Games 21 & 22 – I am not a happy camper
In the aftermath of Game 22 at PHX, had to go watch an old game that the Jazz won to get the bad taste out of my mouth and escape the black cloud hanging over my head. It only half did the job, because nothing can get rid of that taste/cloud except for the next win. How wonderful, therefore, that the next game is not for three days. Really should just tell everyone to stay away from me because my mood is as foul as Carlos going over the back…
So, first Game 21:
The Master and the Student
The Jazz kicked the Raptors’ asses back to Canada on national television (it was even on TV here). Pretty much every Jazzman played great, including Harp* (though of course that did not stop most Jazz fans from bitching about him) and KK2 (5-5 for 10 points in 6 minutes, including a beautiful monster putback). I like how KK2’s not afraid to get in front of huge guys (Amare, Shaq) barreling down the lane and going for the block or simply playing D. The thought of Booz doing that is laughable because it would never happen in…well, I would be a Kobe and Lakers fan before that would ever happen.
*Jerry said after the game, and I agree with him, that some of the younger guys have a lot to learn from Harp when it comes to playing physical and how to use their bodies. Most of the younger guys and Booz rarely if ever body up on D and generally keep several feet away from their man. This situation, of course, ends with open shots, and 1s, or stupid fouls. Big surprise that the Jazz are so awful defensively.
As for Harp, I feel for him. He obviously wants to play and his heart and hustle have not diminished, but it seems that he’s at a point where his body won’t cooperate with him and he can’t keep up, especially in fast-paced games like the one against the Suns. I still think he is useful in certain matchups in certain games though, and can see him in a player/coach role for the younger guys.
AK was back…which I believe had something to do with the blowout nature of the game. The Jazz offense just flows so much silkier smoother when he’s playing. DWill is the heart and soul of the team, no question, but AK is like how the world is so much brighter when the sun’s out. Memo played great as well, which I was 100% happy about even though I benched him on my fantasy team.
As for Sap, and this goes for both games, I don’t think there’s any longer any question that he is an adequate replacement for Booz should Booz be gone next season for whatever reason. No, he will never be as talented offensively as Booz, but he definitely can replace Booz’ production and I love seeing him use his strength boarding and throwing the ball down instead of doing cutesy little finesse layups that too often roll off the rim. It’s not that much of a stretch to say that the Jazz could not afford NOT to have Sap on the floor in every one of the last 8 games (since Booz got injured) if they wanted to win. And since our coach is named Jerry Sloan and not Don Nelson, I assume that was the goal.
Sap has racked up double doubles in all 8 of the games and is averaging 18 ppg on 56% shooting, 12 rpg, 3 apg, 1.6 spg, and 1 bpg. While he gets more phantom fouls called on him and more no calls on the other end than anyone else in the L, he has gotten to the line as often as Booz in the last 8 games, and is shooting a higher FT%–which he has obviously worked to improve in a way reminiscent of another Jazz PF from LA Tech–while turning the ball over less. And oh yeah, he gets paid about 11 million less (though that will change VERY soon, and that scares me).
So. I’m just sayin’.
All right, Game 22:
CJ was on fire against the Suns again, but the flame went out when it counted at the end of the game. The Jazz jacked up too many shots, including 21 3’s, and no one went after boards except Memo and Sap (25 of the Jazz’ 37 boards). Not exactly a recipe for success there.
Knight is leagues ahead of Price in backing up DWill. In keeping with Jazz trends this season thus far, Brev caught an elbow to the throat and had to be sent to the hospital at halftime after tasting blood. In case anyone’s keeping track, this is his third injury of the season. More on this in a subsequent post.
This game was also on TV. I’ve had enough of Chinese commentators, so I put the TV on mute and tuned in to Hot Rod on the computer at the start of the game…but not before the Chinese commentators said that Sap’s brother plays in the “CBA”–which folded only 7 years ago due to Isiah’s excellent management skills and decision-making abilities. Seriously, how do these clowns keep their jobs? There’s no way that fans here are as ignorant as they are (well, unless they’re all bandwagon Lakers “fans,” which, sad to say, could be the case).
Incidentally, I thought the NBA had a minimum age limit. Explain to me, then, why the Jazz played against awkward, adolescent Eastern European boys two nights in a row. I give you:
Exhibit A: the Raptors’ Roko Ukic
Both look like the token pimply nerds with inhalers you find in TV/movies.