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
If, before February started, you had told me that Jazz would go 10-1 in the month, I would’ve laughed you out of the building. Even with Booze & AK due back, injuries were killing the team. They had had a sub-par January, losing against most of the good teams (and Oklahoma City). 10-1 seemed like a far off dream.
If you had told me that the 1 loss would’ve been a blowout loss in Golden State, I would’ve laughed you out of the building for a completely different reason… and it has nothing to do with the Jazz owning the Dubs as of late nor anything to do with the Dubs struggling this season. With the February schedule featuring Dallas, the Kobes, Boston & New Orleans (even with all of them at home), Golden State would’ve been no higher than 5th on my list… even if considering “sleep-walking games” and the Jazzsters pathetic play versus not-so-good teams.
That said, yesterday’s too-close-for-comfort (until the end) 102-89 win over Sacramento did exactly that for the Jazz… giving them their best month in franchise history. Not bad.
Ronnie Brewer had a huge night, finishing with a career-high 26 points (previous high was 25)… and throwing in 7 rebounds and a couple of highlight-reel plays as well.
AK struggled with his shot, Harding made 66% of his shots. I guess we can blame dwillfan (piling it on?) because we need to blame someone. As for Harding… I guess the haircut helped.
Some more love for Brewer & Okur (who also had 26 points). While Brewer relied on dunks and all (going 10-18 from the field), Okur did it by going 9-12 from the floor (not bad), and 4-5 from long range.
As for the others… Deron had 16 & 11, Booze is still trying to find himself, ‘Sap just missed a double-double (8 & 12), CJ struggled offensively & Korver only took 2 shots.
The Jazz D was as expected… Kevin Martin had 19, and Rashad McCants exploded for 17 off of the bench.
Some more Brewer love… if they redid the lottery the year he was picked knowing what is known now… where would he end up? The answer? Most definitely NOT #14. We got lucky.
Speaking of the draft… should we say ‘No’ to the 2009 NBA draft? My thought… if we still have the pick (aka we didn’t finish with a good enough record for it to end up in the hands of the Timberwolves) come the off-season, we should use it. The team is going to need at least 1 PG, and potentially a back-up PF to play behind either Booze or ‘Sap. And they might even need a back-up wing (what?!?) if Korver opts out & leaves and if Harding can’t play on. If the team doesn’t have a first rounder, well then it’s irrelevant… no reason to trade back in. If you have it… use it. Of course, that could just be me, a fan of the draft, speaking. The draft is a lot more boring if your team isn’t picking.
While we’re at it… more Brewer love. Is this guy amazing or what?!
And to finish with the Kings… Gooden buyout? And Gooden to the Cavs as a surprise FA signing?
Speaking of losing to the Dubs on the road… guess who we play (and where) tonight? Yep… last half of a home-road back-to-back. Golden State of Mind is seemingly fluctuating between pessimistic & optimistic. Part of the reason for pessimism? No Captain Jack as Nellie continues his “bench 1 star wing-guy” every game to develop the youth. Interesting… J-Slow wouldn’t do that even if the Jazz were last place in the West with 2 weeks to go on the season. And Nellie has like 1.5 months left still.
The last game the Jazz played ended with an ugly home loss. Looking to overcome that last night in Sacramento, the Jazz pulled off what has to be the ugliest win in a very long time. The fact it was on the road (in Arco Arena no less!) is just an added bonus.
- Deron Williams on the Jazz record in Sacramento his first couple of years here…
The Jazz had gone 1-5 at Arco Arena in Deron Williams’ first three seasons. “It definitely felt good to get a win here,” Williams said. “We thought it was going to be another San Antonio.”
That and more good stuff from Siler.
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The Jazz are coming off of 2 days of “rest” after sucking it up at home against the Nets, the Kings are coming off of a loss to the Mavericks (also on Saturday). And tonight, the Jazz head to Arco Arena. Oh joy.
Links & Things & stuff like that…
- It’s December! You know what that means? Well, yeah, Christmas & finals & all that. But also, road-trip USA! okay, not really. But the Jazz have 9 of their 15 games on the road this month, including the annual pre-Christmas
slaughter-the-Jazz-event road-swing as they knock off 5 more of the Eastern Conference road games. I have to ask… how many other teams out their have three 5-game road swings to knock out all 15 teams in the other conference? It just seems strange.
- In case you don’t remember, the Jazz destroyed the Kings in SLC a couple days back. Well, at least they destroyed them in the 2nd half. The first half ended tied, before the Jazz finally woke up.
- The Jazz lost both their games at Arco last year, and have lost 6 of the last 7 games played there. And I’m pretty sure at least some of those came when the Jazz were healthy. And they definitely aren’t healthy today.
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For the first 2 quarters, the game was relatively close, up right through the half-time buzzer, at which point the Kings had evened the game up at 50. This was a huge disappointment to most Jazz fans, because it wasn’t expected to be this close. The Kings had been struggling all season, and were still without their star player. The Jazz had their key player back (even with 1 guy still out), and are supposed to be championship contenders. These are the type of games you’re supposed to win with relative ease, aren’t they?
Fortunately, there was still a half left to play. Well, fortunately for the Jazz, at least. The Jazz absolutely exploded in the 3rd quarter (you know, the quarter that has been killing them for most of the season), rolling up a 44-17 (!!!) advantage in the quarter and rolling to a 26 point win (120-94). Yeah… I’m not quite sure what happened during halftime, but it worked well. Hopefully (for the players sake) J-Slo didn’t pull a Mike Singletary.
Player Notes (& More) Below
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