Thunder knock off Jazz to end six-game slide

Reggie Jackson scored 22, Jeremy Lamb added 21 and Serge Ibaka had 20 for Oklahoma City.

      
 

 

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Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 11/26/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The Oklahoma City Thunder looked to bring an end to their early-season struggles on Wednesday night when they faced the Utah Jazz. The injury-wracked Thunder had dropped six straight and faced another tough test from the young Jazz, who were eager to end a skid in which they’d dropped three straight and four of their last five games. 

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Utah Jazz Fan Accuses NBA Of Conspiracy After He Heckles LeBron James (Video)

“Dr. Heckle” might have messed with the wrong superstar.
Richard Anderson, a Salt Lake City plastic surgeon who has been a Utah Jazz season ticketholder for going on three decades, is claiming a conspiracy after he was abruptly told last week to cease his longtime use of props to heckle opposing players. His crime, he suspects: Distracting LeBron James at the free throw line.
Anderson watched Monday’s game against the Chicago Bulls at Energy Solutions Arena with a piece of blue tape over his mouth to protest to gag order he was given by the Jazz, he told ABC-4 News. The fan affectionately known as “Dr. Heckle” for his use of rubber chickens and other joke props claims he was told to cease using the props after he twirled an umbrella while James shot free throws earlier this month.

“I think the commissioner and the NBA central office have taken control of who they want to win and who makes them the most money,” Anderson told ABC-4’s Rick Aaron. “What really upset ‘em was when I was twirlin

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Butler, Gasol lead Bulls over Jazz 97-95 (Yahoo Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 24: Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against the Utah Jazz during the game at EnergySolutions Arena on November 24, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Injuries have made it tough for Chicago to realize its full potential this season. The Bulls can dominate any team for a quarter or a half, and let that team back into the game before the final horn.


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Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

The Utah Jazz (5-9) host the Chicago Bulls (8-5) at the EnergySolutions Arena for a nonconference battle Monday night.

Chicago must overcome a slew of injuries, none more notable than the hamstring ailment of Derrick Rose, who is a game-time decision, according to Fred B. Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune. Additionally, Chuck Garfien of CSN Chicago notes Taj Gibson is out and Kirk Hinrich is doubtful but Pau Gasol is probable.

Reserve point guard Aaron Brooks would log serious minutes if Rose and Hinrich are both unavailable, while Nikola Mirotic would be the primary beneficiary of frontcourt setbacks.

Though the Jazz are led by small forward Gordon Hayward, Utah needs other players to step up, especially during such a winnable home game. Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks are the main culprits to watch behind Hayward.

Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET and will be televised on CSN Chicago and Root Sports Rocky Mountain. Bleacher Report will provide scoring updates and in-game analysis. Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Bulls Injury Update: Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose could return for tonight’s game against the Jazz

Chicago Bulls stars Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose are both expected to return to the court tonight during the team’s contest in Utah against the Jazz. Gasol will likely start barring a setback in warm ups, while Rose will test his injured hamstring prior to the game as well.Rose has missed four consecutive games after injuring his left hamstring on the 13th in the fourth quarter of a game in Toronto. Gasol strained his left calf the following game, when the Bulls battled the Indiana Pacers on Saturday the 15th. While originally thought to be a more serious injury, Rose’s hamstring strain was simply diagnosed as ‘mild’, and the point guard was only thought to miss a game or two. This was not the case however, and after missing the past four games Chicago’s assist leader has now missed eight of the Bulls’ 13 games on the year. Gasol’s injury was more surprising, because of the fact that the seven-footer from Spain had never missed a game due to a calf injury in his career. The Spaniard’s absence was even more cr

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Pelicans Injury Update: Eric Gordon suffers a seperated shoulder during Saturday’s victory over the Jazz

The New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Utah Jazz on Saturday by the score of 106-94. The win improved the Pelicans to 7-5 on the season, last in the competitive Southwest Division. The Pelicans were lead by Anthony Davis, who scored 43 points and hauled in 14 rebounds in 40 minutes. During the game, shooting guard Eric Gordon suffered a separated shoulder and is out indefinitely.    Keith Allison  via Wikimedia CommonsSean Kelley, radio voice of the Pelicans, tweeted on Gordon’s injury during Saturday’s game.Pelicans guard @TheofficialEG10 has suffered a separated shoulder and will not return to the game. Let’s hope it’s mild. #Pelicans #NBA— Sean Kelley (@SeanKelleyLive) November 23, 2014 John Reid of NOLA.com added that Gordon suffered the injury in a collision with Trey Burke of the Jazz. Gordon tried to stop Burke from driving on the perimeter towards the basket. The Pelicans officially said Gordon’s injury was a left shoulder subluxation and there is no …

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Davis scores career-high 43 as Pelicans beat Jazz

Anthony Davis has career-high 43 points and 14 rebounds as Pelicans beat Jazz

      
 

 

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Utah Jazz vs. Golden State Warriors 11/21/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The red-hot Golden State Warriors looked to keep their hot start rolling on Friday night when they took on the Utah Jazz. The Warriors had won three straight and eight of their first 10 but faced an athletic, young Jazz squad, who had won two of their last three. 

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It’s Time for the Utah Jazz to Prioritize Dante Exum over Trey Burke

To say Trey Burke‘s in a sophomore slump would almost be an insult to the phrase.

