Last night’s game wasn’t supposed to be an uncomfortable to watch blowout. The New Jersey Nets were in fire from eclipsing the Phoenix Suns the other night, but came into Utah a little out of gas. The Jazz defend their homecourt (only one loss this season), and did so last night. This game featured a lot of stars for our team. Let’s check out which ones went supernova against the Nets.
After the jump – a break down of their play from last game!
Paul Millsap: Millsap is getting into hot water from some New Earth Christian Groups because he continues to show proof of evolution. When he came into the league he was a rebounding specialist who didn’t have range on his jump shot, and didn’t have any kind of face up game. Today he’s a guy who can create his own shot off the dribble, often by performing a set-up dribble move and shooting a step-back jumper over a taller, and longer defender – from midrange. And he’s doing it while being significantly efficient. The Jazz have scored a total 1030 points this season, off of 881 shots. That’s a Points per Shot (PPS) value of 1.17 (rounding up). Millsap? He has a PPS value of 1.25 (rounding up). He’s doing great – and that’s even adding in a few clunkers he’s had shooting. Last night he had 18 and 12 (yawn), 4 steals, 3 assists, and only one foul. And miraculously he went to the line 6 times (making all 6 shots). After 11 games, one sixth of the entire season, he’s been a member of the Quintet 11 times. Best on the team.
Al Jefferson: The Jefferson roller-coaster continues, after a startlingly poor performance against the Los Angeles Lakers he came back and scored 20 points (1.25 PPS, which is Millsap’s season avg), had 3 blocks, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal and assist each. For the game he and Millsap were both +15 in the +/- rating, best on the team. What I loved about Big Al from this game is that 7 of his 16 shots came at the rim. And he made 6 of them (85.7%). I’d like to see him shoot less frequently from outside – away from the rim he went 3/9. He needs to know where he’s effective, and act on that if he ever wants to become more efficient than he currently is (for the season he’s scored 188 points and taken 167 shots – a PPS value of only 1.13, which is less than our Jazz average of 1.17.). I also love that he continues to block shots with aplomb. He is averaging 1.9 blocks per game. Which is what he averaged last season as well. The last time the Jazz had a guy block more shots per game than Big Al was back in 2006-2007 when Andrei Kirilenko blocked 2.1 shots a game – but he only played in 85% of the games that season. Al has missed 1 game since he came here last year.
C.J. Miles: I had high hopes that Miles would make the next step this season, and so far, like every year it seems, he has failed to do so. Last night he came off the bench and scored 17 points in 18 minutes. He went 6/8 from the floor, and 5/5 from the line. Points per shot? Out of this world for a wing: 2.13 PPS. For a point of comparison for the season he has a PPS value of only 1.03. He was super efficient last night, tantalizing us and teasing us with ‘en fuego’ CJ for yet another game. He also had 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. He also had the best sarcastic "good call, ref" reaction of the night after Deron Williams acted like he was shot in the eye from a high powered sniper rifle.
Raja Bell: DID YOU SEE THAT TWO HANDED JAM? Who cares that Raja had 12 points (again, 5/6 shooting, nailing his only three attempted), 3 assists, and a steal. RAJA BELL DUNKED THE BALL LIKE HE WAS VINCE CARTER CIRCA 1999 A.D.
Earl Watson: You like that Gordon Hayward and Devin Harris did on the floor, and you LOVE what Enes Kanter did (7 and 8 in 19 minutes? A 13+ minute stretch on the floor where he wasn’t gassed…), but we gotta recognize Earl "The Warrior" Watson playing injured with a bone bruise and still racking up 4 points (50 fg%), 6 assists, only 1 turn over, and 1 steal in 20 minutes. Harris also had 6 assists, but with 3 turn overs. Earl Watson is a keeper. He suited up against a bad team, to play on the first night of a back-to-back set – and played great. He did not have to. Bravo Earl.