Game 45 @ POR: Letdown Avoidance
This one started out much like the one against New Jersey four days ago. The Jazz ran out to a 21-2 lead in the first six minutes, and it took Portland four minutes to score their first bucket. At the end of one, we’d hit 14 of 16 shots (technically 14 of 17, but I’m not counting Wesley’s midcourt shot at the buzzer). With contributions from everyone, we ran the lead up to 26 in the second quarter and closed out the half with a 17-point lead, 63-46.
The Jazz were playing loose and free but within the system, if that makes sense. It was so much fun to watch that you just knew at some point it would fall apart–which it did in the third quarter with an ugly collapse. The Jazz were playing hard, but they just couldn’t get anything to go or control the boards. Meanwhile, the minutes and seconds seemed to come off the game clock in a monumental crawl as Portland closed the lead to 5 with 7:24 left in the fourth.
While this team may have turned a corner in recent weeks, and while some may say that this would have been a definite loss earlier in the season, I believe that in the end, we were just lucky that Korver hit a huge Korgasm final nail/dagger three with 54 seconds remaining, and that time ran out when it did. At the end of the day, however, because the Jazz played hard, this one didn’t feel like one of those wins that’s really a loss.
Some notable and some incredible stats from the box score:
–FGs: Utah 38-63; Portland 33-92. Just to reiterate, Portland took 30 more shots than us and made 5 less.
–The Jazz had 27 assists on their 38 FGs.
–Portland only had 9 TOs to the Jazz’s 19 (14 by the starters).
–Korver was 4-4 from three-point land.
–AK was 6-7 from the floor (5-5 in the first quarter) to go with 2 steals and 3 blocks.
–Sap had the game’s sole double-double of 15 & 12.
–Boozer left the game early in the third with a calf strain and didn’t return.
–Deron will miss Thursday’s game against SAC to attend his uncle’s funeral.