Man, two months of this -- this is longer than a lot of marriages that start in Las Vegas. Last week we went a little long, and dominated the page, so we're going to take this one after the jump . . .
Let's get into it . . .
- The 'Tastes Great / Less Filling' argument this season between fans seems to surround a lack of rebounding. The Jazz will get better at rebounding if everyone tries hard at it and better rebounders are on the floor, or the Jazz will get better at rebounding if everyone is more familiar with their roles and plays better defense so that shots are missed within the defensive schemes. What does this mean? Well, quickly, are the Jazz missing boards because they aren't working/wrong people on the floor, or are they missing boards because the defense is letting the offense get whatever they want, meaning the defense has to overplay on defense allowing offensive players good shots at the ball when it comes off the rim. Which one is it? It's both -- and it comes down to fundamentals.
- Another issue, of course, is a generalized lack of an attitude / toughness that the better teams have. The Lakers know that their system will eventually triumph. The Celtics cannot be intimidated in the paint and will try to shut you down. Even the wiley Spurs know that they've seen everything. What about the Jazz? At the very least our teams used to be known for precision on offense (not really there so far this season), and not giving up easy baskets in the paint (also not happening this season).
- We have a lot of players this year, but not enough playing time for all of them and not enough roles for all of them either. It 'sucks' for some team mates more than others. You can carve a role out for yourself if you are known for a certain thing and you do it really well. Reggie Evans is a great example of this. Besides his penchant for amateur urological examinations, he is also a pretty big deal on the glass. He's grabbing 11.5 per game, and he's fourth best in the league despite not even playing 27 minutes per game. DeJuan Blair is another such guy -- and we saw him first-hand a few nights ago. He beasted us for 6 offensive boards -- AGAINST Jefferson and Millsap. It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.
- That said, rebounding is more than just effort. It's hard to box out your man because you have to leave your area on the floor to try to help out on a guard who waltzes into the lane unmolested. If only there was a way that the Jazz could, uh, use one of our bigs (perhaps one who doesn't happen to see much floor time, and isn't a key rotation guy right now) to develop a niche . . . . one that is both sustainable and specific enough that it changes the offensive team's gameplan?
- Probably the only interesting thing in the 4th quarter of the loss to the Spurs was the memorable 88 seconds (not a typing mistake, he played 88 seconds in a game where we didn't stop dribble penetration or box out) that Fesenko got after Al Jefferson fouled out. How was this guy going to react? The game was over, but Fesenko wanted to show that he was working hard even in garbage time. He set a great screen on Manu that made Manu's Fight/Flight reflexes send the following message to his central nervous system: "Oh no, it's the juggernaut . . . !" (Link really not safe for work, home, church, the gym, the automobile dealership, or anywhere) Later on he also posted up with a mouse in the house, but no one passed it to Fes. How do you get 'freezed out' in garbage time? Silly.
- Moving away from Defense and Rebounding, it sure was nice to have one of OUR guys have a career night for once. C.J. Miles went Hansel last night. C.J. has bombed for 5+ threes before two other times in his career. Last night was his third. Darrell Griffith with the Jazz? He's only done this twice. Jeff Malone: zero. Jeff Hornacek: three times. Bryon Russell: twice in regular season, once in playoffs. DeShawn Stevenson, zero times as a member of the Jazz. Kyle Korver: three times in the regular season, once in the playoffs. Raja Bell: zero. So in terms of shooting guards in this Sloan era . . . not too shabby.
- After last night the Jazz are shooting 34.1 three point %, and holding the opposition down to 29.1%. Even more impressive (not) is that we're scoring 100.8 ppg and holding the other team down to 99.9 ppg. Woo. It's no longer a negative differential anymore!
- Al Jefferson is dead last in fg% out of all of our 'bigs' this season: Millsap, Evans, Elson and Fesenko are all enjoying better success making baskets so far.
- Jerry Sloan had a family funeral to attend, and I hope he and the family are doing well. I know that he was one of the younger siblings in his nuclear family, and that it's possible that he's now going to the funerals of his siblings. I know that he was very attached to his eldest brother. Few things are as life changing as deaths. I hope he is receiving all the support possible right now.
- Mehmet Okur, we're constantly told, looks great and is out there running around and shooting. I think he's a great player, but there's no need to rush him back. He rushed back from injury last year and made it worse. I'll take 3-5 losses for the chance at having a healthy Memo in the playoffs for the first time since we went to the Western Conference Finals.
- I didn't want to make this a media/video heavy edition, but I really wanted a chance to once again showcase the editing work of the guys at TheUtahJazz Blog. For whatever reason their videos are being predated upon and their videos get pulled frequently. Here's last night's game:
- Check it out, subscribe to their YouTube channel and enjoy the videos until they have to create a new account and upload their stuff all over again.