See, all the Jazz needed was to get off of the road. Maybe if we could petition the NBA to let the Jazz play all their games at home… nah. David Stern hates the Jazz enough to tell his refs to not call fouls when ‘Sap is hammered every play, no way he does anything to even partially help the team. I’m surprised he still lets them play 41 home games.
A solid win after a miserable 1st quarter. The 4th quarter was huge though… the team got hot, they got some solid D, and they walked out with a 109-97 win. The Jazz had a huge advantage on the boards, helped largely by the fact that the Fat Cactus only had 1 board. Yeah… 1! Just FYI… the only Jazz players (that played, obviously) he outrebounded were Flop (who totally sucks) and Koufos, who only played 4 minutes (each finished with 0 boards). On the other hand, his 5 assists would’ve been good for 3rd on the Jazz (behind the 2 PGs). The Jazz also caught breaks with Steve Nash & the Fat Cactus both in foul trouble throughout, helping overcome the 30 points from Amare.
I know there was the foul trouble (especially Nash) that killed them, but the Suns didn’t look like the Suns of last year. The Jazz zone, which they had to use whenever a certain guy with no knees entered because he can’t defend a rock, really seemed to stifle the Suns. Save, of course, the times when a player walked past No Knees and found himself open. Shaq found him too, and the Suns had 2 points. Oh, and the shocking stat (even more than Fat Cactus’ 1 rebound)… Shaq was 75% (3-4) from the line. Nice job Flop.
Player Notes Below
Ronnie Price: In 27 minutes, he yet again struggled with his shot, finishing 1-6 for 2 points. He did tie for the team high with 6 assists though, and also had 3 boards and 1 steal. Oh, and a nice block on Steve Nash to start the game. I still don’t think he’s cut out to be a starter at PG, but eh. That’s for J-Slow to screw up.
Ronnie Brewer: Another bad shooting night, as he went just 2-7 (plus 2-4 from the line) in 20 minutes. That’s right. 20 minutes. And you wonder why no FA wants to come play in Utah. This is the starter! Why would you keep Brewer on the bench to play No Knees, who obviously doesn’t have it left, 12 minutes? Why? He did have 4 rebounds and 2 assists to go with his 6 points (all the points came in the 2nd half).
CJ Miles: Remember the CJ from the Wizards game last year? Yeah, he showed up again. Of course, J-Slow only gave him 25 minutes, because, you know… No Knees. Anyhow, CJ was ON FIRE! early, starting off with 11 points in 5 minutes and finishing with 21 points in the 25 minutes. He was hitting pretty much everything. Note to CJ though… just because you feel that you’re on fire, doesn’t mean that you have to force a shot. Set up, and go through the motions. You probably won’t airball then. He also had 2 assists & 2 boards, along with 3 fouls. He still seems to struggle defensively, but on this team, it’s really not that unusual. His struggle for minutes, though, especially when hot… now that gets annoying.
Carlos Boozer: Early talk was about how it was shaping up to be his worst game in a very long while (playoffs, I’m guessing). Luckily, he finally woke up, and finished with 21 & 15, along with 4 assists. The 7-15 shooting could use some help though. And the 7-11 from the line isn’t very solid, but given the way his early FTs looked, it’s a shocker that he finished as well as he did from the line. Defense though… yeah, Amare had a field day (10-17 from the field, 10-14 from the line). I guess the only plus-side is that we knew this was coming… unlike one JaVale McGee a couple games back.
Jarron Collins: He lived up to his nickname early, flopping on one of the first possessions down. After that, he completed his goal, picking up 2 fouls. He almost had a 12 trillion (kudos to Vromanite for the mention during the game), except it was worse, because he missed 2 shots and picked up 2 fouls. Oh, and Flop. You suck! Never attempt a jumper again. Please. Actually, it’d be preferable if you went and met with a golf cart again.
