Game 3 @OKC: All’s Good in the Hood
When AK hit a three (his first FGA) with 9+ min left in the first quarter, the score was 5-4 and it was the first lead the Jazz had had all season. It was a sign of things to come, as the Jazz won all four quarters, bringing the total for the season to 5 out of 12, which looks a heck of a lot better than 1 out of 8.
Deron collected 6 assists in the first quarter, which was as many as he had total in both of the first two games. Meanwhile, AK did a great job defending (containing?) Kevin Durant, forcing him into a 3-11 half. OKC’s broadcast team even said that this was as good as they’ve seen AK in five or six years. We all know that you’re not going to stop KD and he’s going to get his–and in fact he did finish with 28–but it’s all about how he gets his, and he didn’t have an easy time of it tonight.
At the half: AK +16; KD -18
At the final horn: AK +22; KD -22
No coincidence, although AK (post-game) would have me believe that it wasn’t him, but team defense. :)
The Jazz’s 10-point lead at the half got ran up to 20+ two minutes into the second half. The lead got as big as 28, which OKC cut in half on several occasions. Fortunately, thanks to some great team ball, the Jazz were able to hold them off. Millsap and Smart CJ were on fire, combining for 51 points on 20-32 shooting. Sap, who was shooting the ball into the ocean and had a ridiculous falling-down-fadeaway jumper at the end of the game, also had 16 boards and 6 assists. Big Al, who was as unblackholey as we’ve seen all season, also tallied a double-double with 23 and 10. Deron had the team’s third double-double with 16 and 15. As a team, the Jazz shot 53%/64%/83% from the floor, downtown, and the stripe.
Locke tweeted this a couple of hours before the game:
I’m not going to pronounce the season saved; this was just one night, one game. It is a good start, improvement, what have you. Not crazy about how many open layups the Thunder got and I was nervous in the 3rd, but right now it’s time to soak in all the happy feelings.
Final thought: The fan base is enthused right now, and many people are saying, “If we play like this, we can beat any team in the league.” We saw Jerry’s 8-man rotation tonight. (Evans was the first sub in and got some early minutes, but he suffered a sprained wrist or hand and didn’t come back.) I’m just wondering whether fans are going to be happy with an 8-deep rotation and never seeing the rookies or Fes. I think win or lose, there are some that will complain about this regardless.
Tonight’s Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines:
** OKC announcer: Utah getting up into their men.
** Boler, to Sap: You were stroking it good tonight. (Thanks to Prodigal Punk.)