Where's your bellybutton, Stephen? Oh, that's close. Try Again.
"We have to play better at the beginning of games. We always start slow and use all our energy to get back into the game. You can't do that on the road against any team."
Sound like a Jazzman? It's actually a quote by Charlotte Bobcat Forward Stephen Jackson after they dropped a tough loss to Indiana on Wednesday night. The Bobcats are actually a respectable 10-14 and playing much better basketball since the trade to acquire Jackson. But like the Jazz, the Bobcats are horrible on the road at 1-11. But that means that they are 9-3 at home and have won 6 of 7 at Time Warner Arena.
So what seems like a good chance at a W for the Jazz, may not be. You know it's bad when ESPN accuscore projections have the Jazz winning only 27 % of the 1000, simulated games between Utah and Charlotte tonight.
The Bobcats are a version of Larry Brown's classic teams minus a great scorer. They are 3rd from the bottom in offensive efficiency and third in defensive efficiency. Brown traded offense for defense when he shipped Jason Richardson, Vlad Radmonivich, and Omeka Okafor for Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, and Tyson Chandler. If he had a dynamic scorer like Allen Iverson, he might be onto something.
Gerald Wallace- I don't personally think Wallace is good enough of a player to be the team's best player, but he is very talented and plays with great energy. At 6-7, he is second in the league in rebounds per game at 12, only behind numero 12, Dwight Howard. He scores 17 points a game, mostly off of turnovers and driving to the basket. If the Jazz get turnover happy, Wallace is going to have a field day. I love his game actually. I think he has been a fan-trade favorite for Jazz fans for a few seasons now.
& Company- If Stephen Jackson found out that I put him in the "& company" group, he would probably fire his gun in the air in anger. But while Jackson is an incredibly versatile player, he also hasn't proven to be anything better than a gifted role player. And he is trigger happy which has always hurt his offensive game, pun intended. Fifth year point guard Ray Felton is the Sam Bowie of his draft class. He is not a bad player and is having himself a nice career, but he isn't Hakeem, MJ, or Malone...I mean, Chris Paul or Deron Williams. DJ Augustin is a quick, scorer off the bench and the Bobcats have some other players (Ronald Murray, Boris Diaw) who can get hot against the Jazz and make it a loooong night.
This Bobcats team isn't as bad as previous years. So if they beat the Jazz, it won't be as bad as the previous several times they have beat us in Charlotte. They would actually be pretty good if they weren't the worst drafting team in the NBA. I live in North Carolina and no one really supports the Bobcats. There is a history of reasons there, but mostly they don't put together a good team. They draft fan favorites from local colleges in hopes of selling tickets, even if there are better players to be had. Welcome home, Ray Felton, Sean May, and Gerald Henderson. But maybe the biggest problem is that the GM of the team is too busy filming homoerotic underwear commercials with Charlie Sheen and Kevin Bacon to really care.
The Bobcats only score 91 points a game. That's abysmal. You can write them in for at least 101 in tonight's game, though. Welcome to Charlotte, the Utah Jazz.
So how do the Jazz win? By scoring at least 102 points. I'm not going to write anything else, because everything I wrote yesterday, the Jazz did the opposite.
But at least the Jazz starters should be well rested since they didn't have to play the last quarter and a half of last night's game. Let's go fresh legs. It's gotta be better than last night.
THE FRIENDLY ENEMY