Game 40 vs. MIL: Back in the Saddle?
The game started out somewhat unusually, with Scott Skiles making his first substitutions about one minute in and playing 10 players in the first three minutes. I don’t know much about Skiles except he wouldn’t let Ben Wallace wear a headband and seems to be somewhat of a hardass, but according to Pace he was trying to send a message to his players that he won’t take coasting. Good message, I guess, but a little quick with the hook in my value-free opinion.
The Jazz ran up a double-digit lead just minutes in, and held on to that 10-15 point lead through the half by sharing the ball (15 assists on 23 FGs) and shooting the ball well (56%). They probably could have upped that lead to 20+ if they hadn’t also racked up 11 TOs (Deron and Boozer combined for 7 of the 11).
It took the Bucks all of four minutes to cut the 13-point halftime Jazz lead down to 5 as the Bucks came out on fire–connecting on their first 7 shots–while the Jazz came out taking an array of bad shots with no regard for the number on the shot clock. Thanks to the ignition of CJ, however, and Sap’s 2nd career 3-pointer at the buzzer, the Jazz managed to take a 16-point lead into the fourth.
Three minutes into the 4th, the Jazz had a 22-point advantage. Despite a poor stretch mid-quarter, the lead was big enough to get them to the horn with the win. The game ended with a standing O for Sundiata, who checked in for the final minute–everything was as it should be. :-)
The rational side of me is cautiously optimistic and trying to suppress the other side of me, which is jumping up and down. I’m thrilled that they avoided what seemed to be an inevitable letdown after the last game. I just…I just hope that…well, maybe some things, like talk of corners being turned and such, are better left unsaid for the time being, and also, for fear of the jinx.
Finally–Carlos Delfino and Mr. Bean: Separated at birth?