Game 77 – 8:3 = 11:2
The Jazz play five of the eight other West Playoff(-caliber) teams four times, and NO, LAL, and SA three times. It could be said that the NBA treated the Jazz with mercy by scheduling only three games against LAL and SA, and it could also be said that the NBA treated NO with mercy as well.
It’s kind of interesting that all three
games wins against NO this season had some significance for the Jazz organization.
Jan. 7 – Hot Rod’s 3000th broadcast
Feb. 21 – The first game after LHM’s passing
Apr. 5 – The Jazz clinch a Playoff spot
If DWill could play every game the way he plays when he looks down and sees CP3, things like the past few weeks wouldn’t happen. So maybe he does have to take greater responsibility for slow and sluggish starts, as well as being the locker room leader that gets guys together and calls them out as needed.
The Jazz were en fuego in the 1st quarter, outscoring NO 41-19. The inevitable third quarter collapse came, but the Jazz were able to weather the storm thanks to the 27-point lead at halftime. In the first half, Boozer had 10 points on 5-6, 8 boards, and 2 steals while AK, who got the start due to CJ’s dislocated finger*, had 12 points on 5-8, 6 boards, and 1 steal. Both had sub-par third quarters (Boozer: 0-4, 2 boards; AK: 2-4, 1 board, 1 TO) and they were subbed out together at 2:10 in the 3rd and wouldn’t return.
*CJ could be out a week. Not that I don’t like CJ, but that’s good news for the Jazz and their Playoff push. AK had a huge impact in the 1st half and his presence on the court and the threat of his presence on the court, IMO, was one of the reasons the Hornets couldn’t get into a good flow.
It was a welcome change of pace to see the Jazz not playing like a headless chicken aimlessly running around with no idea where it’s going. For the past few games, it seemed like every single player’s personal solution for overcoming poor play, shooting woes, losses, poor morale, whatever, was “angry shooting” and singular concern for getting his. That mentality was also absent tonight. See how that works?
I’ll give credit where is due: After arriving in NO, Boozer, Ty and Scott Layden headed over to a gym for a 1.5-hour private workout. It’s great that he felt that that was needed, and perhaps that was why he came out more on his game tonight. Another definite factor in Boozer’s improved efficiency, though, was that only 3 of his 10 shots were jumpers. 8 of his 10 points came off of layups. See how that works?
Let’s keep this up, guys. And if you could do without the third quarter collapses, that would be great for my heart, my emotional stability, and everyone around me.