SANTA CLARA — Play of the game? It’s too tough to narrow it just one when the 49ers pummelled the Green Bay Packers 37-8 Sunday night, so let’s go with one on both sides of the proverbial ball:BEST OFFENSIVE PLAY: Kittle’s touchdownJimmy Garoppolo’s 61-yard touchdown pass to George Kittle encapsulated just how well the 49ers can score, which they’re doing at over 30 points per game.Sure, it merely padded the 49ers’ lead to 30-8, but that scoring strike came immediately after the Packers’ put …
Some research centers appear to be on the verge of a golden age – the age of biomimetics (the imitation of biological design). Products that will change our lives are springing from designs inspired by studying how plants, animals and cells have solved real-world problems. Although some of the research mentions evolution, the real power behind the research and development is the word design. Here are just a few recent examples.Make a muscle: Scientists at the University of British Columbia are taking inspiration from muscle proteins. They want to design materials that mimic their mechanical properties, “which are a unique combination of strength, extensibility and resilience,” they said in their paper in Nature.1 The chief molecule responsible for these desirable properties is a giant protein aptly named titin. It acts like a “complex molecular spring” thanks to “a series of individually folded immunoglobulin-like domains as well as largely unstructured unique sequences.” The scientists have now succeeded in recasting solid biomaterials by making “artificial elastomeric proteins that mimic the molecular architecture of titin” that “behave as rubber-like materials showing high resilience at low strain and as shock-absorber-like materials at high strain by effectively dissipating energy.” They call it a new “muscle-mimetic biomaterial.” Even though it is a passive substance, they can tweak it: “The mechanical properties of these biomaterials can be fine-tuned by adjusting the composition of the elastomeric proteins, providing the opportunity to develop biomaterials that are mimetic of different types of muscles,” they said. Wow; will this be the new flubber? “We anticipate that these biomaterials will find applications in tissue engineering as scaffold and matrix for artificial muscles.” Watch for the biceps on upcoming robots. Elliot L. Chaikof commented on this paper in the same issue of Nature,2. He said that biological materials are attractive because they allow for dissipation of energy and damping vibrations that prevent structural failure. “The elasticity and energy-recovery properties of such structural proteins are therefore fine-tuned for their biological roles, and are crucial determinants of the normal physiological responses of a broad range of tissues, including those that comprise the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.” The problem with synthetic materials in biomedical devices (microvalves, microactuators, etc.) is that “they cannot facilitate tissue repair, remodelling or regeneration, and they often provoke maladaptive host responses at tissue�material interfaces.” Creating parts out of protein is therefore a worthy goal. Chaikof reminds the reader that we are merely at the frontier:Lv and colleagues’ material is certainly impressive, but is it a true muscle mimic? Muscles are complex molecular machines, in which several components are assembled into well-ordered structures capable of converting a stimulus into motion. Titin is a major constituent of muscle, but a titin mimic alone does not reproduce all the properties of muscle – such as its tensile strength, or force-generating and force-sensing abilities. In the absence of a self-repair mechanism, protein-based materials are also inherently susceptible to biological degradative processes after implantation, which could release ‘foreign’ protein fragments into the host. For biomedical applications, such materials therefore need to be carefully assessed to ensure that no fragments cause adverse immune reactions. Future work will undoubtedly address these issues, leading to creative designs and fabrication techniques for assembling artificial muscle elements that reproducibly and repeatedly respond on command, perform work, and function well after surgical implantation.Flubber basketball players may have to wait a while longer. This job is harder than it looks. Science Daily reproduced a press release from UBC about the progress so far; see also PhysOrg’s headline, “Designed biomaterials mimicking biology: Potential scaffold for muscle regeneration.”Moths are the prototype: A perfectly non-reflecting display would be really cool for your eyeglasses or camera lenses. “Moths are the prototype” for a new nanocoating being developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany. Science Daily explained that moths have to avoid predators while flying about at night. While other insects’ multi-faceted eyes shimmer under light, “the moth’s eyes are perfectly non-reflecting.” That’s because “Tiny protuberances smaller than the wavelength of light form a periodic structure on the surface. This nanostructure creates a gentle transition