Forget playing the rest of the season and seeding, let's start the playoffs right now. I'd put this Jazz team up against anyone right now with the way they're playing. Oh, I guess we should wait until AK comes back before jumping to the playoffs, but he'll be back tomorrow.
The Jazz stomped on the Raptors early and didn't let up. They never trailed in the game and despite several runs by Toronto, you never felt that the Jazz were in much danger. The biggest reason for that is that there was no indication that the Raptors were ever going to be able to get maintain any semblance of a defense. Toronto's final run came early in fourth when they went on an 11-4 run to close to within 13. Re-enter DWill. The Jazz go on a 14-2 run of their own to put the game away. He also helped put an end to a second-quarter run when he checked back in with about 7:30 left in the half.
Deron has played probably the most dominating ball that we've seen him play. He's got the offense humming and is dominating other point guards right now. Granted last night his matchup was Calderon who isn't going to be winning a defensive player of the year award any time soon but that doesn't diminish what he's been doing. He had Calderon spinning around all night and just made him look silly on a couple of crossovers. Here's what Jay Tiano had to say,
"We could not contain Deron Williams from the start of the game. He goes out and we get it to 14 [points], he comes back in and it's 20. He just goes where he wants to go and does what he wants to do.
"His line is deceiving ... 18 [points] and 16 [assists], he was better than that."
That's what we've seen from Deron the past few weeks. His line hasn't really reflected how much he's taken over games and he has been putting up great numbers. Hopefully he was able to make the plane ride back to the states because I can see the RCMP holding him for questioning for his alleged abuse last night.
They ran the pick and roll quite a bit last night and almost without fail he would make the right pass to the right guy at the right time. This is really something to behold. Forgive the comparison, but when I go back and watch some of Stockton's highlights, it makes me long to see him play again. Well, that's how it is with Deron right now. Watching him play gets me anxious to see him in the next game.
Before I get to the rest of the players, we got saw some great defense last night from the Jazz. Despite their defensive shortcoming, Toronto can still put up the points. Yet last night the Jazz took them out of what they wanted to do for most of the night. They were effective in doubling Bosh and forced a couple of turnovers that way. They had some great rotations and almost always had a hand in the face of the shooters. As a result, most of the Raptors' offense was going one on one and shooting a long jumper. The Jazz cleaned up on the glass and never game them a second chance.
At the top of that defensive list is Memo. Really, who saw a dominant big man coming in the form of Mr. Okur? He's been blocking shots, hauling in the boards, and disrupting shots. We knew we'd get Money back after the birth of his baby but we didn't see this coming.
He had 3 blocks last night to go with his 16 & 8. He's heating up at the right time.
Another good game from Doe. 12 & 5 for him including 2-3 from the arc. He was playing smart again and had just the one turnover. We need this CJ come playoff time.
What more can you say about him? He's the embodiment of everything Sloan wants in a player. Hustles, plays great, tough D, oh, and he can hit the three. Somehow I don't think he's going to get rattled in the playoffs. He had 16 & 8.
Dominating when he should be. He lived off of some great passes from Deron last night on his way to 18 & 11. He also had four assists of his own though as he drew two defenders and would find the open man. I should probably write more on him right now but I'm running low on time and I think he should get his own post soon.
Korgasm was back last night with 12 points on 5-7 shooting. He boosted his three-point percentage a bit by going 2-3. He also had just the one turnover and 4 assists in 27 minutes. That's what we like to see.
Is there such a thing as quite dominance? He had 13 & 5 in 26 minutes as well as a couple of blocks. He hasn't gotten the press this year that he has in year's past but he just keeping having a great year. He's going to be a bargain for a while.
- I liked the aggressiveness on Dd from Jeffers and Williams to close out the first half. Deron had just scored the last 5 points for the Jazz and the Raptors in-bounded the ball. Both of them were draped on Antione Wright and forced him into a hurried runner from half court. I'm actually surprised that Jeffers wasn't called for the foul because he was right in his body. It was good to see them not let someone run up the court and get off a close three.
- Lots of Turks in the audience to see Memo go against Hedo. They went out to eat together the night before and it was mission accomplished as Memo passed along his stomach flu to Hedo. Turkoglu didn't return for the second half as a result.
- What's a good way to describe Memo's physical abilities? I've never seen such effectiveness from the slow-motion moves that he has. Whether it's a spin move, rebound, drive to the basket, or a blocked shot, you seem to be able to count to 10 before he completes said move. Yet, it's effective. He's like a rhinoceros dancing like a gazelle.
- The Raptors went to a zone quite a bit and it wasn't too effective. It did slow the Jazz down a bit as they were forced to use up more of the clock, but they passed their way around it and didn't let it hamper them much.
- The Jazz were only up 25 points with three minutes to go when Sloan pulled his starters. Who has replaced Sloan's mind?
- The universe nearly imploded when Fess dished to the KOOF for a layup.
- m&m's > smarties (canadian)
The Jazz are doing what they're suppose to do right now and that's beating inferior teams. As you know by now, Denver lost again last night to Boston and the Jazz now have the same record. They only need to finish a game better the rest of the way and we're in good shape. There's no reason they can't win the next 4 and hopefully put some space between them and the Nuggets.