The Downbeat - 16 November 2010 - #361 - The Downcap Edition

Sorry, playing NBA 2k11 with my boy last night supplanted a game recap last night.  His go-to move?  Dump it in the post and pump-fake 500 times before I finally jump (can't steal for some reason) and he gets the call for contact and sometimes an AND-1.  Luckily, he hasn't figured out free-throws yet (and I haven't turned on using a player's true FT% over the stick).  His shot chart would make Jerry Sloan openly weep for joy.

Oh, and he likes to play as the Spurs, so there's that.

Anyway, when the online league gets going, you know how to beat me.

  I don't want to use the DB for game recaps, but I have to address one thing from last night.  I can now openly hate Kevin Durant.  I've stated before that how can you hate a guy like that seems to do everything right off the court (save asking for ESPN Insider passwords) and be so good on the court?  With guys like him that aren't on your team, you try to find something to hate so that when they beat you, you can fall back on something.

Well, he still hasn't been spotted kicking puppies (yet!) but last night's shoulder into CJ got me fired up.  It was unbelievable that CJ got called for the foul.  You could argue the call but Durant knew exactly what he was doing when he knew CJ was coming full speed behind him.

He also tried a similar play on AK later on an in-bounds pass.  That one was a lot less egregious but you can tell Durant had revenge on the mind after last year's OT game and the shellacking they took earlier this season.

I hope he gets a little payback the next time the teams meet.

  One more note on the game against OKC.  They picked one helluva night to start shooting.  See, this is the game that I thought we were going to get when the Jazz played there earlier this season.

You're not going to get many wins when the opposing team misses just one free throw in 34 attempts.  The big story from last night though, other than free-throws, was Serge Ibaka.  He seemingly could not miss and was the biggest factor in that third quarter when the Jazz were just trying to keep up.

When they did finally slow them down in the fourth,  the Jazz couldn't make a shot.  They had their chances late to make another comeback but the shots that fell on the road, specifically from Jefferson, didn't.  AK had a couple of questionable play calls and that was it.

The Jazz needed to play perfect the last three minutes to pull it out, like they had done on the road, and finally ran out of magic.

Also impressive last night was Ronnie Price.  He continues to bring more than just the hustle.  He had a great blocked shot on Harden and a great drive and leaning banker.  I'd like to see more of him at the two if Raja is out.

Ronnie Price block on Harden (via utahbasketballjohn)

  The Hornets and the Jazz both had huge jumps in the power rankings with ESPN, NBA.com, and SB Nation.  Of course those all came before both teams lost last night.

The Jazz moved up to #5 (from 9) with SB Nation,

Why are the Jazz looking so good? Well, they have a plethora of talent from which to draw. You'd be hard pressed to find another team that plays all of its 12 active players and doesn't seem to suffer from doing so, and they still have superstars in Paul Milsap and Deron Williams. But, most importantly, they have clutchness.

So maybe not so much last night, but they have been getting things to break their way for the most part.

Marc Stein gave them a huge jump, moving them 8 spots to #5 as well,

Everyone wants to talk about all the great escapes Utah just pulled off on its four-games-in-five-nights tour of the East. Me? Still thinking about the near loss to the Clips and how much it fueled this week of wild rallies.

NBA.com also moved them to #5, up from #14,

Utah's five straight comebacks were all about offense. Over the five games, they went from scoring 80.5 points per 100 possessions in the first half to 130.8 in the second half (including overtimes). The road trip for the ages has earned them 12 of their next 14 games at EnergySolutions Arena.

With three more games this week against NJ, San Antonio, and Portland, the Jazz could still manage the same spot with wins over those teams.

  Tuesday poll,

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