Update: Posted 5/6/08 at Biased Fan. The most recent Jazz entry. Can’t leave that out.
Jerry Sloan’s coaching ability is disappearing by the second
Okay, to get it out of the way early… the officiating in the game was crap. At best. On both ends. Horribly inconsistent. It tended to favor Kobe and the Lakers (he’s Kobe, it’s the NBA), but is arguable both ways (the Lamar Odom no call at the end of the 3rd). But, you know what? The NBA is crap like that… you have to expect that. The superstars (as chosen by the head guys of the NBA & their marketing crew) will get the questionable calls in there favor. Others won’t. The Lakers have a superstar (and then another star or 2 after that). The Jazz have no “superstars”. Okay, end of that rant. The officials sucked. Again (just like the entire Rockets series). But you can’t expect much more from the NBA these days.
Given all that, even if they played a big role in deciding the game, in the end, the blame has to fall on 3 other guys. Well, maybe more, but I only caught half the game (half of the 1st quarter, half of the 3rd quarter, and the 4th quarter until it became a hack-a-Laker fest in the final minute).
First… Late in the game, the Jazz have gone on a run and cut the lead down to 7, and have the ball. Yet, for some totally unknown reason, No Knees tries to play Kobe, and jacks up the next 4 Jazz shots (3 jumpers, 1 ill-advised lay-up on which there should’ve been a foul call). But he’s not Kobe… All 4 miss, really hurting the Jazz-sters chances there. What was he thinking? And how did no-one on the team yell at him or punch him or something? Did he even realize what he was doing?
Second… The guy pictured above (Jerry Sloan) for a reason well described below. But to have some more here… the Jazz go on another late run with AK & Booze on the bench with 5 fouls each. The lead is down to 4. The Lakers call time-out… and coming out of the time-out with like 4-and-a-half minutes left, Booze is back in the game. What? Why would you change something that was working? I know Booze is paid a lot, but he played like crap (to be nice). Why put him back in… especially when the team had cut the lead to 4 without him? Of course, Jerry Sloan is a COY candidate every year… he obviously knows what he’s doing.
Third… Carlos Boozer. Need I say more? If you want more… he was 6-14 from the field. He had 7 (7!!!) of the 13 Jazz turnovers. He fouled out with over 3 minutes left… let’s stick with that (and see the Sloan thing above). Booze, who’s having a horrible game both offensively & in terms of holding onto the ball, heads to the bench with 5 fouls. The Jazz go on a run, cutting the lead to 4. Time-out Lakers. Time-in… Booze back in. What? The Jazz go to Booze when they get the ball, and (surprise surprise) he drops it immediately. Lakers ball on the turnover. On the opposite end, Kobe goes straight at Booze. Kobe might’ve missed a (the?) FT, I don’t remember. But the Jazz momentum was gone (partially because of the Lakers TO I guess, and partially because of the Booze turnover). And that was that. Oh, and don’t forget his “defense”. God… a rock could’ve done a better job on Vladimir Radmanovic. I still remember one play in the 2nd half (I think), where the Jazz had 5 guys in the area between the left end-line and the right end of the paint. Radmanovic walked over to the right end-line… and Booze stayed put. Easy 3 for Radmanovic right there. And the Lakers were attacking the lane all-night long… Booze did little on the plays where he didn’t foul someone. At least stand in there and try to be a defensive presence.
Do I partially blame the refs? Absolutely. But saying that the officiating in the NBA is bad is equivalent to stating that the Giants won the most recent Super Bowl. It’s a given fact. And you have to blame the guys that really cost the team. Stupid coaching. Stupid shooting-decisions. And stupid brick hands. And his stupid defense.
Deron was just 5-18 from the floor, but was just an assist and a board from a triple-double. Of course, stupidity wasn’t the only thing that cost the Jazz in the game (and no, I’m not talking about the refs here). There was the pathetic 2nd quarter. And leaving Sasha Vujacic open from long-range. And not drafting Ronny Turiaf a couple years back. Oh, and the fact that the Lakers showed up to play. The Jazz have to realize that the Lakers aren’t the Rockets. Their offense works better than the Rockets got theirs to work in the series. Oh, and you also have to remember that Kobe isn’t Tracy. He doesn’t miss free-throws. And he doesn’t disappear in the 4th quarter either. And he’s got a better supporting cast. Huge differences there that the Jazz have to account for. If not, we could be looking ahead to the NBA draft by the middle of next week.
Booze has absolutely disappeared in the playoffs. It’s sad, really. Maybe I was wrong about the Jazz being set at the 4-spot… they still need a defensive-presence, and maybe even another scorer because what they have now isn’t enough.
Anyhow, because the NBA is stupid, Game 2 takes place on
July 13, 2068 Wednesday. The games not at the ESA, so if you have tickets for the game, someone gypped you.