Game 39 vs. the Crabs: Yatta Boy!!!!!
“It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten that excited. [How excited were you?] I found myself trying to jump. I saw Ty Corbin take off and I thought I’d catch him.”–Jerry Sloan, after running to mid-court in joy
I am completely speechless. I can’t think straight. I can’t think at all. This kind of thing doesn’t happen to the Jazz, with “thing” being defined as last second game-winners, hanging in there, not collapsing, winning close games, making big shots down the stretch, withstanding late game opponent runs, etc.
After losing Andrei to a hyperextended knee midway through the 3rd quarter, Deron left the game for good 38 seconds into the 4th quarter when he re-injured his wrist (and this is after he took an elbow to the face from Boozer and crumpled to the floor in the second quarter).
The Jazz were down 55-60 to start the 4th, but without Deron (who had been battling foul trouble all night), they went on a 16-3 run to take a 13-point lead with 4:39 left. Living up to the pessimistic expectations of Jazz fans everywhere, they then went without a field goal over a 4.5-minute span while Cleveland went on a 24-5 run (Lebron had 15 of the 24 points, including three 3’s) to take a 6-point lead–91-85–with 30 seconds left.* After Ronnie P hits a huge 3 with :29 left, the Jazz start fouling. The teams then trade FTs, with Cleveland going 4-6 and the Jazz going 4-4, before Korver hits an unbelievable HORSE shot from behind the basket to make it 95-94 Cavs.
Following a timeout, CJ fouls Big Z, who hits 1-2 with 5 seconds left. 96-94 Cavs. Out of a Jazz timeout, Ronnie P dribbles…dribbles…spins…dishes to Yata…
3 AT THE BUZZER!!!!!
A couple of notes:
—Apart from the 1:45 Ronnie Brewer played in the fourth quarter, the rest of the combined 58:15 minutes of Jazz player time went to second-rounders (Sap, CJ, Boozer, KK, and Memo), undrafted rookies (Matthews, Gaines), and undrafted player (Price). How about that? Shades of Golden State win against us last season. Ultimately, it was the play and major minutes of the young guys–Matthews, Sap, CJ, and of course Gaines, that got us the win. Meanwhile, although Boozer played the first part of the quarter well, he completely disappeared in crunch time and only showed up to foul (see Boozer note below).
–As I mentioned earlier, AK got injured mid-way through the third quarter. Through the first three quarters, LBJ scored 16 points on 6-13 shooting. In the 4th, during which he played 8:30, LBJ went 6-7, including three 3’s, for 20 points.
–*This is the second time in four games when Carlos has fouled out while shooting like he’s standing outside the arena (6-18 on both occasions). During that 24-5 Cavs run late in the 4th, Boozer managed to, in a 2:30 span, collect four fouls in every way he possibly could (personal, shooting, offensive, and loose ball). Dude, if your shot is not falling, try doing other things to help your team. Shooting like crap AND fouling like crazy? The Jazz are lucky they managed to get away with a win.
In past seasons, I’ve downloaded (when I could find them) 15-20 good games that I could pop in and rewatch whenever I wanted. This season has been so dismal that I have yet to download a single game. This will be the first one. And I’m still shaking my head in disbelief. How sweet is bliss…no disclaimer today :-)