The Toronto Raptors won for the first time against the Utah Jazz for, essentially, the first time in the Cenozoic Era. They were down early, and could have quit -- but did not. They fought, and fought, and prevailed in Double Overtime on the second night of a back-to-back. They exorcized a lot of demons on this road trip by beating both the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz. The Jazz, off of multiple days rest, were without Big Man Al Jefferson - their leading scorer and rebounder this season. Not a lot of things went well for Utah after the first 12 minutes of action. Only five guys really showed up - and they were our Quintet.
After the jump – a breakdown of their play from last game!
Paul Millsap: The Paperboy played like the Mailman tonight, getting 30 and 10. Or more precisely, 31 and 11. I guess we kind of took Karl Malone for granted, but this was just Millsap’s 7th 30 and 10 game of his career. Somewhat disappointingly, the Jazz have gone 2-5 in Sap’s 30/10 games. Tonight was another bittersweet experience. Sap was big inside, making 8 of his 9 shots at the rim, however he failed to kill it from his ‘money’ area around the midrange. Between 10’ and 23’ Paul only went 1/9, which is clearly below average for him this season. He did have an amazing three pointer when we needed him most. And he made a number of tough shots – however we just couldn’t get over the Raptors. Sap’s blocked shot in crunch time (by Amir Johnson) galvanized this point. He also added 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block last night.
Devin Harris: Harris had a heck of a game. This was one of the few times this season where he’s come out in full-attack mode, and he was going to the basket and putting pressure on the defense to stay in front of him. He finished with 24 points (8/12 shooting, 7/11 at the free throw line, 1/2 from deep), 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block – and the irrational hate from so many fans. Yes, he almost Nick Anderson ‘d it in Double Overtime – but we’re not even in Overtime without him. Forget, we don’t even have that big lead we were all crying about, if it wasn’t for him. In a game where Earl Watson played like Jason Hart it was nice to see Devin Harris have his best game of the season.
Derrick Favors ( @DFavors14): Favors started at center in place of injured Al Jefferson last night, and he had 16 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block. That’s not bad for a kid who is 20 and 194/356ths years old. Sure, he did not dominate, and he did not shooting 62.5 fg% or anything outstanding like that – but he also played 42 minutes and was called for fouls only 3 times. Furthermore, in the two games he has started this season off at center he is averaging 40.5 mpg, 18.0 ppg (53.3 fg%), 11.5 rpg, 1 bpg, and 3 fouls per game. Sure, the sample size is small, and he was going up against Spencer Hawes and Aaron Gray – but these are things to be happy about with Favors.
C.J. Miles ( @CJMiles34): Last night’s game was 48 minutes, and then on top of that, two over times. It’s a long game. And during this game, a game where Gordon Hayward shot 1/9 (and played 37 minutes), and Josh Howard shot 0/5 (in 16 minutes) – C.J. Miles played only 21 minutes, while shooting 4/11. Obviously 36.4 fg% isn’t great, but it is better than 7.1% that Hayward/Howard shot. The argument we keep hearing is that "it’s not the minutes which make CJ player better, it’s just that when he’s playing well he gets minutes". Is the same statement applicable in reverse, and internally consistent, for the other wings on the team; or do we only apply this rule to C.J. miles? C.J. was going to the rack, penetrating and creating for his team – and making outside shots. He went 1/3 from three, 1/2 from 16’-23’ feet, 1/1 from 3’ to 9’, and was drawing fouls. The only guys who played less minutes than he did in a double overtime game were a) either playing in their first game off an injury, or b) a young newbie (Jeremy Evans, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks). I’m obviously an advocate of playing guys who are playing well. If I want to avoid being a hypocrite, though, I must also advocate for pulling guys who are playing poorly. Our of the three guys named in this write-up, I think C.J. played the least poor, he did finish with 11 points, a couple of boards, steals, and didn’t miss any free throws.
Raja Bell: Bell somehow played 38 minutes, and I hardly remember him at all in this game. He shot 50 fg%, scored 11 points, finished +14 in +/-, and rotated well on defense to prevent Bargnani from shooting even MORE open threes. It was an easy decision to pick Bell here, as we only had 5 people show up all game.