Game 1 @DEN: Under Construction
What? That’s not enough, you say? Fine, I have more:
What we got instead: A bunch of guys that looked like and essentially were playing together for the first time. Growing pains. A stinging dose of reality.
The Jazz came out with nothing. In the first six minutes, they went 1-9 with 4 TOs. It didn’t help that I felt like I was listening to some sort of SAP channel, except rather than English commentating, it was all in the most grating Whistle dialect you could imagine. Chuck- and hack-happiness prevailed as every play they’d ever learned from the Jazz playbook fled the Jazzmen’s minds. Clang, clang, clang.
12 game minutes into the season, Jerry exceeded his previously-stated/intended 8-man rotation. Lineup to start the floor in the 2nd: Deron, Ronnie P, Hayward, Evans, and Fes. There were signs of life in the 3rd, but that quickly flickered out thanks to a bunch of Denver 3s.
We played well and together enough in the pre-season that the way this unfolded was a surprise, but in the grand scheme of things, not entirely unexpected. Let’s try to keep in mind that these guys are new to each other, and it’ll take time for them to get used to playing with one another and losing old bad habits (I was surprised to hear Big Al saying–and by “saying” I mean “admitting and using the same term concerned fans including myself have used to describe him”–in the post-game that he was a “black hole” in Minnesota and that he’s going to have to learn to play team ball).
More cause for optimism:
Quite honestly, my anticipation for the season was not about the new guys, but from the knowledge that Boozer is gone and I can love the entire team again. That said, since I had anticipation, this game was a huge eyesore of a letdown. It was awful and unwatchable. It was the antithesis of what you’d expect from a Jerry Sloan team and a wretched display of bad jump shots with 18 seconds left on the shot clock (I wish the coaches would fine players for taking those shots. I mean, when you get down to it, those shots can be construed as conduct detrimental to the team). It was brutal, and hopefully we get a better showing tomorrow.
–Elson and Watson were teammates in Denver under George Karl in ’05-’06. Melo, Nene, Kenyon Martin, Bryon Russell, and Howard Eisley were also on that team.
–Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans aren’t the only rookies being forced to carry pink princess backpacks around. Broadcasting rookie Matty Harpring also is. I’m guessing this wasn’t the proudest moment in the history of the Har-Football-pring family.
Tonight’s Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine:
–Craig Bolerjack: I’ve got a ruler in my pocket [in response to Matty talking about Evans' vertical].
Last season, I closed every game recap with a graphic showing our win-loss record based on our four uniforms: home, road, road alternate, and throwback. Since we will only be playing in our home and road uniforms this year, there’s no point in doing that. Instead, I’m going to be doing win-loss based on the color of Jerry’s tie. (It’s not too late to change. If you have a better idea, I’d love to hear it.) It’s going to be a while before it starts looking decent, so bear with me.