Game 24 vs. ORL: It’s raining threes, hallelujah, it’s raining threes!
The Jazz scored 117 points tonight. Of those, 113 were scored by five guys: Deron, CJ, AK, Millsap, and Al. As Raja and Fes were out, Hayward (start) and Evans got some playing time. They looked like rookies (combined 0-2 in 25 minutes), but I’d like to think that what playing experience they got was valuable.
Francisco, Earl, and Ronnie P may have combined for only four points total, but we would’ve been sunk without them. The first quarter was ugly and lacked any sort of rhythm or intensity (yes, again). Jerry subbed Elson in around the end of the 1st, and the entire feel of the game changed the moment he stepped onto the court. Suddenly, we were focused, aggressive, and not
lackadaisical jackpotting around.
The most interesting shot of the first quarter was when the camera panned to the Jazz bench and we got to see the jacket that Raja was wearing (clearer shot here):
With Earl and Ronnie P playing alongside each other to start the 2nd (yay!), the game finally became watchable. Earl “sparked” the Jazz and kept them in the game until Deron finally decided to pull his head out from wherever he’s been keeping it, and show up. Sap scored 8 points in a 2-minute span to close out the half in an array of ways and ended up with 20 for the half on 7-10 shooting, which was the biggest first half by a Jazzman so far this season.
Once Deron decided that he was going to take the game over, the game was over. Deron turned on Ninja mode in the 3rd, opening the quarter on a trey for what would be three of 11 straight points (including two three’s and 3 FTs on a fouled three-point attempt). The Jazz scored 13 more points in the rest of the quarter, with Deron scoring 5 of those and assisting on 7 more. In other words, Ninja was directly responsible for 23 of the Jazz’s 24 points. His 16 points in the quarter was the second most for a Jazzman in a quarter this season…
…until CJ went into DOE mode in the 4th. CJ went off for 19 in the quarter, including 12 of the Jazz’s first 15 points. CJ and AK combined for 28 of the Jazz’s 35 points in the quarter, and there was one particular 50-second sequence when Deron, AK, and CJ tossed in consecutive shots from downtown that was just hummingly, purringly beautiful to watch.
Itty bitty rant
I was feeling a little peeved as I watched the Jazz run over the Magic in the second half. We would be freaking in.vin.ci.ble if Deron brought it/this every night. Some might say that I am being too harsh on him, but our chances of winning absolutely depend on what mood he’s in, and it shouldn’t be that way.
He absolutely should be taking over games and killing opponents for four quarters every night. We know what we can do, and we see how different (and superior) a team we are when he decides he wants to bring it. The fact of the matter is, on the court (as opposed to off the court, at practice, on paper, legally, etc.), this is Deron’s team. Deron’s, and Deron’s alone. So I do hold him responsible when the Jazz are starting slow and playing like overpaid drones, and I do hold him to a higher standard and expect more from him than everyone else.
** I don’t know what this is supposed to be: cute? entertaining? something? Whatever it is, I just find it creepy. Sorry, parents of pictured girls.
** Have to praise Big Al for his defense on Dwight Howard tonight. His D is a work in progress, but whether it was getting advice from Raja or he’s more comfortable in the system, this was a great night on both ends for him.
** Good stuff: 10-16 from three-point land, 30 assists on 41 FGs, and just 7 TOs.
** More good stuff: Our front line was supremely well-rounded tonight. Al with 16 and 8 to go with 2 steals and 3 blocks; Millsap with 22, 5, 5, and 3 steals; AK was just plain sublime with 17, 13 (!), and 5 to go with 2 steals and 3 blocks. All three of them shot over 50%, and I didn’t cringe when AK took any of his shots ;)
** AK’s head in motion is quite dandelion-y:
** Finally, any Jazz fan that is not morally opposed to drinking and follows the Jazz on TV should read this: The Utah Jazz Game Broadcast Drinking Game of Drinking.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night
** Jerry on Dwight Howard: That’s one of the things that always scares you, that he has such a great body and he’s so big and long. It’s hard to get inside.
** Al Jefferson on Dwight: My body feel like I been in a car accident. That’s the way I feel every time I play him. You gotta bang him. If you don’t, he gon have his way.