, Fontecchio continues to show that he has a lot of desirable NBA skills when he gets on the court.
He’s clearly a natural scorer and shooter but he’s also more athletic than maybe people would have assumed and he’s also got some good instincts and a great frame for defense.