Off-Day Odds and Ends
I know that this last 10-game span, in which the Jazz went 8-2, is reason to–as long as you banish the memories of the losses to OKC and MIN from reality as you know it–feel optimistic and cause to believe that the Jazz have turned a corner and that all the Jazzmen are on the same page and have a (re)new(ed) focus on defense, teamwork, and winning etc.
However, while I’m definitely enjoying the wins, I can’t help but feel like the Jazz could crumble at any moment. That sense of invincibility I had last season–when the Jazz went on the 12-game win streak and beat LAL and BOS and I believed we could and would keep beating anybody in the league–is definitely absent. The next five games (@LAL, vs. ORL, vs. LAL, vs. MIN, @NJN) will be a great test, because games against the worst teams in the league are definitely as much of a test as games against the top teams. On to not-my-feelings stuff:
1. Um, does this mean I’m going to have to turn my back on everything I stand for and tune in to a Lakers broadcast (assuming I can find it)???? And can we get Hot Rod to fill in for anyone on our radio/TV staff as well?
The Lakers announced Tuesday that Hot Rod Hundley will fill in for six games beginning Friday while regular TV commentator Stu Lantz is away while his wife recovers from surgery. Lakers spokesman John Black said Hundley was at “the top our of list” of potential candidates to fill in for Lantz. (sltrib)
Siler’s tweet, “There were a lot of questions at the time about whether Hundley retired or wasn’t brought back. This will only add to them” left a bad taste in my mouth. It brings to mind the Mark Jackson/Stockton debacle. On a separate but related note, sltrib also reported that the Jazz will be honoring Hot Rod in a special ceremony sometime this season. But why did sltrib refer to HR as “Chris ‘Hot Rod’ Hundley”? [according to wikipedia, HR's real name is Rodney Clark Hundley).]
2. Thanks to San Antone-paper-reading C for this:
Year by year: Popovich has been a fan of Jazz coach Jerry Sloan’s since Sloan was a hard-nosed player for the Chicago Bulls in the late 1960s and into the ’70s. He was thrilled to see that Sloan, as is his annual practice, last week signed another one-year contract extension to remain on the Utah bench through the 2010-11 season.
“I hope he coaches there forever. He’s great for the league, a fantastic coach. His teams are tough and good every single year. If he wasn’t in the league, it would lose part of its personality.
“I just love his consistency. It doesn’t matter if it’s Joe Blow or Karl Malone on the floor. They all react and execute the exact same way. That’s a credit to him.”
Well, Coach Pop might be a little behind in his scouting report reading, but still, the words are appreciated.
3. Harp will be on the mike for the next two games:
Harpring arrived from his Atlanta home to spend the week in Utah, and said he plans to join David Locke for Wednesday’s KFNZ 1320-AM radio call of the Jazz-Orlando Magic game and Bolerjack and Boone again for Saturday’s home game against the Los Angeles Lakers. (desnews)
4. Never let it be said that Jerry doesn’t have his players’ backs. Check out how he omitted “Memo” after “Help”:
Talking about how Matthews fought to slow Indiana’s Danny Granger in Friday’s victory, Sloan said of the art of playing defense, “Life’s tough when you have to holler ‘Help’ every day.”
–Sorta Jazz, Sorta ABA/NBA–
With the Raptors sporting Toronto Huskies (a franchise the Raps have no connection to and one that folded in 1947 after only one year in existence) uniforms, is it possible for the Jazz to get some Utah Stars throwbacks? The Jazz actually have some ties to the Stars–Booner played five seasons for the Stars, including on the ’71 championship team, and Nissalke coached for 1+ season. Anyway, my original point, which has gotten lost over the course of this paragraph, is that the Stars uniforms absolutely kill:
By the way, is it just me, or were ABA nicknames so much dandier than NBA nicknames? You had the Buccaneers, the Colonels, the Floridians, the Spirits of St. Louis, the Amigos, the Conquistadors, and of course, the Stars among others.
–Around the League–
1. This is the biggest feel-good moment in…well, I don’t even know in how long.
I still got chills watching the intro video for the seventh time.
Despite all the dumb crap AI has pulled over the years, it’s just in me to root for him (and it has nothing to do with my own background–for whatever reason, I feel no connection to my alma mater at all). His career could have had a pathetically sad ending, so the 76ers get major props from me for bringing him home. Although, having seen the incredible emptiness of their arena a few weeks ago when the Jazz played there, clearly a major part of the decision to bring back AI was financial.
2. You just have to feel bad for Oden:
3. Man, those are some chicken legs in LA: