Game 40 vs. CLE: [3rd quarter aside] Oh, you gotta love it baby
Active hands! Jazz hands! Transition points! Easy buckets! 62% shooting! A first quarter win! Raja was dialing it up and turning back the clock with steals, layup-dunks, and behind the back dribbling to start the game. AK was dunking again for the second straight game. Ain’t no AK like a dunking AK. Deron was scoring the ball like there was no tomorrow, and Calvin Andre Jr. was conflagrating.
We got the Watson-Price-CJ-AK-Memo lineup to start the 2nd, and raced off on a 14-0 run. Possibly the play of the season–a behind-the-back pass from Earl to AK, who threw it behind-the-back to Ronnie P for a layup–was followed by a screaming monster (and by describing it as “screaming monster,” I really am selling it short) slam by CJ. The Jazz rode 68% shooting en route to their first 70-point half of the season.
“That was definitely one of the most fun plays I’ve seen all year,” said Miles of the second quarter passing display. “If A.K.’s in the mix, there’s always going to be something crazy going on. It was basketball.” (sltrib)
Let us just forget the third quarter, for many reasons. How about the 35% shooting? How about the Cavs getting off to an 18-8 run, and cutting a 20-point deficit down to 6? How about that the Jazz collected 22 assists in the first half (only one off their magic assist number of 23), and it took them more than 7 minutes to get their second assist in the third? Oh please, let the 1st, 2nd, and 4th quarter Jazz be the REAL Jazz, and not the other way around.
A lineup of Watson-Price-CJ-AK-Al started the 4th, and they quickly got the lead back into safe territory. Interestingly enough, Jerry elected to close with CJ rather than Millsap, meaning that Sap didn’t get into the game in the 4th quarter for the second straight game. Not saying that like it’s a bad thing; CJ was straight up on fi-yah, and AK was killing it at the 4.
** AK at the 4 = much higher likelihood of success. Good to know Jerry thinks that too (see below).
** Memo (1-7) wasn’t really able to get his shot going, but he still contributed big time in his 15 minutes: 7 boards, 5 assists, 1 block, 1 steal.
** You can’t argue with winning and having a healthy team…but it’s kind of gonna suck to not see Fes, Elson, and Evans on the court.
** It is a huge luxury to have a reliable backup point guard. That Earl is also a tough cookie just makes it even better.
** 10-19 (53%) from downtown; 32 assists; 8 blocks; 16 steals; 9 TOs. Wooeeee!
Random Stuff, etc.
** [Do you see Memo getting stronger and stronger just from practice yesterday?] Jerry: I think he looks better. He’s much more handsome. (video)
** Matty: “I don’t like my haircut. I want to be taken out of the poll.”
** Jerry, post-game: That’s always been our intention to try to get Andrei playing with Memo [in the second unit] because Andrei’s a pretty good passer, looks for guys, and if the matchups are such that we can do that…I think it helps us. (KFAN audio)
** CJ on the second unit: “We take it upon ourselves to come in there and pick up, and get deflections and run. Defensively, we try and be active to get up and down the floor and get the crowd into it and bring energy. We are basically an energy group, especially when A.K. plays the four…it’s just fun.” (sltrib)
** I just took a look at our upcoming schedule. 5-game road trip coming up, with the first four all on the East Coast (woohoo! East Coast tipoff times FTW!). The fifth game is at LAL. This is either further evidence of the NBA’s under-the-table machinations to create a super easy schedule for the Lakers, or–just as likely–the guy that makes the schedule has an extremely sorry grasp of American geography.