between the refractive indices of the air and the cornea. As a result, the reflection of light is reduced and the moth remains undetected.” That trick is being imitated in a new process that applies the anti-reflective surface structure during manufacture of the component, without having to add a second coating process. This not only saves money but increases durability. The materials the Fraunhofer team is making are strong, scratch-proof and easy to clean. Imagine soon having cell phone displays, dashboard display covers, eyeglasses, and any other transparent surface that have all these desirable properties – thanks to the lowly moth.Purple is the new green: Purple bacteria, that live in the bottom of lakes and in coral reefs, are among the very best at harvesting energy from sunlight. According to an article in Science Daily, “Its natural design seems the best structural solution for harvesting solar energy.” That’s why “Neil Johnson, a physicist and head of the inter-disciplinary research group in complexity in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami, thinks its cellular arrangement could be adapted for use in solar panels and other energy conversion devices to offer a more efficient way to garner energy from the sun.” Johnson said (without first-hand observation) that these bacteria have been around for billions of years, and “you would think they are really simple organisms and that everything is understood about them.” But it was recently discovered that they can “adopt different cell designs depending on light intensity.” That realization “could help direct design of future photoelectric devices.” Purple bacteria have some tricks up their sleeves. They use a non-intuitive technique to squeeze more energy out of available light. To optimize, they can’t stay wide open all the time; they have to adjust the input to the ability to process the energy – which they do. They hit a balance: “purple bacteria create a design that balances the need to maximize the number of photons trapped and converted to chemical energy, and the need to protect the cell from an oversupply of energy that could damage it,” Johnson explained. At this point, the scientists are just trying to understand how the bacteria do it. “Currently, the researchers are using their mathematical model and the help of supercomputers, to try to find a photosynthetic design even better than the one they found in purple bacteria, although outsmarting nature is proving to be a difficult task.” Maybe its just too hard. So why not save energy, and harness the bacteria themselves? “Because these bacteria grow and repair themselves, the researchers hope this discovery can contribute to the work of scientists attempting to coat electronic devices with especially [sic] adapted photosynthetic bacteria, whose energy output could become part of the conventional electrical circuit, and guide the development of solar panels that can adapt to different light intensities.”Between the fern and the deep blue sea: “Tiny Hydrophobic Water Ferns Could Help Ships Economize on Fuel,” Science Daily announced. How is that? “The hairs on the surface of water ferns could allow ships to have a 10 percent decrease in fuel consumption,” the article explained. “The plant has the rare ability to put on a gauzy skirt of air under water.” That translates into reduced friction, which translates into fuel savings. The tiny water fern Salvinia molesta is so hydrophobic, it never gets wet – even under water. You can pull it out of the water and the water just drips right off, leaving it completely dry, even after it has been underwater for weeks. Imagine having swimsuits and scuba equipment like that. Previous attempts to create superhydrophobic materials have not been stable enough to last. Scientists have known about the fine hydrophobic hairs on the water fern, but they recently discovered that the tips of the hairs are hydrophilic – they attract water. Strange as that seems, it sets up a water layer that holds the air layer close to the plant. One colleague was excited by this: “After the solving of the self-cleansing of the lotus leaf twenty years ago, the discovery of the salvinia effect is one of the most important new discoveries in bionics.” Half the energy of moving a cargo ship through the water is caused by friction at the hull-water interface. A ten percent saving on fuel costs by coating the hull with a salvinia-effect material could have an enormous impact. “Surfaces modelled on the water fern could revolutionise shipbuilding,” the article concluded.Synchronized swimming: The dancing of a school of fish like a single organism moving gracefully through the water is a visual treat. “Nature shows and Caribbean vacation commercials often depict a school of fish moving as a single entity to avoid obstacles and elude prey,” PhysOrg agreed, adding, “Engineers hope to give unmanned mini-submarines, mini-helicopters and other autonomous vehicles the same coordinated movement.” To do that, they first need to understand how the fish do it. “Fish signal one another via visual cues and hydrodynamics (the movement of water),” the article explains, describing research at