So… I figure I might as well get this out there. Especially now that I’ve finally got a post up.
While this has been much fun, I’ve decided to move on… and join the guys over at True Blue Jazz… a greater blog than this one, though (sorry to all of them over there) the names don’t even compare. JazzMat wins, running away.
But, as I said, that blog is just a bit better than this one (understatement of the year?), and makes it easier on me. No more having to scrounge for recaps when I haven’t seen the game… I can leave that to others. Eventually, I’ll be looking ahead to the off-season (yes, before the season is over), but for now… here’s my first post, looking at the backup PG conundrum.
Thanks to all the visitors I’ve had here… hope to see you all over there. Because, as they say… the grass is always greener on the other side. (Though what if the other side is a lake? Then what?)
So… I figure I might as well get this out there. Especially now that I’ve finally got a post up.
A note to the Jazz team that we saw this weekend…
That’s it… no reason to talk about the craptastic 3-game stretch we had to put up with.
my inner “Jazz are weak” side Steve Luhm…
Watching the Jazz’s 100-93 loss at Atlanta on television, I once again had to laugh about their reputation as a physical team, which always seems to be discussed when opposing players and coaches are asked about Utah.
When he played, coach Jerry Sloan was tougher than a cheap steak.
When he played, Karl Malone was as physical and intimidating as any player in league history.
When he played, John Stockton was a tough and physical as possible for a 175-pound point guard.
Those days are long gone, however, and this team is not physical or intimidating. In fact, the Jazz’s lack of physical toughness is the one thing they lack that other top-tier teams possess.
As Luhm brought up…
– With 9:47 left in the second quarter, Zaza Pachulia drove to the basket and, while attempting to create some space for a layup, he hit Paul Millsap square in the face with an elbow.
– With 6:05 left in the third quarter, Deron Williams drove to the basket and had his layup blocked by Al Horford, who kicked his leg out on the play and hit Williams in the sternum with a karate-like shot.
– At the end of the third quarter, Ronnie Brewer beat the clock with a layup. Atlanta’s Josh Smith was trailing the play but caught up with Brewer as he released the shot. Smith ran through Brewer and landed on top of him as time expired. Brewer crashed to the floor and cut his lip.
Yeah… ‘physical’ doesn’t begin to describe the Jazz.
The Jazz are off again tonight, before looking to start a new winning streak with a back-to-back in Miami (tomorrow) and Orlando (Sunday).
Though it’s not the Player of the Month he deserved last month, Deron did get Player of the Week honors for the past week for the Western Conference. He averaged 25.3 ppg and 11.3 apg in the 3 games, and came up huge at the end of all 3 games in leading the Jazz to wins.
Sacramento 114, Denver 106
Thank you Kings!!!
Of course, it’s not a guarantee to last (the Jazz have one of the tougher schedules amongst the Western Conference playoff teams), but still… you take what you can get. And first place is always nice. Especially with the way the first round shapes out if the playoffs started today…
(4) Utah (40-23)
Games remaining: 19 (7 Home, 12 Away)
vs. +.500: 12 vs. Div: 4
(5) New Orleans (39-22)
Games remaining: 21 (9 Home, 12 Away)
vs. +.500: 11 vs. Div: 7
REGULAR SEASON SERIES
Jazz lead 2-0
Jan. 7: at Jazz 116, Hornets 90
Feb. 21: at Jazz 102, Hornets 88
April 5: Utah at New Orleans
Yet again, the Jazz had a really bad quarter. This time, they changed things up though, playing solidly in the first before sucking it up in the 2nd. I guess that happens when you turn to your bench and bring in a line-up of Flop, Harding & Knight. Flop has to be the worst player in the league, or right up there. And that’s counting all 2nd-round rookies this year, and all NBDLers that have been called up and even Jason Hart. Harding has been sucking it up for the past couple of games, and that continued. Brevin brings a veteran presence that the team probably needs. He also brings a terrible jumper, overconfidence on his own jumper, the innate ability to cause the offense to stall immediately, and more. Combine the 3 of them with AK (who loves to drive into the post all wild-like and then dish off to Flop) and Korver, and you’re going to have a hell of a time. In a bad way. By the way… passing to Flop should be an offense punished by immediate benching. Luckily for the Jazz, AK & KK carried the Jazz bench, scoring all 38 of the bench points. The rest of the bench (aka the other 3 guys already mentioned) went 0-5 with 3 assists, 1 TO, 4 fouls and 0 points.
Fortunately for the Jazz, Deron, Okur & ‘Sap (getting another start for the Injury Magnet) played well, overcoming off nights from CJ & Brewer, and teaming with AK & KK to lead the Jazz. Deron had 25 & 9, taking over late yet again. Okur couldn’t drain a trey, but went 9-17 for 19 & 11. ‘Sap finished with 18 & 11. Brewer had only 4 points on 6 shots (though he did throw in 5 assists), and CJ had 5 on 5. Truthfully, the game was ugly throughout, before the Jazz finally woke up late. They outscored the Raptors 28-14 in the last quarter, largely due to playing D and having the Raptors miss their jumpers. It ended up being enough, as the Jazz got a road win, something that we’ll take no matter who we’re playing.