Andrei Kirilenko: Finally, he’s back. Yes, he’s overpaid. But what he brings to this team… it can’t be matched. I know I was on the trade AK bandwagon a couple years ago… I’m completely off that now. Anyhow, he came back with style last night… finishing with 19 points, 7 boards, 3 assists & 2 blocks. He was 5-10 from the field, and 8-8 from the line. And 1-1 from long range. That 4th quarter… when everyone seemed to get hot together… he buried a trey. And then a long jumper. And he had consecutive blocks of Fat Cactus that really pumped up the crowd. Oh, and he played 32 minutes… the 2nd most on the team (behind Booze).
Paul Millsap: He was constantly hammered again, but only got 4 FTs (making just 1). He went 5-12 from the field, and finished with 11 points, 9 boards and what appeared to be some sort of injury after a huge block on a Fat Cactus dunk attempt. Hopefully he’s okay. He was obviously in pain at the end of the game, only using 1 hand most of the time, but J-Slow obviously didn’t care and didn’t pull him out.
Kyle Korver: He was 3-7 from the field (1-2 from long range), and even missed a FT (4-5). But he did have 3 boards and 3 assists to go with his 11 points & 4 fouls, so eh… I guess it was alright. He really needs to learn how to stay on the ground on pumps though. He gets up too early, and it’s an easy foul call (because the NBA has some really stupid rules that David Stern probably loves more than he loves his family).
Brevin Knight: His 6 assists & 1 turnover were expected when he was acquired. His out-rebounding of Shaq by 1… not so much. And his 6-7 night from the field, most of them on jumpers? Are you kidding? I understand that the Clippers were unimpressed last year. But seriously, I don’t think you’d find 1 serious Jazz fan who would rather have Jason Hart than Knight. He had a sweet spot last night, just to the right of the FT line, drilling a couple of jumpers from there. And then late in the 4th (the time when everyone was feeling it), he had a couple of delayed fast breaks where he got down to the FT line and pulled up for the jumper because no one was on him. Drained both of them, and made himself a ton of Jazz fans in the process. If they weren’t fans already.
Matt Harpring: 12 wasted minutes. He did manage 4 points (1-3 from the field), and somehow picked up 2 steals. I’m thinking the Suns forgot that he was a player. There was also the frightening moment in which he tried to lead a fast break. That didn’t end well (obviously), as his bad pass was knocked out of bounds. Okay… the guy has heart. That’s obvious. But at some point the team (and he?) has to realize that that’s not enough (unless he’s playing Crazy Ron or the Nuggets), and that he shouldn’t be getting consistent minutes. Especially not over CJ & Korver & Brewer (& Almond?). And especially not when the other teams could crawl down the court faster than he can run down. I admire your heart, No Knees. But now it is time to hang up your shoes and call it quits. Please. A positive though… his entrance forced the team to play zone D because he can’t defend anyone/anything, and while No Knees left his guys open too often (Bell for a jumper, Barnes on a couple baseline drives), at least the team benefited. But that doesn’t mean you need him to play zone.
Kosta Koufos: 4 minutes, 1-3 shooting. He did have a block to go with his 2 points, but also picked up 2 quick fouls against the Fat Cactus/Amare duo. On the plus side, at least he didn’t come in with the goal of fouling them. On the negative side, his impressive play on the road trip obviously wasn’t enough to get him another start over Flop & his Hack-A-Shaq attitude.
On the positive side of things, the Jazz only had 10 turnovers, and they picked up 7 steals. On the negative side, Flop & No Knees played too much, and Flop was only good for missed jumpers (ugh) and fouls… though that was expected. CJ looked good, and still didn’t get much time because the coach obviously had a brain fart. The same brain fart he’s had for the past 3 years. Knight for Hart… that trade is looking like a major steal. Almost like Giricek for Korver, but the Jazz didn’t have to give up a 1st rounder. Oh, also a negative… where was all this energy on the road? It’s totally frustrating to see the team play so bad on the road and so well at home… injuries be damned.
Up next is a home date tomorrow night against the 5-6 Bucks. Hopefully the Jazz will finally be at full strength. If not… eh. Not much you can do about it. On the plus side, the Bucks aren’t the strongest team out there (so don’t rush again, Deron), and they’ll be playing the 2nd half of a back-to-back after playing in Denver tonight. Michael Redd & Charlie Villanueva have both missed a couple of games in a row (7 & 2, respectively), not sure of their status for tomorrow just yet.