the University of Maryland. “A line of tiny hair cells down each side of a fish helps them to sense the flow of the water around them.” A short video shows how the researchers are making their first clumsy attempts to get yard-long robotic submarines in a tank to read each other’s visual cues, using cameras, to steer. Another researcher is working on the hair cell mimics. All the while, they are monitoring a school of live fish called giant danios to learn from their coordinated movements. They’ve learned that one fish getting startled can set off a “wave of agitation” that propagates from neighbor to neighbors. Another video shows computer models built on the observations. “We’re developing modern engineering tools to quantitatively study this phenomenon,” the lead researcher said, an aerospace engineering professor with the design-friendly name Paley. “We’re taking methods you learn as an engineering student and applying them to study biology.” Next stop: synchronized aerial vehicles exploring the eyes of hurricanes, schools of unmanned submarines gathering data in the deep ocean, maybe even synchronized spacecraft.Autonomous roach robots: Artificial robots, including drones, unmanned subs, Mars rovers and spacecraft, have to be driven by humans. Often it takes too long for signals to reach the moving parts to avert danger, and the robot gets stuck. Roy Ritzmann at Case Western Reserve University is envious of roaches. They respond to obstacles so nimbly, he decided to wire their neurons to see how fast their brains command their legs. PhysOrg describes his work in “If only a robot could be more like a cockroach.” The way we design robots now is too clumsy for the kind of work we need them to do – to go into the World Trade Center looking for victims, or other rescue situations. “So, to make a robot that can turn, back up, climb over or burrow under and obstacle without the guidance of a far off rescue worker using computer controls, what could be better than mimicking an insect’s comparatively simple brain?” Ritzmann thought. “Easier said than done,” found Ritzmann and his assistant Allan Pollack. If you can imagine doing brain surgery on the head of a pin, that’s about what it took to wire a roach brain to study its neuron firing patterns when it walks. They found that steps occur about 450 milliseconds after a neuron fires. The cockroach is controlling the speed of its legs with its brain. If we can ever get our robots to do that, we’ll really have something – especially if we can get them that small, and able to climb walls and reproduce themselves. On second thought… restaurants, watch out.Overlapping with biomimetics is genetic engineering. Once living designs are understood, they can be tweaked in ways humans desire. New Scientist reported on ways that plant leaf shape, stomata density and photosynthesis rate might be adjusted genetically. Linda Geddes began the article on “Designing Leaves” by saying, “From blades of grass to the cup-like fly-catcher of the pitcher plant, the diversity of leaf shapes, sizes and structures is stunning. It is also incredibly useful, allowing plants to live nearly everywhere on Earth, from the deserts of the US Midwest to the lush shores of the Amazon. Now the precise molecular switches that control the process are being unpicked.” Once we understand how leaves grow and prosper, the question becomes, “what does an optimal leaf look like and can we design one?” If so, we may be on the verge of the next green revolution – producing crops with dramatically increased yields, making food plants more resilient to heat and drought, and taking the guesswork out of selective breeding.1. Lv, Dudek, Cao, Balamurali, Gosline and Li, “Designed biomaterials to mimic the mechanical properties of muscles,” Nature 465, 69�73 06 May 2010; doi:10.1038/nature09024.2. Elliot L. Chaikof, “Materials science: Muscle mimic,” Nature 465, 44�45 06 May 2010; doi:10.1038/465044a.All together now: “These articles said nothing about evolution.” This is all design, design, design. We are marveling at the design and complexity of living solutions to real engineering problems, and trying to imitate them. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, who are we trying to honor? For any Darwin Party maniacs reading this, worried that the r-word is coming, notice that all this research, though completely compatible with an intelligent-design approach to science, had nothing to do with religion. It shows that science can approach nature with regard to intelligent design without focusing on the identity of the designer, Designer, or God. In the ID Revolution, everyone can join in and get on board without starting a religious war, because the focus is on design detection and design imitation. Questions about the Designer are, of course, very interesting and important, and very compatible with all this research, but those discussions can be left in the hands of capable theologians and philosophers. Individual scientists do not have to state their affiliations in their papers. None of these did; and none of these felt compelled to tell Darwinian tales, either. If journals will just loosen the reins, and