Thoughts from David Locke after the Jazz lose to the Raptors.
Summary: The Jazz were on the wrong side of one of the most awesome fourth quarter performances I have seen in my 25 years covering the NBA. Kyle Lowry scored 19 in the fourth and bested the Jazz, 104-98.
- Kyle Lowry came into the game as the hottest player in the NBA, and it isn’t any different after tonight. He scored 36 points, a total which he had only surpassed three times in his NBA career (one v. Utah); He scored 19 in the fourth quarter, the second-most points he has ever scored in a quarter.
- Lowry was absurd. He went 9 for 10 in the fourth quarter. The Jazz started with Neto and Mack on him, but he was too strong and could just shoot over them. Then, the Jazz put Joe Ingles on him. The added length changed the looks he was getting, but it didn’t matter. Lowry drove to the rack, bulldozing the smaller defenders and then — when Ingles was on him — he would work off the pick and then pull up in the mid-range prior to running into or challenging Gobert. He was in complete control and he was awesome.
- Lowry left the game in the third to get stitches in between his nose and his lip.
- The Jazz did a good job on DeRozan. He started hot, but then was 1 for 8 in the third quarter and finished with 24 points on 24 shots.
- Without Rodney Hood — who played just 13 minutes while being sick — the Raptors doubled Hayward on the pick-and-roll, and as the game went on, the Jazz understood what skip passes were open against the double teaming and over-shifting defense.
- Lyles found his shot and played with more definitiveness in his offensive game. He has had a tendency at times to stop the ball, but tonight he was terrific with his aggressiveness and his shooting. He is so incredibly talented, it is a process for him to understand how to use all those talents.
- Without, Hill, Exum and Burks, there were not a lot of defensive choices for the Jazz on how to match up with the Lowry/Powell/DeRozan back court.
- Rudy Gobert got his tenth straight double-double. Jonas Valencinus powered into Rudy early in the game and gave Rudy a tough time. He would just drop his shoulder into Rudy and force him to back up, creating enough space to shoot.
- Hayward had 23 points on 8 of 16 shooting.
- Shelvin Mack had a nice offensive game with 17 points. With the pressure on the wings, he took advantage of the driving lanes made available to him.
- Joe Ingles had four steals He is having a great season and is a good NBA player. He is being asked to a lot without Hill, Exum and Hood. He had to put the ball on the floor a lot tonight and was able to distribute for seven assists.
- The Jazz have lost three in a row.
- The Jazz’s defensive rating tonight was 111.7, which is holding the Raptors to nearly four points below their average. That is incredible. The Raptors are the number one offensive team in the NBA and it is not close right now. Tonight, the Raptors had to work hard and have a super-human fourth quarter by Lowry to get to 111.7. Good work by the Jazz’s defense.
- The Raptors’ scouting report focus on Gobert was immense. Keep an eye on this.
- Incredible performance by Lowry owns the night.