Game 80 Jazz vs. Timberwolves: Al Jefe!
Recycling this from two years ago, because it’s fitting:
Maybe the Jazz don’t have “that guy.” Maybe Al Jefferson will never be “that guy.” But for one night, the Jazz had that guy, and it was Big Al. He wanted this win, and he carried the team to get it.
** Tyrone Corbin, asked why the Minnesota Timberwolves are always a tough match-up for the Jazz: Whatever it is, they match up well with us. The guys think that, they just compete hard, and match up with our guys. So we have to make sure we understand how we have to play, how we have to execute on both ends to be effective.
** Corbin on whether it’s significant that this team will shoot the fewest free throws in Utah Jazz history: I think it was in the last game. You know, the last two games actually. Golden State game, and we had, you know, five free throws at the halftime and I don’t think we had 15 or 16 for the game…So it’s a, you know, it’s a concern, you know, especially with us being an inside team. We try and win the battle in the paint so we attack inside, so we need to get to the free throw line more. So we gotta make sure that we’re attacking the basket before we’re looking for jump shots.
** Kevin O’Connor on whether the Jazz’s recent free throw discrepancy is frustrating: You know, I think, one of the things, if you’re gonna shoot a lot of threes, which, you know, we’ve done more of, you’re probably not gonna get to the free throw line as much. That’s the first thing, because not too many people foul 3-point shooters on your attempted shots. The second thing is, I, if you probably go back and look. I don’t think Golden State’s a team that fouls very much, on an overall, yearly, you know, 75-game composite. So, it didn’t bother me as much because I thought we got good shots. I thought we had good ball movement, and I thought we did attack. We made shots in the paint, but we weren’t fouled. So no, not as much.
Post-Game Quotage on Big Al
** Paul Millsap: Al’s been one of my best friends over the years. He’s grown over the years. I’ve grown over the years. You know, to watch that growth, to watch him become a better player than what he did when he came in, you know, it’s amazing. It’s amazing, you know, and I wouldn’t trade it for nothing in the world.
* My face done near broke from smiling upon hearing this. Awwwwwwww!!!
** Millsap on Al tonight: He showed up tonight. He carried us on our, on his back tonight, and we needed that. Nobody else really could hit shots tonight, you know, and he was the one to put us over the hump.
** Randy Foye: We just tried to force feed him. You know, he just had it going, so we just tried to get him the ball.
** Foye, quoting Al: He just said to me, you know, it was like everything was moving in slow motion for him. He’s like, “When I took a shot…I knew it was going in.”
** Gordon Hayward: He was going, and you gotta feed someone when they’re that hot. And so that’s what I think we tried to do.
** Mo Willliams: He had it going tonight. You know, every facet of the game. I thought he carried us. We went to him, we went to him, we went to him. He made plays.
** Derrick Favors: Al, Al’s being Al. You know, we always depend on him to score and he played big tonight. He made it easy for everybody else…[Before the game,] he just said, “Let’s go out here and get this win.” And you know, when he said that, everybody was ready to come out and play.
** Al Jefferson: I figured if I kept, you know, if I kept just doing my job on the block, they would start double-teaming me, and then that would get my teammates open shots. I mean, I think towards the third quarter, that’s when they really started coming off to try to trap me. And that’s when Randy and them guys really hit some big-time shots.
** More from Al: I been in that type of zone many time before, but tonight it was all about the Playoffs, you know, to me.
** Tyrone Corbin: He was going good. Actually, we started the game off going inside. You know, we wanted to make sure we gave ourselves a chance at the basket, and he thought he had an advantage there. So we wanted to make sure we made a concerted effort to get it into him. They tried some different things. They tried to double; he was pretty patient and ended up having six assists because they were coming off the double. He made some good enough passes to be able to get one-on-one opportunities…He’s doing a great job of late of actually mixing his attempts at the basket, and sometimes he can go against two guys, but when he’s one-on-one on that block against most guys, we get some good stuff.
** Big Al on Greg Stiemsma: Me and him worked out together pretty much a lot [one] summer. That’s why I was telling him–he went up for a couple of ball fakes–I was like, “Man, you should know better. [You] of all people.” [He felt you double dribbled on that last shot...] Nah. Nah. Of course he would say that though. I’m gonna teach him that trick this summer.
** Al on J.J. Barea and Derrick Favors’ scuffle: One thing about J.J., you know, he’s a little guy, but he’s not gonna be letting nobody run over him. But far as Derrick Favors, I never seen an elephant swat at a horse-fly.
* SHADES OF KARL MALONE AND JERRY SLOAN!
** Millsap on the fans: Without them, we’re nothing. They always support us, you know, through the up and down. So you know, it’s been an amazing ride…I hope this isn’t the last home game of the year. You know, hopefully we’ll be back for the Playoffs. But if it is, you know, I appreciate everything that they’ve done over the years.
** Foye on the fans: Man, the fans is everything. You know, I played in, like, three other places, and it doesn’t get no better than here, man. I love it here. You know, hopefully I’m able to come back next year. You know, I want to be here, but ain’t no other fans like this, man.
** Favors on playing the entire fourth quarter: That’s something that I’m ready to do. You know, it’s up to coach, but it’s something I look forward to. Something I’ve been waiting for, working for, looking forward to.
** Andrei Kirilenko: I’m happy that, you know, we fight to the end, and kinda put the game in the line. But give credit to Al Jefferson. He did a great job, and it’s amazing game. I think he lead the Jazz all the way tonight.
** AK on his second time back to the ESA: It’s a little bit easier. You know, first time always a little overwhelming, stepping on the court first time. But tonight was kind of more like a regular game.
** J.J. Barea on Favors’ “flagrant” foul: It wasn’t that bad. I had worse.
** Barea on getting booed by Jazz fans: They’re great. They’re great fans here in Utah. They’re always great. They get into the game, and that’s a part of the game. It’s all about having fun.
Random Stuff, etc.
** People calling J.J. Barea “Barrera”: Tyrone Corbin
** Last home game of the (regular?) season. No mic drop this year :( …though Randy Foye’s clap was pretty good. Via @da_breezman:
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night (UDQM)
** Boler: Favors tries to finger-roll one in.
** Boler: The tip, oh yes, OH YES!
** Booner on Barea: He puts his body into guys.
** Booner: Miscommunication between Ridnour and Andrei Kirilenko. Andrei wanted to fake and go backdoor.
** Steve Brown to Foye: Congratulations. Keep stroking. (H/T @dianaallen)
** Thurl: Al Jefferson? Man, you gotta ride him all the way home.
** Brown to Mo on the Timberwolves: This one did not come easily, and I don’t think anyone expected that they would lay down for you.
** Mo on the Timberwolves: They pulled us out. Pulled us out a little bit. They they started getting backdoor stuff. It was kinda clicking on all cylinders.
** Corbin on Al: I left him in there. I had to leave him in there the whole second half, basically, until at the end there, when we had to get him in and out for the size differential there.
** Corbin on how big Randy Foye was: Huge. Huge.
** Corbin on Foye’s 3-point shooting: Those plays release the pressure on Al, and now the guys less likely to leave, and give him a one-on-one opportunity on the post.