Sloan's zone saved the day

Utah Jazz: Sloan Shows His Patience Against Kings

In a season filled with comeback victories the Utah Jazz completed yet another comeback last night against the Sacramento Kings. The Jazz trailed the Kings by as many as 10 points in the contest, yet they were able to dig deep when it mattered most: in the 4th quarter.

In the first 3 quarters the Kings were able to put up 30 points, 26 points, and 31 points respectively, as they did not get outscored by Utah in any of those quarters (tied after the first). However, in the 4th quarter the Jazz held the Kings to just 17 points on 38% shooting, and they outscored them by 1o.

The key to the defensive improvement is undoubtedly due to Utah’s decision to switch to a zone defense, which seemed to give the Kings fits. Pulling out the zone defense in the final quarter is a smart move for a couple of reasons. First of all, by using it in the final quarter it confuses the opposition. The Kings were scoring their plethora of points against a man defense, and they were thriving on it. So to get that curve ball in the final quarter threw them off their game, and they suffered because of it. The second reason that using the zone in the final quarter is a smart move is because the opposition does not have a lot of time to counter the tactic. Had the Jazz used the zone defense from the outset, the Kings would have figured it out by halftime, and they would have adjusted their offense to it. It was obvious that the Kings did not have a plan for attacking the zone effectively, and that was because of the clever decision to wait until the 4th quarter to use it.

Having the patience to wait until the 4th quarter to use the zone defense shows exactly why Jerry Sloan is still around as the head coach of the Utah Jazz (and will be, at least for another year). The average coach panics if his team goes down by double-digits, and he pulls out all the stops before it gets out of hand. Sloan, though, does not panic, and he knows that his team will be able to pull it out in the 4th quarter with all the marbles on the table. He trusts his team to get the job done when it matters the most, and his team rewards him most of the time by doing just that.

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As you all know, Deron Williams has been dealing with a wrist injury lately. He had a quote for the press after the game regarding that injury, and here it is:

“It’s going to bother me; I just have got to learn to deal with it. It’s going to be sore tomorrow, just like it is everyday. On that back-to-back that’s what happens. It gets sore and it gets weak. It’s going to be a battle.”

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Favorite Stat of the Game

All 10 starters in the game scored in double figures, with DeMarcus Cousins leading the way for the Kings with 25 points and Al Jefferson leading the way for the Jazz with 23.

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Play of the Game

The play of the game goes to Al Jefferson, Kyrylo Fesenko, and Raja Bell who all contributed to the following awesome play.

Play of the Game

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Tags: Al Jefferson DeMarcus Cousins Deron Williams Jerry Sloan Kyrylo Fesenko Raja Bell

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