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
The Jazz got 8 players in double-digits. Three players finished with double-doubles. The Jazz shot 40% in the first half… and finished with a 53% mark for the game. (the Kings dropped from 55% to 48.8%). The Jazz missed 12 of their 34 free throws… the Kings only took 12 free throws. The Jazz were 6-11 from long range in the first half, and 10-17 overall. That’s twice as many long balls made as the Kings… in just 1 more attempt. And this blowout… not only was it without Booze, but ‘Sap had one hell of a bad first half. And key players (read Deron) got a ton of rest in the process. Not much else you could ask for.
Deron Williams: 4-8 shooting, 2-3 from long range. 13 points. 15 assists. And he has absolutely made this team just get up and run with his return. Alley-oops galore. Fast break points like none other (31 today for the Jazz). Not only his offense, but his presence on the defensive end… it’s been huge for the Jazz. And he was able to sit out the entire 4th quarter, giving hope that he’ll be able to go tomorrow as well. Oh, and the 9 assists in the defining 3rd quarter… that’s huge!
Ronnie Brewer: Another solid performance, with 18 points on 7-13 shooting. He also made 4 of his 5 FTs, and finished with 2 boards, 2 assists & 1 steal. And he played 30 minutes, which is always good to see.
CJ Miles: 18 points on 6-8 shooting (1-2 from long range) and a 5-5 night from the line. 3 rebounds, 2 steals. And the 3rd quarter of his life, where he picked up 16 points, throwing down alley oops, dropping the trey and draining his FTs. He’s been amazing offensively this year.
Paul Millsap: Everyone has an off night. Luckily, ‘Sap’s “off-night” came in the first half, where he went 1-6 and picked up 2 fouls. Luckily he had 7 rebounds. He ended up finishing 5-11 from the field for 11 points, and added 11 boards (4 offensive) and 2 assists, while only picking up 1 foul in the 2nd half.
Mehmet Okur: He’s been feeling it pretty much since he got back from Turkey (save the 1st game back). Tonight, he went 8-10 from the field (3-4 from downtown). He had his own double-double (20 & 12), but also had 1 assists & 3 steals. Yeah, when the starters combine for 80 points, that’s big.
Andrei Kirilenko: 12 points, 6 boards, 3 assists. He only took 5 shots, but the 5-6 from the FT line really helped.
Kyle Korver: 12 points, including 2 treys, but it came on a 4-10 shooting night. His shot has been way off this year. On the plus side (I think), he added 2 boards & 2 assists.
Ronnie Price: He was just 1-3 from downtown, but shot 5-9 from the field and also got 12 points. He also threw in 4 assists, 3 rebounds & 3 steals. This is the role that really suits him… spark-plug off of the bench. That’s what he was today.
Morris Almond: 12 minutes, 5 shots… 4 of which were missed. Not good. He finished with 2 points, 2 fouls & 1 board. That’s it on the stat sheet.
Kosta Koufos: In just 4 minutes (not enough, given the nature of the 2nd half), he took 3 shots, missing 2 of them. Along with his 2 points, he had 2 boards (both offensive) and a block. Why he’s not getting more time in blowouts is really confusing… it’s not like he played horribly on the road trip when he was starting.
Kyrylo Fesenko: In 4 minutes, he missed 1 shot & 2 FTs. But he did pull down a board (offensive) and did have an assist. He was the only Jazz player that played and didn’t score.
Yeah… that 3rd quarter. The play-by-play can be found here (after scrolling down a bit). Look at it quickly, and you’ll see that the Jazz had put 13 points up in the quarter before the Kings finally got on the board. The Jazz added 6 steals in the quarter, and got plenty of fastbreak points as a result. Game. Set. Match.
The Jazz did give up 20 points to John Salmons, but he didn’t get nearly enough help this time around. Beno Udrih hit double figures as well, as did Jason Thompson & Spencer Hawes off of the bench, but that was it. Brad Miller added 9 and 6 assists.
Up tomorrow is the 2nd part of the back-to-back… a home date with the Nets (coming off of a win against the Kings in Sacramento a couple days back). Hopefully Deron will be able to go… he only played 27 minutes today. The Jazz are now 11-6, still tied with the Blazers, who beat down the Hornets tonight. The Nets are 7-7.