Game 9 vs. CLE: Undefeated!!!! (at home)
The vets carried the Jazz to the win in this one.
Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap combined on 22-27 shooting for 49 points. Millsap scored his 19 so quietly and efficiently that you barely noticed (as always), but was hampered by foul trouble the entire night. Big Al, meanwhile, almost looked like an entirely different player than last year. He was not only taking good shots/dunking, but getting to the free throw line, passing out of the double team, and boxing out. Sure, his defense is still oftentimes suspect, but it’s was great to see him taking improvement to heart.
Raja had three cutting layups in the third quarter, which was great for Raja and also made for some pretty basketball. Gordon Hayward also deserves mention for his ball distribution and career-high 8 assists.
Here’s a glimpse into the future: Derrick Favors shows off a real nice turnaround jumper:
I almost don’t know what to make of Josh Howard, because the Jazz have never had this kind of attacking, fearless wing with his talent level. We’ve had wings with athleticism, but not the offensive skills. We’ve had wings with offensive skills, but not the fearlessness. We’ve had wings with “attack mode,” but not the athleticism. Anyway, really enjoy seeing him play with the second unit.
** Earl Watson on which of the young guys impresses him the most: A guy like Derrick Favors to me is the most significant one [out of the young guys] because he can easily be pouting that he’s not starting…I think he’s gonna be an All-Star for many years to come. He’s going to be one of those players where, when they talk about the Utah Jazz, you’re going to talk about Karl Malone, John Stockton, and in that big position I think you have to include Derrick Favors in the future. How he’s handled himself at such a young age is very, very professional. Very impressive. (1)
** Millsap likes his money. On foul trouble/fouling out: It happens. They’re not perfect. Referees not perfect. We’re not perfect. Things happen out there. (1)
Random Stuff, etc.
** Boler continues to refer to Alec Burks as “Eric.” In related news, I’ve started yelling “Eric!” when he scores. I can’t help it.
** Raja’s wife delivered their third child earlier in the day, and he was wearing a wristband to cover his hospital bracelet (as noted by bc7).
** Al Jefferson continues to call Enes Kanter “Big Turkey.” I suggest that Kanter start calling Big Al “Big Missy” (Mississippi).
** Big Al has lost 8 lbs. since training camp and now weighs in at 282.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night
** Harpring: Devin has been struggling lately. This should get him off, get him into a good rhythm.
** Harpring: If you’re the Jazz, you want Varejao to shoot all night long.
** Harpring: He’ll have a lump there tomorrow morning.
** Harpring on Millsap: Now you have the hottest member of the Jazz on the bench. (He couldn’t have said “player.” Had to go with “member.”)
** Boler: Watson has a knack. Penetrator, always has the head up, and he saw Big Al and the bucket. (H/T @theutahjazzblog)
** Harpring on CJ: He put his head down, went to the hole strong. He didn’t go up soft.
** Boler: And the second one falls out, there’s a loose ball.
** Boler on Al: He took a high, hard one. Sacrificed the body.
** Boler: He was down on one knee and kept his balance and rolled it in.
** Harpring to Boler: Am I supposed to get on you like you get on me? Boler: Sometimes the pen slips.