let scientists like these talk about design, even intelligent design, without getting whipped for using the phrase, all they would be doing is validating what is already taking place. Simultaneously, journals need to relax the requirement for allegiance to Darwinism. Just-so stories are becoming so 1940s. It’s getting harder and harder for observational scientists to maintain belief that blind chance could produce optimized computers (see next entry), synchronized robots, perfectly non-reflecting surfaces, and so many other marvels. Isn’t it time to jettison the bad habit of force-fitting Information-Age discoveries into a worn-out Victorian mindset? Intelligent design science is not so much about controversial additions to science. As you can see in the articles above, design thinking is already being put to great use. It’s more about some blessed subtractions.(Visited 33 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We’re at least two weeks away yet for harvesting anything unless it gets hot again.The tile lines are dry and in between the plants are stunted and green. There are some fields in the area that are pretty even that may come off this week. I know I do not have any ready yet.I checked some corn and the moisture is anywhere from 26% to 27% on the tile line. Then in between the plants are green and little and I don’t know what we are going to do. It will be interesting. I have hydraulic deck plates but we may have to run all of the tile lines first and readjust. There will be some different shenanigans going on to get ready for this harvest.We are finishing our last ditching job. We are done with tile until beans and corn are off and then we have another 140 acres to do this fall.We got nine-tenths to an inch with this last rain. The town of Delphos got 6 to 7.5 inches of rain and were flooded out again. Hancock County didn’t get too much. The rain had to help some of the beans.The cover crops are coming up. I have some rye to plant this week. With the manure I thought it might get too tall this winter so I wanted to wait a bit to plant that.I think harvest could go fast once it get started because only half the trucks will be going up and down the road, but then we have all of these green plants still out there. I don’t know what to expect.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Patricia P. “Patty” DeBruin, age 62, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family at her home on Saturday, March 31, 2019. Patty was passionate about agriculture; she served as the Southeast Women’s Trustee for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and was a member of the executive board of the organization for 12 years.She was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. on September 12, 1956 and was the daughter of Robert Parham and Carole (Walter) Eckhardt, who survive her. Patty is also survived by her husband, Steven DeBruin, with whom she traveled the world and shared a loving marriage for 41 years.Patty graduated from The Ohio State University in 1978 with a B.S. in Home Economics and went on to teach the subject at Amanda-Clearcreek High School and Fisher Catholic High School. She was the office manager of Feeder Creek Veterinary Svcs. in Millersport for 35 years and advocated for small business through the National Federation of Independent Business and the Buckeye Lake Chamber of Commerce. She also served as a 4-H advisor, member of the Ohio Cattlewomen’s Assoc., member of the auxiliary committee for the Ohio Veterinary Medical Assoc., and a participant in Ohio State’s LEAD program.In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Lung Cancer Research Fund at The James OSU Cancer Hospital (https://www.giveto.osu.edu/makeagift/OnlineGivingDonation.aspx?Source_Code=DEV_AG-MED_CHRI-JamesWeb-ON-S&Fund=3060590) or to the Patty DeBruin Scholarship account at Commodore Bank.Visitation will be held Wednesday, April 3 from 2:00-8:00 p.m. at Johnson-Smith Funeral Home in Baltimore, Ohio. A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, April 4 at 11:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Buckeye Lake, with Fr. William A. Hritsko Celebrant.To make an online condolence, and sign the guestbook, please visit www.funeralhome.com.
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Bournemouth boss Howe delighted with Fraser formby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBournemouth boss Eddie Howe is delighted with the form of Ryan Fraser.The Scotland international has been a regular presence under Howe this season and is level with Eden Hazard for most assists in the Premier League this season with nine.”He’s done so well this [season], he’s been a regular goal creator, goal scorer and his set-piece delivery has been excellent, which was evident on Wednesday,” Howe said.”Two lovely free-kicks, one floated and one whipped, with two goals coming from that. So really pleased.”I’m not surprised [by his performances]. His technical ability is so high; he’s got two lovely feet and a very good football brain.”It was more a case of wanting him to show everybody what he can do on a consistent basis and he’s started to do it this [season].”
