Game 41 vs. DET: This one was for Big Al’s grandma
From Al Jefferson’s press conference when he first got to Utah:
His maternal grandmother was a good basketball player and a big fan of Karl Malone, and she’s excited about him coming to the Jazz because he now has the opportunity to become a Malone-type player.
He averaged 42 points per game in high school, but if he missed a rebound in a game they won by 20, his grandmother would still grab him after the game and yell at him in front of all his friends and fans.
It was a perfect and emotional ending to the game.
Big Al’s grandmother passed away the day before, and he missed shootaround because he hadn’t slept the entire night.
After the game, he said, “It was tough losing her, but I knew she wanted me to come out and play tonight. She watched every one of my games, and she never liked when I sat out. That’s why I always try to play every game, and I knew she wouldn’t want me to sit out tonight, so that’s why I came and tried to play my best.” (2)
And indeed, he was there and even signing autographs for kids before the game:
After having just a fantastic game in which he carried the team, Big Al found himself with the ball behind the arc and the clock running down. He had dedicated the game to his grandmother earlier. Up the shot went, and down his first career three-pointer went as time ran out.
I’ll just leave it there.
Random Stuff, etc.
** [Does Al have the green light to shoot 3s now?] Ty, post-game: No.
** I was talking about Memo’s frosted tips the other day. The broadcast team showed footage of Detroit’s last win at Utah, which took place many, many years. How are the two related? Memo and his frosted tips were on that Pistons team.
Raja vs. Ty Quotage
** Derrick Favors on Raja: He come in and show good leadership and he gets everybody ready to play. So, he’s important. (1)
** Tyrone Corbin on his relationship with Raja: (long pause) He’s a player, I’m the coach. I’ve known him for a while. It is what it is. (1)
** Kevin O’Connor: Raja’s a competitor, Coach is a competitor, and we’re gonna figure out a way to try and get to sixth or fifth place in the league. That’s our goal, and that’s what we talked about in there. How’s the best way to do that. (1)
(There is so much ridiculousness in the “sixth or fifth place” part I’m just going to leave it for another day.)
** Raja Bell:
** Kevin O’Connor on how important it was for the Jazz that Raja issued the quote above: There’s amendments that he’s entitled to. Free speech is one of them, so he could say anything he wants to say. You can ask him. We didn’t prep him, we didn’t say, “We ought to say this.” We didn’t talk to him before [he spoke with the media], and that’s how we try and deal with things…We’re not trying to dictate what players say. (1)
(It could be argued that Raja exercising his right to free speech is exactly what led to this situation, but whatever.)
** Also, should be noted that according to Raja, the sentiments that he expressed to Ty that caused Ty to send him home were about issues affecting the team rather than his role or his touches, which is what fans that never liked him seem to be trying to make it about.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines of the Night (UDQM)
** Boler on Josh Howard: I thought he was going to lay it in but he lays it softly in the hands of Millsap.
** Boler: Stuckey, nice stroke.
** Boler: Stuckey penetrates, left hand.
** Booner: Make sure you go straight up and straight down.
** Boler: He likes the left hand. Booner: He took me by surprise when he went with that hand.
** Boler: I’m amazed at the size of Big Al…I don’t know how he finds his way to the rim.