A Tale of Two Teams
November 9, 2009 -
It’s not often that you would consider the 5th game of an 82-game season as a “must win.” But that’s exactly how I felt about Thursday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. After back-to-back embarrassing losses to Houston and Dallas, the Jazz desperately needed to defend their home court.
This was the Jazz team I expected to see this season. They played hard, executed well, played tough-nosed team defense, and basically dominated the Spurs for four quarters, winning 113-99. Boozer had a breakout performance with 27 points and 14 rebounds, and the team seemed to be clicking on all cylinders. This was the turning point.
Well, at least until the next game…
Just when it seemed they might finally be on track, the Jazz turned around and lost to the lowly Sacramento Kings on Saturday night. In Utah. At least it wasn’t another 4th quarter meltdown. This time they started the process a lot earlier. The Jazz eventually lost 104-99, but it took a furious 4th quarter comeback to make it that close.
Game ball goes to: Deron Williams. He was the only player to show up strong for both games and did everything in his power to bring the Jazz back from a 17-point deficit in the 4th quarter against Sacramento. DWill averaged 28 points and 12 assists 5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, over the two games.
Stat of the Game(s): The Jazz continue to lose the battle of the 3-point line. Against the Spurs, Utah only made 1 of 7 while the Spurs made 6 of 16. Against Sacramento, the Jazz sank 5 of 15 but allowed the Kings to make 11 of 19.
Highlight: For the first time this season, the Jazz played a full 48-minutes and outscored the Spurs in each quarter (well, technically they tied in the 2nd). The team showed what it’s capable of when everyone plays to their potential.
Lowlight: After building an 11-point lead at the end of the 1st period, the Jazz were outscored 66-38 over the 2nd and 3rd quarters by the Sacramento Kings – the team with the worst record in the NBA last season, who was missing its leading scorer. And this happened in Utah.
Other items of note:
- The Jazz continue to be a Jekyll-and-Hyde team, making it tough to know which personality will show up any given game. Seeing what they did against the Spurs just made the loss to the Kings even more frustrating.
- Sacramento went on a 26-2 run in the 3rd quarter against. I don’t ever remember the Jazz being dominated so soundly in their own arena. Hard to believe it happened against the Kings of all teams. The Jazz seem to be useless against a zone defense without Korver and Miles. Brewer and Kirilenko on the wings just won’t get it done.
- With Millsap continuing to disappoint, Wes Matthews has been the only silver lining on the Jazz bench. The undrafted rookie scored 23 points on 9 of 13 shooting and is playing with confidence.