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license The Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) is to provide USD 94 million in financing for Navibulgar’s six bulk carrier newbuildings. On July 6, representatives of the bank and Bulgarian shipowner Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar) signed an agreement for the financing, the Export-Import Bank of China said in a statement.Last year, Navibulgar ordered 4+2 Bluetech 45 Handymax bulkers from Chinese Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group. Slated for delivery in 2019 and 2020, the 45,000 dwt ships will have a length of 190 meters, a draught of 10.8 meters, an ice class 1C and a large hold volume for its class.Market value of each 57,750 cbm newbuilding is around USD 17 million, according to data provided by VesselsValue.Operating in the Black Sea region, Navibulgar has a fleet of more than 30 bulk carriers. In addition, the company is expected to take delivery of two 42,300 dwt bulkers this year. The ships, Rojen and Musala, are being built at Chinese Jiangsu Hongqiang yard.The Export-Import Bank of China said that the signing of the agreement came in an effort to promote China’s Belt and Road Initiative. China hopes to drive its ship exports and attract more European shipowners to order new ships at the country’s shipyards.World Maritime News Staff
Kolkata: Seven persons were killed after a bus and an SUV collided head-on near Mohammad Bazar in Birbhum on Friday evening, while two persons including a child are still undergoing treatment.According to sources, on Friday evening, a bus was coming from Rampurhat towards Suri. At the same time, an SUV carrying nine passengers was moving towards Rampurhat from Suri. Near Kalikapur village in Ganapur forest, the driver of the SUV lost control and collided head-on with the bus. Hearing the sound of the accident, local residents ran to the spot and found that the passengers of the SUV were badly injured. Mohammad Bazar police station was informed immediately. But before the villagers could act, five persons died on the spot due to the accident. Within a few minutes, police arrived at the spot and rushed the four injured including a child to Suri Superspeciality Hospital, where two persons succumbed to their injuries later. The other two are undergoing treatment but their condition is still critical. After admitting the injured persons, police sent the bodies to the same hospital for autopsy examination. Till Friday night, none of the deceased persons could be identified. It is suspected that the injured and the deceased persons are from the same family. To know their identity, police are trying to locate the vehicle owner through the registration number of the SUV.
Mumbai: Englishman Jos Buttler laid the platform with a rampaging 89 while Shreyas Gopal held his nerve at the death to power Rajasthan Royals to a four-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League encounter here Saturday. This was Royals’ second victory of the season in seven games after losing a last ball thriller to CSK less than 48 hours back. Put into bat, Mumbai Indians rode on a aggressive 81 by South African Quinton De Kock to post an imposing 187/5, but Buttler’s 43-ball knock studded with eight fours and seven sixes set the tone before Royals survived a scare to finish the game in 19.3 overs. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThe match was a forgettable one for young West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph (0/53 in 3 overs), who was hammered for eight fours and three sixes and then was injured trying to save a boundary. The 13th over changed the game’s complexion as Buttler smashed two sixes and four fours off Joseph to bring down the equation to a manageable run-a-ball. Buttler first conjured a 60-run opening stand with skipper Ajinkya Rahane (37 off 21 balls, 6x 4; 1×6) to lay the foundation and then added 87 runs for the second wicket with Sanju Samson (31 off 26 balls; 2×4, 1×6). Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterButtler initially played second fiddle to Rahane but then upped his ante once skipper was gone. The Englishman in the eighth over, hit Rahul Chahar for a six, and then in next over, smashed two sixes off Krunal Pandya as he raced to 50 off 29 balls. When Buttler departed in the 14th over, Rajasthan needed 41 runs. But then came the twist in the tale when Mumbai did make a comeback of sorts sending four batsman — Samson, Rahul Tripathi (1), Steve Smith (12 ) and Liam Livingstone (1) — back to the pavilion as Rajasthan slumped to 174.6 from 147/2. However, Shreyas Gopal (13 not out) and K Gowtham (0 not out) held their nerves to take the side home in a tense situation. Gopal hit the winning boundary off Hardik Pandya as celebrations erupted in the Rajasthan camp. Joseph was the costliest bowler having conceded 53 runs in three