His numbers have tragically bottomed out through roughly one-fifth of the season, and he’s been thoroughly outplayed by backup Dante Exum, who’s already proven he deserves the bulk of the minutes at the point.

It’s been tough to watch Burke this season, and not just from the standpoint of a writer or fan. He’s gone from savior to scapegoat for this franchise in just over a year.

This was the general sentiment when he was drafted in the summer of 2013.

This is now.

And the change didn’t come without reason. Through just over one season’s worth of games, he’s barely looked like an NBA player. The eye test says he’s too small and not athletic enough.

Friday night, the Golden State Warriors trounced the Jazz, 101-88. In a 13-point loss, Burke was a team-worst minus-28. Exum was plus-15.

Golden State did what almost every other opponent has: Put Burke on an island—in the post, on the perimeter, whatever—and go to work.

And that’s just on defense. The numbers tell the story on the other end, where he’s rarely able to create an even decent look for himself.

In his first season, the numbers were rough (as you just saw), but there were at least flashes of solid IQ and playmaking ability. Maybe he could one day morph into a pass-first 1 like Andre Miller or Kendall Marshall.

But in year 2, Burke is still trying to be a scoring guard. And the picture gets even uglier when compared to what Exum‘s doing.

In all honesty, this is what should be happening. Exum is clearly the higher-upside asset. It’s unquestionable. Tune into any Jazz game and you’ll see it for yourself. Exum is taller, longer and more athletic. Plus, his vision and IQ are way ahead of schedule.

Obviously, there are still things to work out with Exum. His catch-and-shoot game has been better than expected, but his dribble pull-up is a mess. He’s yet to make a single shot off the dribble outside of 10 feet.

He gets out of position at times defensively, but he has the length and quickness to recover. Just imagine what he can do once he irons out those fundamentals.

He can also tighten up his handle a bit, even though he’s figured out that keeping things simple generally helps him stay out of trouble.

Thing is, the learning process could be accelerated by playing Exum more minutes with the first unit. There’s a theory in basketball that’s akin to exposure therapy. Just like you can help people with a fear of heights by taking them to the Empire State Building, a basketball player can adapt in difficult circumstances.

The skyscraper is a controlled environment. There are security guards and really tall fences. You’re not going to fall off. While playing with the starters, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors can be Exum‘s safety net as he truly adapts to the speed of the NBA.

The move is starting to come up among experts all over the NBA, but it’s a delicate process. Basketball Insiders’ Nate Duncan is worried what it would do to Burke.

ESPN’s Chad Ford has been asked about the debate as well. Twice, actually. In his weekly Q&A with SportsNation, Ford was asked, “When does Quin Snyder move Trey Burke to the bench in favor of Exum?”

He responded:

Great question. Exum, who was supposed to be the rawest of the lottery guys, has really outplayed him all year. In fact, Exum ranks second among all rookies in PER right now. And he’s going to get better. A lot better. It’s hard to watch that team with an objective eye and think Trey Burke is even in the same league as Exum as far as elite potential goes. Now, the Jazz may want to keep bringing him along slowly. There’s less pressure coming off the bench. But long-term? He’s going to be the Jazz’s starting PG. Combine him with Gordan Hayward and Derrick Favors, both of who have been excellent this year and the Jazz have a scary core for the future.

The next week, he went into the specifics on why Utah is hesitant to make the move:

I mentioned this last week and feel even stronger about it this week after talking to sources close to the Jazz. They know Exum is going to be amazing and quite possibly their franchise player. He’s not ready yet. He has to get stronger to handle all the contact he gets. But he’s got the tools, has the basketball IQ, has the work ethic to be GREAT. And his jump shot is dramatically improving. Fast forward two years and he’s likely Utah’s No. 1 option. But it’s early and I think they are erroring on the side of patience right now. He doesn’t need to be, nor is he ready to be THE guy right now. I think Burke might start the whole season. But by next year, or the year after, this will be Exum‘s team to run.

The question here isn’t whether or not Exum‘s ready to be the guy this season. That’s still Hayward, and to a lesser extent, Favors.

This is about who’s the better option to help the 2014-15 Utah Jazz win games. The numbers say it’s Exum. And he fits logistically.

He’s pass-first all the way, almost to a fault. That makes more sense with Hayward, Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter, all of whom can score. With a second unit devoid of scorers, Exum‘s unselfishness can contribute to a stagnant attack.

Now, think about what the move does for Burke. Yes, there’s the fear that it negatively impacts his psyche, like Duncan pointed out, but it could also go the other way.

It could be difficult for him to accept at first. But after adapting, Burke could settle into the opportunity to be aggressive in a lineup that actually needs him to be, and against other players without top-tier physical tools.

All that said, there’s still no indication from within the organization that a lineup change is coming. So the most we can ask for now is more minutes, including some with the starters.

Exum is clearly the point guard of the future, and he’s earned more time to develop cohesion with the other core members of the team.

And if it means rewriting the next few months of Burke’s career from a tragedy to some kind of buddy-cop flick with his up-and-coming backup, even better.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all stats and salary figures are courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com, and are current as of Nov. 22, 2014.

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him @AndrewDBailey.

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