Game 50 vs. HOU: Bummer
According to the Jazz beat writers, it was “the most somber, dejected Utah Jazz locker room of the season” (@djjazzyjody) and “quiet as a library. Those guys were heartbroken at the loss” (@jmb247) after the game.
It’s weird, but I’m kind of the opposite. Hate that we lost, but I can stomach this kind of loss a lot better than the ones we saw last month where the Jazz looked like they didn’t care and weren’t even trying.
It was going to be a tough night with Deron, AK, and Memo out (that’s 60% of last season’s starting lineup there), but I have grown to have immense confidence in Earl’s emotional stability. Did I say “emotional stability”? I meant ability to run the point. With so many big-minute guys out, it was basically like having SWARM (the second unit previously known as Watson/Price/CJ/Elson/Fes) and its incarnations playing the entire game instead of spot minutes.
The Jazz played with energy and they battled and hustled. No complaints on the effort front. On offense, Jeremy Evans (or I should say Earl Watson to Jeremy Evans) provided a huge spark. CJ did the scoring damage in the 2nd, while Al and Millsap did the scoring damage in the 3rd. On the other end of the floor, especially late, big blocks, steals, and rebounds helped to balance out other possessions where the Jazz gave the Rockets open paths to the basket. In the end, it came down to the last shot, and we ended up on the wrong side of the score.
Last thought: Raja seems to be back on his game, but Ronnie P seems to have taken his place in Slumpland. As with Raja, I just feel bad for him and will keep cheering for him til he finds his way out of it.
Random Stuff, etc.
** Mythbusting: Gordon Hayward CAN grow facial hair:
** Scott Layden on Earl: He’s a very tough defender on the ball, aggressive. I love his attitude. … He’s the first guy out shooting, and at practice he is the last guy to leave the gym, and really puts in his time. He’s very serious about his profession, and has done an outstanding job with this team. … I love him both on and off the court. He’s a great guy. (KFAN audio)
** Phil Johnson, post-game: What hurts us [is] when we don’t have Andrei to make plays for us, because we use him in the offense to make passes…Deron, obviously that hurts us. But when we’re missing both of them, Andrei is a playmaker and down the stretch we use him a lot in that vein and we obviously didn’t have him tonight. Overall, I thought we played hard and we just came up a point short. (KFAN audio)
** What message was Rick Adelman’s assistant trying to send to the Rockets?