overs. Earlier, Quinton de Kock hit a belligerent 81 as he powered Mumbai Indians to an imposing 187 for 5 against Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League game here Saturday. South African De Kock was the wrecker-in-chief as he hammered six fours and four sixes in his 52-ball knock and got able support from skipper Rohit Sharma (47 off 32 balls), who made a comeback after missing out the last Mumbai game due to a leg injury. A late cameo from Hardik Pandya (28 off 11 balls), in which smashed three sixes and one fours ensured Mumbai neared the 190-run mark. Earlier, Rohit and De Kock took the opposition attack to the cleaners as the two added 96 for the first wicket. They started the onslaught in the third over amassing 18 runs with the South African hitting a six and four off Krishnappa Gowtham. Then Rohit ripped apart pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, striking three fours, including a splendid cover drive, as Mumbai gathered 14 runs from it. De Kock kept playing shots at will even as Mumbai reached 57/0 after Powerplay period. Then De Kock dispatched spinner Liam Livingstone for two sixes over deep mid-wicket as runs came thick and fast. He raced to his fifty in 34 balls. Rohit, who struck six fours and a lone six, threw his wicket away giving a sitter to Jos Buttler off Jofra Archer. And then Rajasthan made a good comeback removing Surya Kumar Yadav (16) and Kieron Pollard (6) to reduce the hosts to 136/3. Rajasthan bowlers made a splendid comeback as they removed De Kock and Ishan Kishan before the Hardik show. Meanwhile, it was Rohit’s 100th match as captain for Mumbai Indians (including the now defunct Champions League T20 games) and it was Mumbai’s overall 200th match.
Usually, it’s pretty easy to figure out why an NBA team got better. The Sixers, who were the NBA’s most-improved team this year, got Joel Embiid and an extra 18 wins compared to last season. Houston, 14 wins better, got MVP-level play out of James Harden, who’s been a perfect fit for new coach Mike D’Antoni’s pace-and-space offense.Then there’s Utah, a team that was 40-42 last year, yet has pieced together a fringe NBA title contender this season. The Jazz’s improvement isn’t as straightforward as the Rockets’ or Sixers’, though — they did it by tinkering with the margins of a roster that had missed the postseason for four consecutive years, and they’re capitalizing on their two young stars finally coming of age.Perhaps the best comparison for this Jazz team is the Indiana Pacers from three or four years ago: Rudy Gobert is the Jazz’s souped-up version of Roy Hibbert, the leader of a very stingy defense that forces a ton of midrange jumpers. Gordon Hayward is the analog to Paul George, a talented wing player who can score over just about anyone. And Utah’s George Hill is … George Hill, who joined the team in July following an offseason trade and is now the conductor of a Pacers-like slow-paced offense. And even that lofty comparison to the two-time Eastern Conference finalists may be selling this club short; the Jazz shoot and pass the ball better and far more than Indiana ever did.Much of Utah’s jump stems from two key trades that bolstered each of those areas. The first deal landed Hill, a respected veteran point guard1In exchange for the No. 12 pick, Taurean Prince, in a three-team deal, and the other yielded skilled forward Boris Diaw2Diaw cost the Jazz Olivier Hanlan, the 42nd pick in 2015, and a 2022 second-rounder.. Both players, who once played for San Antonio, have helped the Jazz become a rare team that has been able to replicate the Spurs’ style. Watch the Jazz for long enough, and you can see San Antonio’s influences baked into some of Utah’s offensive plays and sets; particularly when Diaw is on the floor3The Jazz threw more passes than any other team during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The Spurs ranked third and fifth, respectively..Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/spursaction.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/utahspurs-likeaction.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The team’s transactions weren’t the sexiest, which is reflected by the NBA’s national TV ratings, in which the Jazz still rank near the bottom of the league. But as of now, those two moves — plus the Joe Johnson signing — look prescient. Hill, despite battling injuries all season, forced opponents to guard the perimeter more honestly and logged a career-high scoring average. Diaw, Utah’s best passer despite playing power forward, finished with a team-high six assists in the Game One victory over the Clippers. And Johnson, who connected on 41 percent of his 3s during the regular season, had 21 points in the series opener, including the game-winning floater at the buzzer4There were a flurry of Twitter users who didn’t know Johnson played for the Jazz until they saw him hit the dramatic shot