Game 59 at IND: All’s good in the hood
After two months of lottery team ball, the Jazz finally looked, at least for one night, like a cohesive unit again. If you’re like me, you breathed a sigh of relief that our fortunes appear to be turning, and the monkey is off the team’s back, or the elephant has left the room, or whatever. (And even if this were not the case, at least we’re not the Pistons, right? The inmates might have been running the prison in Utah, but they at least didn’t rise in outright mutiny.)
AK, I thought, was the life of the Jazz in the early going. He was not only facilitating the offense, but bringing the spark and the energy. Just as key, he was able to contain Danny Granger and keep him from going off on us.
Gordon Hayward got the Hometown Heartthrob welcome from the crowd when he checked in. Boler: Look at mom! She is fired up! [cut to shot of Gordon's parents]–
(The crowd’s adoration for Hayward was hilarious. They were caught between cheering and booing every time he did something good, and booed the refs when he got called for a travel.) Hayward’s dunk was the second dunk of the quarter that had Jazz fans cheering. Derrick Favors threw one down about ten seconds into the period, causing our futures to flash before our eyes.
The Jazz didn’t play a great 48 minutes, no. There were long stretches when, as is their wont, all they did was shoot jumpers and give up FTs. For having lost our star franchise player and working two brand new guys in, however, they looked good and held the Pacers to 27.7% shooting in the first half and 34.8% shooting for the game.
While Earl started the game, he ended up playing fewer minutes than Devin Harris. Earl previously said that he prefers coming off the bench, so between that and how comfortable Devin was running the show, I think we’ll see Devin starting tomorrow. I was impressed with him, particularly the way he pushed the ball and drove inside. He had this one sick move when he dribbled the ball behind his back before sticking a jumper that had me cheering.
As for Big Al, the offense is just sitting so comfortably on him. On the offensive end, he’s taking good shots and it’s just smooth sailing for him out there. Huge difference from the start of the season. Finally, can’t overlook Paul Millsap’s quiet, efficient 23 & 18.
Ronnie P was still out with toe distress tonight, but neither Jeremy nor Fes got into the game. Evans’ minutes have gone down for four straight games, while Fes’ have gone down for five straight. With the roster now at 14, playing time could be scarce for those two. When Ronnie P (and Memo) return(s), one (both) of them will have to be placed on the inactive list. Jeremy can at least get some time in the D-League, but Fes…
For full game highlights, head to The Utah Jazz Blog.
Random Stuff, etc.
** Gordon is now the Jazz’s only [own] 1st round draft pick from the entire 2000 decade. The only other guy on the Jazz’s roster that was a Jazz R1 draft pick is AK (1999).
** Our roster is now at 14 players. 8/14 are guys new to the Jazz this year.
** Derrick Favors is the youngest player in the NBA.
** Per Wikipedia, Devin Harris holds the Guinness World Record for “fastest man with a basketball,” running the length of the court in 3.9 seconds.
** In my post yesterday, I called for the Jazz to hire Karl Malone to work with our young bigs. My first thought when I saw the shirt Favors was wearing after the game was, “It would totally work. That is such a Karl-y shirt.” And then I saw the shirt Harris was wearing. It was basically the same shirt as Favors’.
** Big Al is familiar with Devin, having played with him for a USA team a few summers ago.
** Favors has said several times that the most difficult part of the season so far has been dealing with trade rumors, and that he’s glad he can finally settle in. Seeing as how he grew up in Atlanta and went to Georgia Tech, I’m guessing he’s not crazy about change. We’ve had good luck with guys like that, namely 1) Jerry Sloan (quit Illinois due to being so homesick and ended up at Evansville); 2) Karl Malone (went to college 30 miles from home); 3) John Stockton (went to college down the road from home). Hayward hasn’t been around long enough to add him to the list, but he said today that Butler was 20 minutes away from his hometown.
** Why do Roy Hibbert’s shorts ride up like that?
** Ty Corbin:
** Boler: Millsap just keeps coming up with new tricks.
** Matty: He’s a great finisher. Boler: With the left hand!
** Boler: If that doesn’t go down, McRoberts isn’t happy, I guarantee it.
** Matty on Hibbert: He’s having his way down there.
** Matty on Granger: That’s usually the money shot for him, ten feet out, with no one around.
** Boler on Devin: That guy can penetrate. Matty: He can penetrate, he can score, he’s quick as a cat.
** Matty when AK got hit on the head: Way to use your head, Kirilenko.