The recent road
trip sweep of virtually the entire Southeast Division of the NBA --the division considered by many to be the best in basketball-- by the Utah Jazz made some memories that will live in Jazz lore for... maybe ever.
Few, myself included, expected more than 1-3, and even speculated that they could well go 0-4. Indeed, .500 would have been widely considered a win for the franchise.
But there's not an ounce of quit in these Comeback Kids.
What they've done is "unconscionable." It's where "amazing" happened. It's unparalleled in Jazz history, maybe even in NBA history.
Two games into it The Elias Sports Bureau chimed in, telling us that history had already been made (going back to the LA Clippers comeback). The Jazz may well have overloaded Elias' data banks since, leaving them sparking and sputtering, spewing a thin stream of smoke into the bureau's backrooms.
That the Jazz did this thing with four games in five nights book-ended by a pair of back-to-backs makes it even more remarkable.
Here's some of the highlights of the five-game win streak.
The Jazz overcame:
-Trailing by a combined 70 points on the road trip, 88 when we go back to the last home game vs the Clippers
-Double-digit deficits in the 2nd half of every game
-Playing essentially an extra 1.25 quarters with three overtimes
-Career highs by Eric Gordon in FGAs and blocks
-LeBron James' 29th career triple-double
-A season high 39 points from Dwyane Wade
-Nazr Mohammed's second career 20-20
-Rebounding deficits in four of the five games (+2 vs Atlanta was the only win on the boards)
-Scoring in the teens in six quarters, at least one time every game, and losing 3 of 4 Q's to the Atlanta Hawks
-Losing every single quarter in all five first halves
-Half the Eastern Conference's total playoff teams from a season ago
-The top defense in the NBA on back-to-back nights
A quick word on this one. Coming into the game against the Miami Heat, the Heat had the number one defense in the NBA. After dropping 100+ on Miami --in regulation mind you, before the OT-- the Heat fell out of the top spot leaving the Orlando Magic in it, Utah's opponent the following night.
The Jazz then followed up their KO of Miami's number one D by dropping 104 on Orlando, knocking them out their newly acquired position as the stingiest defense in the NBA. By the time the Jazz had beaten Orlando they'd already made history.
They were the first team in the shot-clock era to win three straight games in which they trailed by at least 10 points at halftime.
Jazz Comebacks, Last 3 Games
|Opponent||Largest Deficit||Jazz Win|
|At Heat *||22||116-114|
|*Win in overtime|
Since they've now blown up Elias' data banks there's no telling where they now stand historically speaking.
Along the way we saw:
-Utah tie a franchise-best four-game road sweep, last done in Jerry Sloan's first full season as head coach in March of 1990
-Paul Millsap score a career high 46 points, punctuated by three 3's on the Heat and the putback that sent it to OT
-Al Jefferson tie a career of six assists in a game
-Deron Williams make the game-winning layup in double-overtime with 6.8 seconds left
-Clutch free throws from Francisco Elson to seal a win with 0.4 left on the clock
-Al Jefferson make a spectacular And 1 to break a tie with Orlando late in the 4th Q, scoring 9 points in the final 4:30 to put 'em away
-Paul Millsap hit what would prove to be the game-winning jumper from 19 feet out
-A Deron Williams game-winner with 0.8 seconds left on the clock
-Deron Williams average 24.4 points and 10.8 assists
-Deron Williams play 213 minutes, or 42.6 per-game
-C.J. Miles go a combined +59 in +/- off the bench, for an average of +11.8 per-game
-A lineup of Earl Watson, CJ Miles, Jeremy Evans, Andrei Kirilenko, and Kyrylo Fesenko outscore Jamal Crawford, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford 15-5 to erase a 10 point deficit putting Utah in a position to win the game
I don't know about you, but I'm fresh out of adjectives for what this most-resilient of Jazz teams has done over their last five games.
What I do know is that any comeback in the NBA shall from this day forward be known as "pulling a Jazzy maneuver," as tweeted by ESPN.com's NBA Editor Royce Webb as the Toronto Raptors tried, but failed, to equal the Utah Jazz's unreal feat.
Superman and Chuck Norris must be proud. I know I sure am.