Game 44 vs. PHX: Utah Azz(kickers)
I admit it, I had no hope for this one given how it started. The Jazz came out energyless, defenseless, hapless, jumperless (which doesn’t mean that they didn’t shoot any jumpers, but rather they shot lots of bad ones and couldn’t make any of them)…you know, basically the Jazz that we came to know and hate during the first month of the season. We were, once again, playing the role of confidence boosters for slumping teams and shooters. Every few minutes, the Jazz elected a new Sun to the Jazz Killer Hall of Fame. J-Rich was followed by Dragic, who was followed by Frye (who apparently was in a shooting slump until he arrived in the SLC).
The “American Child Labor Laws Have Failed” showcase continued tonight with the second consecutive appearance of a 12-year old at the ESA, with tonight’s being Goran Dragic (if that’s his real name). Dragic spotlighted just how tragic the Jazz were in the first half by scoring a new career high before halftime.
The game was tied after one quarter, but Phoenix scored 45 points in the second on an unbelievable barrage of dagger threes, and I was disgusted, and had no hope.
I’m totally a go-down-with-the-ship type of fan, meaning I watch games to the end regardless of the score, but midway through the third, I was ready to cut bait and get off the pot. It wasn’t so much how big the lead was (the Suns got it up to 17) or how badly the Jazz were playing, but more like the angst that was resulting from the regression and backtracking that I was seeing in the Jazz. As I was throwing all my junk into my bag and getting ready to head off to work, i.e. while I wasn’t paying attention, the Jazz put together a 12-0 run to end the quarter–thanks largely to AK hustle–and cut the Suns lead to 5.
I sit back down in front of my computer, toss my bag to the side, and prepare for 12 more [game] minutes of agony.
Andrei Kirilenko, doing what Andrei Kirilenko do (yes, that was my Karl Malone impression) kept us in the game by getting to the line, being active around the rim, playing defense, and blocking shots. The Jazz tied the game at 100 and again at 106, and when they took the lead with 5:16 left on an AK free throw, they took the lead for good. The Jazz closed the game on an 18-9 / 45-19 run because “Undrafted Wesley Matthews” (“Undrafted” has apparently become his first name) just flat out took the game over. In the 4th, OMSW had 10 points (2 threes and 4/4 FTs), 2 boards, 2 assists, and 2 steals, and the Jazz held on (or held off the Suns) for a spectacular, beautiful, magnificent, literally breathtaking WIN. YES WE CAN!!!
[runs around the room, pumping my fists and screaming my head off]
P.S. This game featured many familiar faces: