Game 6 vs. LAC: Yes! No! YES! Noooooo! YES! Ahhhhh! [Falls Over]
The first quarter was just like yesterday’s game. In other words, it was a travesty. The Clippers bigs were getting uncontested layups below the basket even when they were surrounded by three Jazzmen; our guys couldn’t be bothered to so much as get a hand up in the air. On the other end of the floor, it was a case of, as Matty said, “million dollar move, ten cent finish.” Deron was not doing any sort of “leading,” and the offense just completely stopped dead every time Big Al got the ball down low. Whenever Al got the ball, the other guys turned into statues, Al would shoot the ball, and everyone would run back in the other direction. SO no bueno.
When the second unit came in, it was everything the first unit was not. The subs were running, moving, cutting, hustling, pushing the ball, and taking the ball inside. Coming out of halftime however, the Jazz [starters] hit a new low when they couldn’t even get the ball inbounded and had to call a full timeout 0 seconds into the half. Perhaps someone told a funny joke during that timeout, because Deron’s mood swung towards the sunny side and he came out of the timeout ready to play this time. The Jazz went on a 17-3 run to start the third, which really begs the question–why doesn’t Deron play like that all the damn time?!
AK hit a HUGE #nonononoYES three with 7 minutes left in the fourth to break the tie, but a combination of 1) fail sequence
and 2) Eric Gordon going insane [three consecutive and-1s and a layup that cut the Jazz lead of 7 with one minute left down to 2 with 36 seconds left. He then singlehandedly forced overtime; more on this below] put the game into OT…and then 2 OT. So many chances to win, but no capitalization thanks to some of the worst shot selection that I’ve ever had the displeasure of seeing by guys you did not want to see shooting at those points in time.
It all came down to the final minute. The Jazz were up 103-101 when AK got a breakaway dunk (I assume it would have been a dunk; my beloved AK seems to be having trouble finishing at the rim lately). Rasual Butler grabs the back of his jersey and flagrantly hauls him to the ground. (The game stream was several possessions behind, and when I saw the flagrant foul in GameCast, my heart just dropped.) AK makes both free throws, the Jazz get the ball back, and Sap scores with a monster put-back on a Deron miss. 107-101. Butler then throws in two treys–with CJ’s umpteenth miss of the night sandwiched in between–to tie the game. On the other end, Deron takes it to the hole, Clippers miss, Jazz win, I’m spent.
Random Thoughts and Notes:
** Matty’s broadcasting style has changed from extremely homer in the first few games to unhomer, and I like it. He was pointing out every single thing each individual Jazzman was doing wrong (e.g. “You gotta run back on defense. C’mon Jefferson, let’s go!”) and his commentary made me/my frustration feel so vindicated.
** Rasual Butler, you are SO lucky AK is OK.
** Eric Gordon…just, wow. I have to take my hat off to him. His play in the final seconds of regulation–a vicious driving dunk to tie the game with 6 seconds left and then blocking Deron’s potential game-winner on the ensuing possession–was awe-inspiring.
** We were lucky that Griffin fouled out in the 4th quarter, and that Eric Gordon was forced to leave the game due to a shoulder injury.
** Deron, I love you but you can’t be the best point guard in the league unless you play at your best the entire game, every night. You’re the leader. Lead. Especially when you are aware of this:
** We may have escaped disaster more narrowly than we all know. During the broadcast, they mentioned that the last time the Jazz played a double OT game was a triple OT game in Miami two seasons ago. The Jazz had multiple chances to win the game that night, but everything just went wrong and I’ve always thought that that game was the beginning of the end for us that season. We’d gone into that game on a 15-2 streak, including 12 wins in a row, but went 7-9 after that (with one of the nine being a loss to GS that was one of the worst losses in franchise history) and got swept in the first round. In tonight’s post-game, Deron said that he didn’t think he would’ve made it through another OT and that he would have cried if the Jazz had lost.
** I’m glad we won, but…should it have been this hard?
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night
** WINNER OF THE NIGHT is Matty Harpring: “Is Jerry Sloan going to give Deron Williams a blow?…Sometimes Coach knows best.”
** Craig Bolerjack’s oldie and classic: “Down she goes!”
** Matty back with more: “The first one’s always the hardest.”
** Matty (possibly?) back again: “The nail is entering the coffin, but it just can’t get in.”