Video courtesy of Moni
These introductions are pretty sweet. I like all of the different reactions by the players. Paul Millsap has been there, Gordon Hayward looks so cool he looks nervous, Devin Harris throws a very casual "peace" sign, and Derrick Favors looks excited and surprised to be there. Raja Bell looks pissed that he's getting booed and I felt sorry for him. He doesn't deserve the playing time he is getting but he doesn't deserve that either.
What can you say about tonight's game? It was up, it was down, it was exhilarating. It was fantastic. Derrick Favors was great. Gordon Hayward was a playmaker. Millsap did the dirty work. Harris was as aggressive as anyone has seen him in a Jazz uniform. But I'm not going to dwell anymore on individual performances, because that would take away from what made this game so great. It was a TEAM effort. Three or four Jazz men touched the ball on every possession and sometimes, every guy touched it. The ball was moving, people were cutting and setting screens and playing hard; playing together. It was probably the best team effort I have seen since before Ronnie Brewer was traded. Do you remember that game where we played the Lakers in Salt Lake and Boozer was injured and all the role players played the game of their lives and we ran the Lakers out of the building? This game reminded me of that game at times. Here's what Moni's take is on the game, clear across from the other side of the world:
"I don't mind losing with effort. I mind losing a whole lot when it's done with apathy and lack of effort.
There's always the "it's just one game" argument when it comes to any epiphany or conclusion you may reach during a game, but what I came to realize during this game is that you can count me in, I'm on board with the youth movement.
The argument from the Front Office for playing the vets has been that it keeps the Jazz "competitive," but at this point it's the young guys that's keeping us in games. We saw it last season too--the starters would get us down by 20, and the second unit would come in and fight their way back into making it a game. To be clear, I'm not advocating trading Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, or Raja Bell. The rookies and second-year guys can't play all 48 minutes, and there's going to be foul trouble and injuries. I just think if the young guys are the ones keeping the Jazz competitive, you recognize and acknowledge that, and reward them with playing time.
The 76ers came into town being the team in better shape, with Spencer Hawes playing particularly well. Derrick Favors had originally been scratched from the starting lineup in favor of Paul Millsap, but ended up starting at the 5 when Al had to sit out due to an inflamed ankle. Favors played 39 minutes and scored a career high 20 points with 11 rebounds and we saw the future. Millsap had a tough night shooting-wise, but was a beast on the boards with 14. Gordon Hayward was often cast in the role of facilitator with great results, while Devin Harris saw good things happening when he chose to push the ball. I know everyone wants to complain about Raja, but I didn't think he was a detriment to the team on the floor on either end tonight.
I've spent the past year being depressed about the Jazz. Tonight, seeing the front court of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter playing long stretches of meaningful time and holding their own in the 4th quarter gave me back that feeling of good things to come. I know we're going to lose games, but it's going to be so fun watching these guys develop before our eyes."