to win Game One.But the offseason moves alone wouldn’t have made the Jazz this formidable. Utah needed Hayward to take the next step. Among the most notable improvements that he has made: Hayward has grown considerably stronger, giving him the ability to be more aggressive and absorb more contact as he barrels toward the basket following curls and dribble handoffs. Aside from connecting on a blistering 69 percent of his shots at the rim this year — one of six wings to shoot that well on 200 shots or more — Hayward also managed to log a career-best 45 and-1 situations where he scored despite getting fouled. By contrast, he was blocked just 43 times all season. To put that into context, it’s pretty rare for wing players to finish with more and-1s than shots blocked in a given season; this year LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard were the only other wings to accomplish the feat5Among players with at least 30 and-1s.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/hayward2.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/haywardstrength.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The other Jazz player who took the leap is also the reason the team’s die-hard fans can’t sleep at night: How injured is Gobert? It’s not clear how long he’ll be out with his knee hyperextension and bone bruise. The Jazz managed to squeak by without him on Saturday, but as Tuesday’s Game Two highlighted, the defense sans Gobert may be too porous to win this series6The Jazz have allowed the Clippers to shoot 79 percent from inside of five feet this series when using small-ball lineups, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. That number shrinks to a more respectable 62 percent when Utah uses two traditional bigs on the court at once., let alone compete with Golden State, who will almost certainly be waiting for them in the conference semifinals.But should Utah get a healthy version of its best player back — and yes, Gobert’s incredible jump in offensive efficiency, paired with his stellar defense, makes him the club’s most-valuable player — the Jazz can make some noise. They owned the third-best defense in the association this year, behind San Antonio and Golden State, and excel at defensive rebounding and limiting team’s opportunities in transition. Playing the percentages, the defense surrenders the NBA’s lowest share of corner 3-point attempts, and the only true soft spot they possess on that end is by design: They rank near the top of the league in terms of how frequently they goad opponents into taking inefficient midrange jumpers.Yet their entire defensive scheme, which often calls for wings to switch assignments and aggressively crowd their opponents along the 3-point line, works to perfection because of Gobert’s incredible mobility and impact around the rim. Watch this regular-season sequence against Portland, for instance. Damian Lillard seemingly pulls the trigger on his shot a beat quicker than he normally would to avoid Gobert. Then Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu grabs an offensive rebound, but opts against going for the putback because of Gobert’s presence.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/scaredofgobert.mp400:0000:0000:15Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.When teams are actually bold enough to bring the ball inside against him7Opponents take just 31 percent of their shot attempts at the restricted area with Gobert on the court, down from 36 percent when he’s on the bench., it frequently turns out to be a mistake.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/gobertswat.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Gobert, who led the NBA in defensive win shares and blocks, held foes to 49 percent shooting from within six feet, 12.5 percentage points beneath their average and the best rate among centers8Among those who have played at least 50 games. Fellow Defensive Player of the Year candidate Draymond Green’s rim-protection stats were equally impressive, at 48 percent while holding players 13.2 points under their averages. But Green is considered a forward on NBA.com..As tense as this moment is for Jazz fans, the offseason may prove to be even more stressful. Hayward, 27, and Hill, 30, become unrestricted free agents at season’s end, leaving the small-market club — which has the league’s smallest payroll — with tough financial choices9The team also faces a tough decision on big man Derrick Favors, who’s getting a pretty high-profile audition with Gobert sidelined. as it seeks to build on its first 50-win season since the 2009-10 season with Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan.But those decisions can wait a bit. After all, winning — and doing it now, in this postseason, with this core group — is the strongest case a team like Utah can make to its pending free agents anyway.Check out our NBA playoff predictions.