Game 16 vs. NO: Exactly how I imagined it would be
I think I speak for all Jazz fans when I say that this game was how best-case scenarios played out in our heads after all our offseason’s wheelings and dealings were said and done. I don’t know if it’s Deron getting up to play Chris Paul and willing the team to play better, or they’re finally getting comfortable with each other. The end result is that it was the second consecutive best-game-of-the-season-so-far.
It felt like the “real” Jazz finally showed up tonight…at least I hope this Jazz is the real Jazz. Not coincidentally, Deron finally looked like January-to-March-2010-happy-loose-ninja Deron again, rather than sullen-complainy-playing-hurt Deron. This game was what happens when both the starters and the second unit kick ass, and the end product was beautiful, flowy, clicky, chemistric basketball.
All right, I think I’ve used up my adjective quota for the
day rest of the month.
The starters came out executing the offense and didn’t get behind. The second unit came out with the energy and hustle, and increased the lead.
I haven’t been able to explain to myself why I feel such happiness whenever the Twin Towers-Doe-Spark & Spunk (aka TTDSS, aka Team That Doesn’t Start Slow, aka Team That Dang Shouldn’t Sit) lineup is on the floor, beyond that, as stated above, they bring the hustle and the energy. It finally struck me that they remind me of the ’03-’04 team, which I loved watching. There might not be a star among them and they might not beat you on either end of the floor, but they have fight and they compete. What’s not to love?
The offense kind of died to start the second half, with the starters going 2 for their first 13. Fortunately, we were at least getting to the FT line (where, btw, we had a perfect night) and for once
dominating not sucking on the boards. The Hornets didn’t get their second offensive rebound until 1:30 left in the third, and Deron went into Stealth Ninja mode late to put the game away.
** Speaking of stealth, Big Al very, very quietly racked up 23 & 10. The offense seemed to sit comfortably on him tonight, and he showed a better knowledge of where to be on the floor than in the past. He was also passing the ball well. Seems to me like the more quietly he collects his stats, the more efficient he is.
** I swear, Earl Watson is better at layups than our bigs. And sadly by “our bigs,” I mostly mean AK. I don’t know why AK hardly seems to dunk anymore–someone always says it’s because of the hair when I complain about this–but it’s maddening because he obviously still can.
** Who ya got in tonight’s Smoulder Competition?
Post-Game Quotage (KFAN):
** Big Al: When I was with the Timberwolves, I didn’t miss [a Deron-CP3 matchup]. If we played the same night they played against each other, I Tivo’ed it.
** Chris Paul: WE just ain’t never really been able to grasp beating UTAH. … A few years ago, [the Jazz] lost three, four games [at home], so it’s not just us.
(Emphasis on “we” and “Utah” mine. ;) I’m so over the Deron/CP3 thing, but I can’t help a little dig now and then.)
** [Do you have ideas for a nickname for the second unit?] Earl Watson: I’m the worst with nicknames, man. I mean, my name is Earl.
** Jerry calls Francisco Elson “Fran.” Fes calls him “Frank.”
** Hornets Coach Monty Williams: I think this is six or seven games now that we were playing out of character, but we were winning games, and it just comes back to bite you. When you mess with the game, it comes back and messes with you.
(I found this comment pretty insightful, because it describes our season extremely well, as well–i.e. the string of comebacks coming back to bite us in the form of losses, because we’d gotten complacent with winning games despite slow starts.)
** Hey KFAN, where can I find the “unclean” version of Jerry’s post-game?
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night
** Matty: Raja Bell goes backdoor, Deron will find you if you’re open.
** Matty: He loves to penetrate and use his big body.
** Millsap: Two great point guards going at it, you can’t help but sit back and try to watch it.