I got a few chills when I started watching this game. Not necessarily because of Boozer's return, though it was a bit weird to see him in uniform, but because it had an opening night feel to it.
The whole team was there. The starting five were the starting five everyone had been expecting to be here all along.
But what really gave me chills was seeing the team dominate again. That's five wins in a row, the same as we had to start the season.
It's been a long season so far and to see the team's recent play has wiped away those early season nightmares.
Sorry for another Seinfeld reference, but this season is ending up like "The Opposite" episode. George is always the loser in the sitcom until he starts doing the opposite of every instinct he's ever had. Elaine on the other hand has always done well until she eats some Jujyfruits that leads to her killing her company and getting fired. George becomes Elaine and vice-versa. Jerry is Even Steven because he always breaks even.
What I'm getting at is that the Jazz have been George and some of the other teams in the league have been Elaine.
We started out with major injury issues and now the Lakers lose Bynum, the Suns lose Amare, T-Mac is out (though that might hurt us), Manu is out again, Martell Webster for the Blazers it out, and so on.
We finally have everyone back and are on the rise.
The Jazz played at a very high level the entire game until garbage time. At no point did I think the Jazz were in trouble. The only skiff of a run by the Hawks came late in the second when they were able to turn a 19-point deficit down to just 9. But an almost half-court shot at the buzzer by Ronnie B put the Jazz back up by 14 at the half.
Utah came out in the second half and went on a 10-2 tear that put the game away thanks to three C.J. Miles buckets and a layup from both Ronnie B and Deron.
It was cruise control for the Jazz there on out until a flare up early in the fourth.
As Harpring went up for a layup, Josh Smith delivered a flagrant foul that sent Harp flying. He smacked his head hard on the court.
Most normal men would have lay there and cried. Matt jumped to his feet with his fist ready and ready to swing. And he would have had Korver not stepped in and grabbed him before Harp even got up.
I have to say that my money was on Millsap to flip out and go Artest on someone first because of the constant beating he takes without getting calls.
We've all seen Matt get into people's heads and be rough with them. That's the first time that I've seen him go after anyone though. I don't even remember the last time I thought that anyone from the Jazz was going to get into a brawl.
It wasn't the flagrant foul that set him off, it was just a culmination of events. Still, as clarkpojo pointed out in the game thread, Harp could still be suspended for escalating things. We'll have to see how the league determines that.
But we know how Harp must like the pain because he brought it after that scoring the next three hoops for the Jazz. He finished with 15. Good hannah, we have everyone back _and_ Harp is playing like this? Look out.
So how was Boozer's return for him? Pretty uneventful in 21 minutes. The best news that comes from that is that he didn't have any pain. He had just two points but did get 5 boards in that time.
Deron had 15 & 10 in just 28 minutes of play. He was 7/11 from the field including some filthy assists including a fake the behind-the-back to Brewerincluding a fake the behind-the-back to Brewer but still pass to Brewer for the slam.
In addition to the dunk of the night, Ronnie B also got the assist of the night with this pass to Memo.
He finished with another spectacular 19 points and looks like he may have nailed down that mid-range jumper. He might be able to make Kobe pay for daring him to shoot those now.
Welcome back Kyle Korver. I don't expect you to go 4-5 from downtown every night, but I hope you're out of your slump. I also looked up to see if Korver does better with Booze in the lineup. Kyle averaged 8.5 while Booze was out and only about 7.5 in the 13 games they've both played in.
Millsap didn't shoot well but still ended up with 16 & 12.
The bench had 58 points. Do you see what a real bench is like? The regular bench players (I'm not counting Knight) had 56 points. That's scary.
Crazy times right now. There's no reason the Jazz shouldn't be able to keep up this play. They have a relatively easy next three games against Minny, SacTown, and Golden State. I say relative because March and April are going to be brutal. They're going to need as much mo as they can get to finish out the season.
Oh, and Denver got smacked down by Boston last night narrowing their lead to just three games over the Jazz.
- The Jazz did not score a point over the last 5:39 of the game.
- Utah shot 70% in the first half.
- Dominique Wilkins was in the house.
- The Jazz have usually had solid drafts, but they blew the 2004 one. They took Kris Humphries and Krik Snyder over guys such as Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Delonte West, and Kevin Martin. Of course a lot of other teams did as well. But the Jazz had two picks and both picks immediately after them were Jefferson and Josh Smith. Of course, had they picked them, who knows if we would have got Deron or not. Jefferson though would look mighty fine about now, minus his injury.