Meanwhile, for the Raptors… Chris Bosh had 30 points & 10 boards (before choking?). Jose Calderon had 10 & 11, Anthony Parker had 16 & 11, Bargnani had 20 and 8, and The Matrix was held to 8 & 8. By the way, the caption to the picture is kinda telling for the Raptors. As are the polling results on the home page.
Here’s how the Jazz extended their streak to 11 games.
I’m not a big fan of the bench, outside of the top 3 (top 2 if the Injury Magnet turns on). Well, I like The Koof, but he gets less time on the court than the guys making mid-court shots for money. And Fesenko & Almond, but they’re both in the D-League right now. That leaves the top 3, the next 3 (mentioned above), and Ronnie Price. If this team is really dependent on anyone behind the top 3 for production (which they are, especially with Injury Magnet out), they’re in trouble. If the Brev Brev/Price duo has to play more than 5 minutes (well, just Brev Brev because J-Slow all of a sudden hates Ronnie Price), they’re in trouble. If Flop hits the court, they’re in trouble (and my TV is off if the game is on, but that is irrelevant). If Harding gets called on in any game that isn’t against the Spurs/Nuggets/etc., they’re screwed. I know this is true for most teams beyond the first couple of guys, but given the way injuries are hitting, the Jazz have to be prepared. Turning to Flop & Harding does not equal prepared. If you enter a playoff series against the Lakers/Spurs, and put Flop on the court, you will be laughed out of the building. And eventually run out of it as well.
This whole spiel is probably irrelevant now, given that the big FAs (like Drew Gooden and Joe Smith and Mikki Moore, etc.) have all signed, and the deadline to add players that can play in the playoffs (or something like that) has passed, but still… how the team can leave Flop on the roster and not go try to get someone that can help is beyond me. Hopefully it doesn’t come back to bite us in the backside…
That said, the Jazz won. Guess we might as well enjoy that. The last 5-game-Eastern-Conference-road-swing is underway, and the Jazz have a 1-0 start. Things could definitely have been a lot worse… and it seemed like they would be until 12 PM MST, when they finally woke up (they = Deron, it seems). Up next… the Pacers.
Please return. Now!
The more time you miss, the more we have to see of Flop (until J-Slow wakes up, which sadly will probably be never). And as he proved today, he sucks.
After letting them sit behind the bench for eons, the Jazz have finally sent Mo Nuts & Fesenko down to the D-League.
I guess they knew Booze might miss some games, because otherwise The Koof would probably benefit the most from getting some extra time. Almond isn’t a D-Leaguer… he should be up in the NBA. Unfortunately for him, the Jazz developed a solid SG right after drafting him, making it a lot harder for him to get time. As for Fesenko… he does fine down there. He just doesn’t get time up here to prove anything (due to J-Slow’s man-crush on a guy who isn’t deserving), but yeah… I guess it’s better than sitting behind the bench in a suit.
The over-used cliche really describes the Jazz/Nuggets game well. The Jazz played like crap in the first half… falling behind by 19 at one point (before cutting the lead to 10 at the break). ‘Sap had only taken 1 shot. Booze started 2-3 for 4 quick points, and then missed his next 4 shots. Okur struggled. Deron struggled. Brewer was just 1-4. The bench had contributed a total of 4 points. CJ was his crappy version. They were settling for jumpers, and missing. The first half can be described in 2 words…
And then the team came onto the court revitalized. For all the crying by the Nuggets, what the Jazz did was simple… they started attacking the hoop. And in this league that we call the NBA, that’ll draw a lot more fouls than shooting jump-shots will. The Jazz attacked early and often. They found the FT line very comforting, and before you knew it, the Jazz were back in the game. And it stayed close until Dahntay Jones decided to piss off Deron. And then it was on. Two treys by CJ to end the 3rd started the run, and the Jazz were up by around 10 until the end of the game. Everyone knows that you don’t upset the Ninja (credit Shums for the Ninja comments). Anyhow, Brewer & Deron took over and more or less carried the Jazz despite off nights for both Booze & Okur.
The hero = Deron. Duh!
The win runs the streak to 10 games, and has brought the Jazz (after last night’s games) to with 0.5 games of first place in the Northwest.
The next game is currently on-going (in the 2nd half) in Toronto. I’m sorry, but early starts are a pain. Especially early starts the same day that we lose an hour. That said, J-Slow needs to know his rotations better, even with Booze out. Some guys should not be seeing the court at all, other guys need to be playing more. And if someone is playing well, let him keep playing. Screw your “I need to take him out after 6 minutes” rotation.
Well, there is an early game today (starting about now) in Toronto.
And the Jazz will be without… you guessed it. Booze, who suffered a sprained ankle in the Nuggets game. ‘Sap will get the start.