Game 36 Jazz vs. Mavericks: And back to .500 once more
It was just a year ago (roughly) that the Dallas Mavericks were in town and Dirk Nowitzki went up to Derrick Favors and slapped the ball out of his hands. Our boy is all growed up now. *wipes away tear*
So. In a vacuum where this is just an isolated game, it shouldn’t have been a close game. The Mavs are tied for third to last in the West, and assuming the Jazz are not a Western Conference bottom-feeder and have just not performed up to expectations, the Jazz should have had no trouble putting the Mavs away.
Outside of the vacuum, this was probably the best game of the season so far. We got to see some truly exciting-yet-effective lineups and outstanding individual performances that added up to a truly outstanding team performance (as the game went on). The entire 4th quarter was, in fact, a Jazz highlight reel.
We’ve got so much talent. And there’s a part of me that is terrified that once Mo Williams is back (though he may be out for the rest of the season), we’re going straight back to those lineups where there is a direct relationship between veteran experience and trustworthiness regardless of how it plays out on the court.
–Gordon Hayward is a (future?) star. 27 points (8-14; 4-5 from downtown), 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. In the post-Stockton/Malone era, the Jazz have seen a line equivalent to this just three times. Twice from Andrei Kirilenko, and once from Mehmet Okur.
–Alec Burks is the swaggiest Jazz player ever.
–Big Al Jefferson was 5-14 for the game, but he played BIG down the stretch.
–Derrick Favors, 13 minutes. Saddled with foul trouble, but still.
** Marvin Williams: The biggest thing for me right now, I’m just trying to become, you know, healthy. Once I get healthy, I feel like I’ll be able to become more consistent. You know, I think I’ve been really, really up and down, especially these first, probably, 30 games, but you know, once I get my body healthy and stop fighting these nagging injuries, you know, I feel like I’ll be able to help more.
** Paul Millsap: [Do you ever wonder, “Why is this happening to me all the time? Why am I the guy with bandaids and stitches and all these random things happening to me?”] I’m not going to play the victim role. (laughs)
** Millsap on whether he’s looked at his ear: Too nervous to do it. I don’t wanna see it…Some people say I got a chunk out of my ear. Some people say it’s sliced up. You know, I’m too scared to look at it, really.
** Millsap on playing with the second unit: Well, it feels good, you know. The younger guys, you know, we gonna get out and run a little bit more. They got young legs, so you know, and that means I gotta get out there and run with them, so. But they’re pushing the tempo, you know, the defense steps up a little bit more, and while I’m out there, I’m able to be the primary scorer for ‘em, so I’m able to get them involved, able to do some things I’m not able to do in the first group.
** Al Jefferson on how the team is handling so many players that will be free agents at the end of the year: I think it’s been handled, being handled very well…I think everybody handling it well. You know, when we going through our little rough time, you know, we stay together…That’s when you know you got a good group of guys around you, you know. No selfishness, and, you know, guys worrying about other things. Everybody wanna, wanna win and want to get the team back where we need to be. So I think everybody handling it well.
** Enes Kanter on whether he’s still on his seafood and salad diet: I still am, yeah. I’m also trying to eat healthy, you know, no carb and just protein. (@da_breezman)
** Tyrone Corbin on whether he is more inclined to give Burks and Hayward more minutes given how well they played: We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes…It worked out for us tonight, and we’ll see where it go from here on.
** Hayward: Jeff [Hornacek] was joking with me, saying that I finally got the hair out of my eyes and I could see the rim.
** Hayward on whether anyone on the team gives him encouragement when he’s playing well: Jeff does a tremendous job of that. My teammates also encourage, you know, whether going well or not going well, they’re always there encouraging me.
** Burks on playing point: I played point before I hit a growth spurt, so you know, it’s natural to me.
** Burks, asked to talk about his big three-pointer: I just shoot it, you know? It’s one second left, you know, you gotta shoot it. And it went in.
** Burks on Hayward: Played great. You know, everybody know he’s good. You know, he keeps showing it every night.
** Burks on whether he has any preference for position: I just want to be on the court. (KALL)
Random Stuff, etc.
** People still calling Alec Burks “Alex”: Tyrone Corbin.
** Walking into the locker room at halftime, some woman in the tunnel screamed out, “Enes!”
** “Alex” putting on his hat. No reason for this. Just because.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night (UDQM)
** Harpring: You gotta jump on ‘em early, and finish them late.
** Boler: Boy, I’ll tell ya, a lot of bumpin.
** Boler: There’s a lot of old bones on this Dallas team.
** Harpring: I thought Hayward went a little bit early on that shot.
** Boler: OH! Hayward just took a face shot from Nowitzki!
** Steve Brown re Alec Burks: I’m going to try one more time guys, we are going to get more than 3 seconds with him. (H/T @dianaallen)