Game 29 vs. WAS: Hurray for Home Games
My goodness, Al Jefferson. That was an en fuego on top of en fuego performance. Big Al scored 26 points on 12-15 shooting to go along with five boards and one assist…in the first half. He was so on fire that he was able to score on a putback off his own miss at the buzzer, and the Jazz led 62-50 at halftime.
It was 100-78…at the end of 3. Al and Paul Millsap were subbed out with a minute to go, and it looked like they were done for the night and we were treated to a bunch of Happy Bench Shots. Then the lapse we weren’t expecting but should’ve known was coming came, and back in came Al and Paul. Thankfully, the Jazz ended up winning 114-100 (aka we got outscored 14-22 in the fourth quarter).
I really enjoyed Ty Corbin’s mix-and-match lineups tonight, and IMO they were instrumental to the Jazz’s success in the first half. It wasn’t just mixing vets with young guys, but starters with second team guys. Late in the first quarter, we saw Raja Bell and Earl Watson (along with Al, Derrick Favors, and Josh Howard) on the floor at the same time, which we usually don’t see.
Because it’s such a rarity, I was reminded of something Earl said when he first arrived in Utah:
You never hear a basketball player say this, this may be the first time ever: I’m really excited to be on a court defensively with Raja Bell. I’m really excited about that. I’m really excited to play defensively on the same team as he and make it a nightmare for opposing teams and opposing guards.
With this lineup on the floor, the Jazz looked great on both ends and went on a 12-3 run (during which the Wizards were 1-7 from the floor) to close the first quarter.
Devin Harris also had a fantastic game. Al being so on fire definitely helped him collect those nine assists, but it was also clearly on his mind to push the ball and take it to the hole rather than settling for jump shots. As a result, Devin probably had one of his most efficient games (wins) in a Jazz uniform.
Finally: Alec. Freakin. Burks.
** Alec Burks, shootaround: People really ain’t really been trying to make me shoot really, so I been really getting to the rim a lot easier than I thought I would coming into the season. So I’m just gonna keep attacking til you make me shoot a jumper. (1)
Random Stuff, etc.
** Ty is still calling Alec “Alex”: “We wanna make sure that we give ourselves the best chance to win. Alex is a guy that deserves minutes on the floor.”
** No one knows his name. On the game recap on NBA TV, they called him “Alec Burke.”
** Meanwhile, Booner is another guy still calling Enes Kanter “Ee-nis.”
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night (UDQM)
** Boler: That’s the penetration Ty Corbin has been looking for. (H/T allen aoki)
** Boler: Kanter is going to relieve Jefferson.
** Boler: Booner, I know you’re up at 7. Booner: Absolutely.
** Booner on Wall: Sometimes it’s just too hard to put on the brakes.
** Boler on Al’s push-shot: Booner, how tough is it to control–I guess it depends on the size of the hand to push a shot up with one hand.
Booner: That’s true, but he’s been doing that so long, and hands don’t really have to be that big. Just make sure you have control of it.
** Thurl: What do you do when a guy’s hot, Alema? You just keep riding him.
** Boler: Oooh Kanter, that’s just nothing but muscle.
** Thurl: You like the way they get up.
** Big Al, post-game: That right hand is something special. When it get going, it’s a problem for the other team. It got going tonight, thank God for that.
(The conversation continued like this:
Boler: Can you teach Booner that right hand push-shot?
Al: He come to my camp, I charge him half price.
Boler: I like that.)
** Big Al, post-game: Once that right hand get going, even I can’t stop it. It felt good, man. (DN)
** Raja Bell on the ball, post-game: It’ll find the hot guy, it’ll find a way to get in the hole. (H/T @Lord_Chadeous)