Random Thoughts Going into the Playoffs
–It’s funny how fans blame Boozer for the recent slide, while certain media members want to make it about AK (even more from Siler: “We pressed Jerry Sloan for close to five minutes about Kirilenko last week and he found no fault whatsoever with his habits”). Meanwhile, no one is talking about how Memo has become increasingly inconsistent and how Ronnie B has disappeared down the stretch (he basically did nothing in 88 minutes on the court over the last 3 games of the season).
–Just thought I’d put this out there:
–There’s a big difference between DWill playing frustrated (loss) and DWill playing mad (win). Lately, all we’ve seen is the former. And his ankle is still hurting.
–If Memo can’t play in Game 1 (and it seems unlikely that he will), Jerry is starting Collins. I don’t have a problem with Collins starting as long as he doesn’t get any funny ideas about taking over the offense (which I don’t think he will). First of all, he plays defense. We need defense, period, and we only get average defense from our normal starting frontline on its best day. Second, he’s taller than Boozer or Sap (the other two candidates to start at the 5), plain and simple. It’s been well documented that Odom and Gasol vs. Carlos turns the game into a 5-on-4 –i.e. Carlos disappears– or 9-on-4 if you count David Stern and his officiating crony pals.
That said though, I still hope that Fess and/or KK2–if they make it on the active list–can get some minutes. I’m not asking for major playing time for them, but just a few minutes here or there and especially when Boozer/Memo/whoever are not getting it done against the Lakers’ giant frontline. Also, nothing against CJ, but I kind of hope that he stays injured, as he doesn’t really bring anything to the floor except occasional 3-pointers, and I suspect that whoever’s guarding him will largely ignore him. (BTW–Matty has been taken out by yet another health problem: a nasal infection. If he could fight injury/ailments/bad luck the way he fights on the court, he would be Superman.)
–What are our toughness options?
Then, give [Kobe] and his team the goods. Give them Matt Harpring. Give them Jarron Collins. Give them Paul Millsap. Give them … um, Harpring and Collins and Millsap. And more … Harpring and Collins and Millsap. Are there any other nasty players on the Jazz anymore? Give them the spirit of a Karl Malone elbow. The Jazz can recapture that. It’s an ugly way to play, but not as ugly as having the Lakers put 125 points on them nightly.
If the Jazz are seen as sturdy and dirty, they should live up to the tag. [sltrib]
How sad is it when the toughest guy on your team, like Charles Barkley said, is the 67-year old coach? If we could send our players 40 years back in time, Jerry would have Killed. Them. All. The only ones I’d give a fighting chance to would be Harp and maybe DWill. All the other guys? Mincemeat.
–What’s worse, a 3:00 a.m. tipoff that I can watch in the comfort of my own home, or a 10:30 a.m. tipoff when I have to rush to work at halftime and subsequently can only focus 70% on the second half (while the other 30% is focused on trying to make it appear as though I’m working)?
–So I’m not exactly optimistic about this series, and hearing the players talk at practice on Thursday (as well as mentions that it took StocktonandMalone 12 years to reach the Finals) didn’t exactly change that:
Boozer: [How do you combat their length?] We just go right at them, go at them, you make a move, make a move laterally, you run them a little bit…” (um…what’s Boozer known for? That’s right. His inability to move laterally.) [The Jazz win this series because of...?] Our defense. (Yeah…we’re screwed.)
DWill: [What can you learn from the struggles?] Nothing. Put them behind us…let them go. [The Jazz win this series because...?] We come out with defensive intensity. (Yeah…)
Ronnie B: [How realistic is it that you can just flip the switch and make [the struggles] go away though?] (Pause) Um… (Pause) Uh…I…I don’t know how…it was not realistic. [The key to the Jazz winning this series is...?] Defense. (So screwed.)
More Ronnie B: Coach Sloan has been preaching to us, hey, we gotta step up on the defensive end, gotta have guys showing, helping the guards and guards, you gotta help the big players, and when we buy into that, we’re going to be a much better defensive team. (OK so Ronnie, explain to me why the team has not bought into it yet????)
–To sum up: in the words of Tag, who called in to DJ and PK on Thursday: [Funny, I don't remember him having such a drawl...maybe because he played back before there was so much online coverage]:
I think they have the talent to beat the Lakers, yes. Do they have the heart to beat the Lakers? I don’t know about that.
KK says that he has felt the intensity level go up in the past few days. We shall see if it’s true, and if it’s enough.
–There are plenty of bloggers smarter than me, more acquainted with X’s and O’s than me, and more knowledgable about matchups than me (since the only thing I know about the Lakers is that I hate them and their fans and Sasha is a little princess bitch) that have put up series previews:
P.S. Wow…three upsets in 4 games today.
I’ve watched probably less than 5 non-Jazz NBA games in 16 years because I’m bored with games that I don’t care who wins (i.e. that I have no emotional investment in). But I watched about 20 minutes of the POR-HOU game earlier out of slight curiosity over how no Playoff experience (POR) would match up against years-of-1st-round experience (HOU; credit: Utah Jazz) and if/how Roy could step it up.
And I realized just how much of a Jazz fan/Sloanee I am, because all I kept thinking was, “Dammit Roy and Yao, tuck in your damn jerseys.” Also, Oden is now sporting DWill’s former “chin strap,” Portland has one of the greatest and loudest home crowds I’ve ever seen (heard) outside of the SLC, and Yao really does get the shaft from the officials.