Report card: Utah Jazz's excellent guard play can't overcome Nets

By Jonathan Ubri

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19 2014 11:40 p.m. MST

Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 25 2014 10:47 a.m. MST

Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter (0), of Turkey, is defended by Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett (2) and guard Joe Johnson (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Salt Lake City. Brooklyn won 105-99.

Jim Urquhart, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

The Utah Jazz lost at home to the Brooklyn Nets, 105-99. They fall to an overall record of 19-34.

The Utah Jazz started the game off hot from beyond the 3-point line. Trey Burke went 2-for-2 from 3-point land in the opening minutes of the game. Alec Burke also came up strong for the Jazz as he racked up a solid 10 points and 3 rebounds in the quarter.

The Jazz looked great as they put out a high-level team effort by grabbing boards, blocking shots and scoring well around the basket. Due to great ball movement and a cohesive offense, the Jazz were able to establish a comfortable lead early in the game and did an excellent job at maintaining that lead throughout the rest of the quarter.

Nothing changed in the opening minutes of the second quarter as the Jazz went on a scoring spree and scored a quick nine points. With senior leadership from Paul Pierce and Deron Williams, the Brooklyn Nets fought back and cut the lead down to four. But Jazz guards and centers didn’t let down as they put more pressure on the Nets' offense and rebounding efforts. Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams both put on a show at the end of the quarter, knocking down several shots from the field and hitting clutch free throws to put the Jazz up 56-48 to end the half.

Brooklyn came out of the gates in the second half with ice in their veins. They seemed to score on every possession, shooting an impressive 50 percent from the field and were diligent with their defensive efforts, which held Utah to a low shooting percentage at 31 percent in the quarter. The Jazz ultimately gave up their comfortable eight-point cushion and allowed the Nets to take the lead with about three minutes left in the quarter. Utah ended the quarter down one with a score of 74 to 75.

In the end, it was another depressing night for Utah basketball as the Nets extended their lead and stole the win from the Jazz in EnergySolutions Arena. It was obvious that the Jazz missed their big man in Derrick Favors. The Nets scored a whopping 48 points in the paint without Favors present. “We have to protect the paint a little bit better then we did,” said coach Tyrone Corbin.

Jazz guards:

The guard play Wednesday night was near perfection with excellent performances from Utah’s starting point guard Trey Burke. He led all Jazz guards in assists with 10 and 14 points. Alec Burks also put in a hard day’s work, leading the team in scoring with 23 points and adding four rebounds and two assists to his stat sheet.

Grade: A

Jazz forwards:

It was a slow game for the Jazz forwards Wednesday night, which was more than compensated by their guard play. Gordon Hayward continues to struggle as he scored only nine points in the game. Marvin Williams led Utah’s forwards with 12 points and three rebounds.

Grade: C+

Jazz centers:

Though Utah’s starting center, Derrick Favors, is still out with injuries, Enes Kanter provided a boost on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. He scored 18 points and grabbed a total of 10 rebounds to put up a double-double in Wednesday night’s game against the Nets. Jazz fans have a lot to be proud of from their big men who showed up to play and put up a fight against Nets centers Kevin Garnett and Andray Blatche.

Grade: B

Jazz coaches:

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