Game 49 vs. CHA: [Relieved Smile]
Don’t you just love layups and dunks? By going inside, the Jazz took off tonight on an 11-0 run while the Bobcats went 0-7 from the field. Unfortunately, that would not last because Earl Watson got called for two fouls in the first three minutes and had to sit, and the Jazz reverted to their natural selves and started shooting jumpers.
CJ scored the last 5 points of the quarter to give the Jazz a little breathing room in the form of a 6-point lead, but then Millsap dislocated his thumb, Raja had to ice his head, Earl got called for his third foul just one minute into the second quarter (and consequently played only 4:47 in the first half), the entire team grew ‘Tag hands, and, well, Ronnie P didn’t exactly have the best game of his life. The Bobcats tied the game at 41-all with one minute remaining in the half, and we went into the second half with the Jazz up 43-41.
To kick off the 3rd, AK was everywhere and doing everything, and the Jazz started off the quarter on an 11-0 run again. Earl got called for his fourth foul six minutes in (again), the Jazz began chucking from distance (again), and the Bobcats pulled within one with one minute left in the 3rd and tied the game with 30 seconds left (again). At least the Jazz were now taking care of the ball; they collected 14 TOs* in the first half, but only 5 the rest of the way.
*AK had 7 of the Jazz’s 19 TOs, but–homer glasses OFF–at least 2 or 3 of those weren’t his fault. According to Raja, the Jazz’s TOs tonight were “good turnovers,” in that they were the result of unselfishness and the guys trying to make extra passes and get teammates better shots.
Following an AK trey to start the fourth, CJ scored 9 of the Jazz’s next 11 points to give them a 10-point lead. Stephen Jackson, meanwhile, poured in 10 of his own to get the Bobcats within 1 with 1:58 left. What followed was a huge steal by AK, two huge offensive rebounds by Millsap, two huge FTs by Millsap, two more huge FTs by Raja, and Paul Silas’ decision not to foul/Paul Silas not yelling at the Bobcats to foul when they didn’t foul with 17 seconds left and the Jazz up 5. Game.
This was one of only a few games this season that the Jazz led, tip to finish. Per @sluhm, the Jazz didn’t score a bucket in the final 3:30. Fortunately, the Bobcats were even more futile, going FG-less in the final 4:26.
Earl was great tonight despite never being able to get into a flow due to foul trouble. As always, isolated +/- is sketchy but Earl was +26 (in just 19 minutes) and Ronnie P was -21, and the Jazz won by 5. CJ was exactly what we need him to be–a scoring punch; Raja had his second strong game in a row, which makes me happy for him; Franny Elson in limited minutes, I thought, was active and played well. Al, Millsap, and AK all had double doubles, and combined for 48 points and 34 rebounds. Perhaps most important of all, we were able to contain Nazr Mohammed.
Wins are so sweet. 新年快樂! :)
Random Stuff, etc.:
** The Jazz and Bobcats got called for the SAME number of fouls (22), but the Bobcats took twice as many FTs (27-14). In related news, Earl Watson needed a rape whistle to protect himself against Steve Javie tonight. *smh*
** Phil Johnson calls Raja “Raj.” Phil also made the call to go small ball (Raja in for Al) at the end of the game to give the Jazz a better chance of guarding Stephen Jackson.
** Phil on Earl, post-game: [In] Training camp, he was really struggling because he was so intent upon learning what we do [and] didn’t want to make mistakes. … He’s such a student of the game…so he was very cautious to begin with, but now, our other guys have a great deal of confidence in him and he runs the team. He gets us in our plays and does a good job and he’s a good defender and makes plays.
** Phil also said that AK played “terrifically hard” in the last three games, which have also been Deron-less games. IMO, AK’s not necessarily playing “harder,” but more effectively and efficiently. And the reason for that is because he’s at his best in transition when the Jazz are running, and Earl has the Jazz running. Andrei doesn’t get the same opportunities to do what Andrei do best (yes, that was a Mailman reference) when Deron is walking/rolling the ball up the floor and the Jazz are in standaround offense mode.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night
** This Brian T. Smith tweet:
** Matty: Tomorrow the pain starts. You wake up and that thing is pounding.
** Matty: I thought I’d get a rise/ride out of you, Boler. [couldn't tell which he said, but either way]
** Boler: There was no contact on the head of Augustin.
** Boler: Jackson has a way of rising up in a hurry.
** Nissalke on Al: There were a couple of stiffs, and he took advantage of those stiffs.