Game 27 – Gerald Takes Charge
Midway through the first half, my post read:
Massacre. Slaughter. FAIL. A tragedy* of epic proportions.
*or travesty, if you prefer.
The Jazz came out flatter than flat. As is now their MO, they jacked up shots, didn’t get into their offense, and turned the ball over. DWill was missing layups like he was Harp and near the end of the quarter NJ was up 27-5.
The Jazz open the second quarter with a 1-7 effort, including 1 missed layup and at least three long jumpers, and I started having doubts about the Jazzmen’s mental capacity. Then, Gerald Eugene Sloan took charge. Responding to my calls (I swear I did call for this before he did it), Jerry benched Ronnie B, CJ, AND DWILL–and played the Kazz–KK, KK2, AK, BK, and Okur/Sap–and slowly but surely, things started turning around.
During halftime, I’m in full pessimist mode thinking about DWill, and how I’d rather he just sit til he’s healthy because maybe he can’t get back to 100% playing and will be at 80% (a TO-prone, un-shot and layup making shadow of himself) for the rest of the season. I can’t bear to watch that DWill–and being smoked by lesser guards is only going to damage his confidence further. Even if we lose games, fine, I can live with that (I think) as long as he gets healthy. Perhaps along the way we’ll pick up lottery picks in ’09 AND ’10. (That is not Plan A of course. Plan A is building a time machine and
preventing Rose’s parents from getting it on altering the course of five seconds of history on 10/18/08.)
DWill got back in the game to start the third, but Ronnie B and CJ stayed on the bench and were replaced by AK and KK. Playing team ball, the Jazz cut the lead to 4-5 points. Then Sap gets called for his first foul…and three more in the next 62 seconds. He’s subbed out, but eventually comes back in the 4th and finishes the game with his 13th straight double double.
For whatever reason–the benching, the frustration working constructively–DWill transforms into himself again right before our very eyes. He’s making driving layups, hitting 3s, getting to the line while racking up 7 assists in the quarter.
Meanwhile, besides doing everything that was expected of him when he was traded to Utah (making 3s, hitting FTs), KK exceeded all expectations by pounding the glass, ending the game with 9.
The Jazz put up 40 points in the 4th (a 72-point 2nd half) and come away with an 11-point win. The game featured a 35-point turnaround. And all I have to say is, good for Jerry. Breathing fire, getting technicals, getting ejected, benching guys. I’ve missed that side of him, and the Jazz sorely needed that. Jerry might have needed to “mellow out” because of all the young players on the team, but it’s time to put a stop to the complacency and lack of urgency (though I hope for everyone’s sake AK is excused from the reaming sessions). Of course, given what we’ve seen so far, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these guys respond to a good hard kick in the pants by…not responding.
Note: The last time the Jazz won in NJ, Stock, Malone, and AK were there in purple. It went down to the last shot and the Jazz escaped with a 1-point win. AK had a 15-6-2-4s-2b line…Tag had 7 blocks…Stock had 8-4a-4s, and Karl had 20-8-6a.
Finally, I have a great deal to say about Boozer. Oh yes I do. And it’s coming. Oh yes it is.