Like a kick in the groin.
dwillfan nails it on the head (while called Dirk Dick)…
You guys choose tonight of all nights to NOT give Harp minutes? Dick was hitting every shot he threw up, and all the king’s horses and all the soft Jazzmen just kept letting him. We all know what a “fragile” mental constitution Dick possesses, and how he gets rattled and thrown off his game by the slightest sign of physicalness. So why didn’t
we the Jazz take advantage of it? Isn’t that what, in fact, we have Harp for?
On that note… there are 3 types of teams in the league.
- Those that love the run-and-shoot, and avoid physical basketball like the plague.
- Those that play the half-court style, but would like to avoid physicality wherever possible.
- Those teams that’ll pound you into the ground… and then do it again in the 2nd half.
No Knees is a great play against the 3rd type of team, an alright play against the 2nd type of team (especially if they start attacking early… anything to make them think twice), and a horrible play against the 1st type of team. Which makes it obvious which games he gets the most minutes in…
The Jazz were totally dominated on the boards. ‘Sap wasn’t ready, and it showed.
So, at the mid-way point of the season, the Jazz are 24-17, good for 3rd in the Northwest (3 games back for Denver, 0.5 games back of Portland) and 8th in the West (8 games back, and .5 games ahead of 9th place Dallas). The West is a 9-team race… the difference between the 9th & 10th place teams is a whopping 10 games.
Back-to-back games suck. Especially when I have work the day of.
Let’s see… the Jazz won yesterday in front of a very small crowd, needing some solid play late after almost blowing a relatively big lead. The Koof seems to have lost his spot in the rotation (due solely to the fact that he’s a rookie, of course… because his play has been solid) to Flop (uh oh)… Ronnie Price went from starter to DNP-CD… Korver is back out of the dog-house, and Flop made his first basket of the season last night. Oh, and Okur’s shot is MIA since the Pacers game. If you want some more bad, Deron had 8 TOs last night. That has to stop.
As for tonight…
- The Mavs will be short-handed after their trade yesterday.
- The Mavs have lost 4 straight games.
- Dirk the Jerk hates the Jazz.
- The Jazz are playing the 2nd half of a road-road back-to-back. Take what you want from that info.
- Mark Cuban, hilarious. Too bad the MLB won’t let him buy the Pirates… and too bad all the other owners are scared out of their minds by a owner that actually cares about his team.
Well, David Stern decided to suspend Dirk the Jerk for his hit on No Knees in the Jazz/Mavs game. Which I think is a really stupid call… it wasn’t an intentional hit or anything. And, in some great planning, it wasn’t announced until just a bit before the Mavs game today.
Lucky for the Mavs, it didn’t seem to have much of an impact, as they rolled over the Clippers (in LA), 98-76.
Flagrant-2? Fine, I guess that’s the rule for hitting with a fist. But a suspension for that? There have been many things worse that haven’t resulted in suspensions.
Surprise! As a late Christmas present to all the fans, the Jazz came out and played some solid basketball at home, overcoming the absence of a couple of key guys to beat the Mavs, 97-88. So much for the doghouse expanding after the Bucks game… the absence of most of the bigs required J-Slow to play his 2 young bigs, and he did. Of course, there’s only 9 healthy players on the team (8 of them played, plus 1 who’s always injured), so it’s not like J-Slow has any other options. The same player that played way too many minutes against the Bucks was back again, playing the most minutes off of the bench. This time though, it was only good for the 6th most minutes on the team, and it did kinda end up being useful for the Jazz.
Why the Jazz won…
- Deron, while still hesitant to drive hard to the hoop (he kept settling for short jumpers/runners), played better. He went just 6-16 from the field, but he only took 3 treys (missed them all). He got 17 points… pretty much duplicating the Milwaukee line (except with 1 more shot made last night, and 4 fewer treys taken). But he threw in 13 assists and 3 boards, and only had 5 turnovers. He also got 4 steals, twice as many as anyone else on the team, and 1/3 of the Jazz total. Meanwhile, the opposing PGs (Jose Juan Barea, Jason Kidd) went a combined 5-19 from the field (2-9 from downtown), which is partially due to some sort of defensive presence by Deron. Of course, Kidd also played some 2-guard, and the Jazz were relatively lucky that Kidd kept launching treys and missing badly… open or not.
- The Koof & Fesenko aren’t your normal center rotation. In fact, if they are, you might be in trouble quite often. Last night was not one of those nights though. The Koof got the start, and was solid, going 8-11 for 18 points. He threw in 1 block, 8 boards, 2 assists & 2 steals, while only getting 2 fouls, which was huge with the dearth of bigs available. Fesenko, meanwhile, didn’t play as much (12 minutes, to 30 for Kosta), but threw in 8 points (4-5 shooting), along with 4 boards & 3 blocks. Erick Dampier didn’t go off as I feared, getting only 2 points, 8 boards & 2 blocks. The Koof also had a nice block on Dampier at one point, while Fesenko was partially behind the frustration that caused an ejection (more later).
- CJ was feeling it early, draining a couple of treys on his way to a 6-12 night (14 points) in 37 minutes. Brewer, meanwhile, was 8-15 from the field, getting 21 points to lead the Jazz, and throwing in 7 boards & 2 steals and assists in the process. He also finished the 3rd quarter on a high note, slipping behind the Mavs D and catching the inbound pass from Korver for an easy flush with less than 2 seconds left. That made up for an attempted buzzer-beater at the half… one that fell but left his hands just a touch too late.
- The Jazz were 23-27 from the line (15-17 for the Mavs). No player on the Jazz missed more than 1, and the 7-8 night for AK really saved his game offensively (he did have 14 rebounds). Brewer was 5-5 from the line, and Deron was 5-6.
- The ejection of Dirk the Jerk seemed to revitalize the Mavs near the end, but it ended up being that it was just the Jazz playing their normal D. After the FT for the flagrant (only 1, because the basket by Fesenko before counted), the Jazz were up 83-68. The Mavs promptly went on a 12-2 run, but again… that was really helped by the Jazz leaving the Mavs open at times. And since the Mavs weren’t really revitalized all that much, they never really threatened the Jazz late. After they cut the lead to 5 on that run, the Jazz built it back up and relatively cruised (I mean, there was no “Hack-A-(anyone)” late to reduce the Jazz to a FT shooting bunch, implying that it was over and that the Mavs just wanted to get out.
What kept the Mavs in it…
- Josh Howard went off for 18 points. Of course, the fact that his stat sheet is bare (other than the points, 2 steals, 1 block & 3 fouls) can’t be good for the Mavs.
- Jason Terry was on fire, getting 26 points on 10-18 shooting. Luckily for the Jazz, he was only 2-6 from downtown, because he had more than 2 good looks.
- The Mavs bench outscored the Jazz bench, 39-18. Of course, that can partially be explained by the fact that the Jazz don’t have much of a bench right now.
- Dirk did have 17 & 8 before his ejection early in the 4th quarter, and he was 6-10 from the field.
- No Knees played 16 minutes, and was more-or-less a negative impact save for the fist to the mouth that he took. That play near the end of the 1st quarter where the Jazz ran the clock down and then attempted a long jumper by No Knees (between the FT line and the 3-point line)… yeah. Never again. Please.
What caused Dirk’s ejection…
- Well, the play went as such. After a missed, Fesenko went up for the ball, and might’ve gone over the back on Dirk. He didn’t appreciate that. Then Dirk & No Knees were battling for position under the hoop, and No Knees kinda grabbed Dirk’s hand, moved it and let it go… getting the ball (which had just gone through on the Fesenko shot) in the process. Dirk didn’t take too kindly to that though, and seemingly elbowed No Knees in the arm. His arm continued though, moving backwards, and in the end, his fist ended up nailing No Knees in the mouth. Mavs HC Rick Carlisle…
“It appeared to me to be accidental, but they said his fist was closed so it’s an automatic Flagrant-2,” Carlisle said.
I guess that’s the rule or something, so it’s an automatic ejection, intentional or not.
- Before, Dirk was having an alright game (again, 17 & 8). He only had 3 fouls, so he wasn’t getting called for too many bad fouls. Just the one offensive one earlier (first half, I think). Dirk had the ball up at the top of the key (you know, ball up by the head, elbows out). Anyhow, he moved his right elbow down. AK, fearing for his life or something (remember last year… see below), decided to act a bit, jumping UP and falling backwards. The whistle blew, the offensive foul was called. Now, I’m not a genius, but generally, if someone elbows you in the face with the elbow moving DOWN, you definitely won’t be going UP. Eh, I’m not complaining. The refs have been generally bad to us anyways.
- It’s what Dirk does. Even last year, he got tossed in a game after a hard foul on AK. Dirk might be better off just avoiding the games in Utah.
The Jazz don’t get much rest… the flew off after the game and will play the Rockets in Houston tonight. For more from the Mavs side, head over to Mavs Moneyball. The Rockets will be coming off of a road loss to the Hornets last night. And unlike last night, that game obviously won’t be on KJZZ. More on that game later though.
This could get ugly. Very quickly. Of course, the same could’ve been said about the game last year against the Lakers where Fesenko was starting for the first time ever… and the Jazz rolled there. But will we see such magic again?
The players the Jazz will be without… ‘Sap, Booze, Okur & Flop. Yep… all bigs. And the Jazz-sters top 3 scorers. Kosta gets the start, as does AK (making his first start of the season). The Mavs are coming off of a win in Portland last night, and are 17-11 (17-13 for the Jazz).
The Jazz have averaged 22 turnovers/game in their last 2 games, both losses. The Mavs have won 3 straight, and 7 of their last 10. And they’re more-or-less fully healthy, which has to be good for them.
Three Key Players
- Dirk Nowitzki: Any doubt about this? He’s averaging 26 ppg & 9 rpg. And the Jazz will be countering him with AK, and then… No Knees? Uh oh. He’ll probably see many good looks (especially if No Knees or Koufos or the likes is on him), and if he’s knocking them down, the Jazz are in trouble.
- Kosta Koufos: He’ll get plenty of minutes, especially with Fesenko in the doghouse. Can he come through though? Or will Erick Dampier go off on the Jazz? Koufos will have to step up defensively (especially if he switches over to Dirk the Jerk), but will also have to help out offensively to make up for the loss of all the inside scoring.
- Deron Williams: He has to bounce back after the off-night (shooting wise) in Milwaukee. And with the pick-and-roll more or less negated with the fact that there’s no one to set the pick, he’s going to have to pick his game in all forms. More points. Better shooting. Fewer turnovers. More assists, if possible. He averaged 23+ ppg & 12.8 apg last year against the Mavs, including 41 points in 1 game.
Please, oh please… don’t run the pick-and-roll with AK. Especially if he’s not “roll”-ing.