NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 11:
Utah Jazz 83 @ Washington Wizards 76
Jazz go 2-2 on the road!
It was bad . . .
. . . but it got better.
- Tyrone Corbin (Head coach): Ty has done two things differently this season which I feel necessary to point out. Why? Not just for novelty's sake, but also because they are positive changes. The first is that Ty is willing to tinker a lot more with lineups than he did in his previous seasons as head coach. For the most part everyone except Mo Williams and Al Jefferson are being switched around in and out of the starting lineup, or at one or another position. He's trying new lineups, and while he's not sticking with them, he is trying them. So far in the last 11 games we've seen Paul Millsap at the three, DeMarre Carroll at the two, Marvin Williams at the four, and so forth. He's trying to mix and match, and if he keeps experimenting (like I theorized this season should be seen as) then we're bound to find something that works. The second thing is that he's rolling with the hot hand. Last season it didn't matter if player X was doing great, because player X was going to sit in a few minutes and not play the rest of the game due to his simplified, but hard coded, rotations. That's not the case anymore. We've seen Corbin roll with Randy Foye for the entire 4th quarter before -- and last night bench him after 17 minutes. We've seen him stick with Derrick Favors, or last night DeMarre Carroll, over the more normative rotations. Corbin is making some improvements. He seems poised for that 'big jump' you need from year 2 to year 3. That doesn't mean he's going to be the best ever. It just means he's on track to improve.
- Al Jefferson (C, 30:38 minutes): In a directionless game it's good to have a strong rudder. In the third quarter Al got sick and tired of all these snakes on this plane, and decided to just go out there and win the game. He made a TON of great shots (inside and out, hooks, and layups) to get us going in the third quarter. He went 8-12, and had 6 rebounds as the Jazz fought back from being down by like 7 points to being up for good. That doesn't mean Al had his best game of his carer or anything. The dumb passes that he had in the Denver Nuggets game came back and guys were stealing inbounds passes off of him. Al also played very poor transition defense, letting Emeka Okafor beat him down the court countless times. Valid criticism aside, Big Al played big last night, and we needed it. He finished with 21 points (52.6 fg%, 1.11 PPS), 13 rebounds (4 offensive), 2 blocks, and 1 assist.
- Gordon Hayward (SF/SG, 25:17 minutes): Gordon was moved to the bench (good move? bad move? We can debate this later), and responded with a "there's no way you should bench me" game. He was aggressive and assertive off the bench. Is it only going to happen next year if Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are gone? Anyway, Gordon had 15 points (59.3 TS%, 1.50 PPS), 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 three, and went 6/6 from the free throw line. No starter had as many FTA as he did. And he did all of this in a little over half the game. This is the problem though, when he's playing with the starters he is too passive. When he plays with the bench guys he shows that he should be starting. Maybe the secret is to have him have the ball in his hands with the starting group? Is that impossible?
- Mo Williams (PG, 36:01 minutes): Mo shrug off his shooting slump from the 4th quarter of the Boston game and did what he had to do in a secondary role. He had 12 points, made all his FTs, made one three (50 3pt%), and added 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. He shot 45.5 fg%, which isn't John Stockton level, but for a 'normal' point guard who shoots mainly from the outside I'm totally fine with his 5/11 performance. It's more statistically representative of who he is as a player than missing 6 shots in a row, like he did against the Celtics.
- Derrick Favors (PF/C, 29:07 minutes): Favors got the start at the 4/5 last night, moving Paul Millsap to the three (Paul had a 2/13 shooting night, awful). Favors had a double double (but one of his tip ins was credited to Sap), so he officially ended up with 9 points and 10 rebounds. He seems to get gypped a lot, having blocks be called goaltends, and so forth. He seems to have a trouble finishing with contact though. Last night he went 3/10, and the night before he went 3/8. It's not like he's missing jumpers. He's missing contact layups and dunk attempts. He needs to get to the line more to even it out, because right now he's losing the points that he's earning. And the refs aren't sending him to the line as much as we'd want (unlike vs. the Boston Celtics when he went there 14 times -- he's playing the same game, just not getting the same calls). Favors did go 3/4 from the free throw line, and added 3 blocks and 2 steals. He was a big defensive force, but his scoring looks worse than it actually is.
- Marvin Williams (SF/PF, 27:11): Marvin was also sent to the bench (Randy Foye started and went 1/5 -- and doesn't bring anything else to the table), and in his time responded with a 7 points, 8 rebound night. He should have had a few more boards, but didn't have good enough hands. He continues to shoot poorly, missing both of his three point attempts, and going 3/6 from the free throw line. He should have also had a double double, but he didn't get it done. He did also add one assist, steal, and block. I think he may benefit from being an off the bench guy as I think he can do so many things well against opposing benches. However, he's talented enough to start with Gordon -- so it's a similar problem. With the starters he is limited in what he can do, but off the bench he proves to be superior to some of the guys starting ahead of him (*cough* Randy Foye *cough*)
- DeMarre Carroll (SF, 23:15): Carroll followed up his great shooting night in Philly with an 'okay' one in D.C.; however, his main benefit on the team is to be that scrappy hustle player. He dives on the floor, is always running to where the ball is going, and gets involved in a ton of plays other players don't bother to get into. He had 7 points and 7 rebounds as well! Wow. Look at our bench production! You could argue that Carroll should be starting for what he brings -- a tireless energy guy who doesn't need shots to be happy.
Call me a homer, but I'm saying DeMarre was the dude who changed how things were going. This was a sloppy game where two teams were playing poorly. Big Al didn't get cooking until late, but DeMarre was the only guy (for the second straight game) hustling out there. He was getting loose balls, second chance points, flat out STEALING rebounds from Wizards players. You need a hard worker out there when the easy stuff isn't working. Carroll worked hard out there. Honorable mention to Gordon Hayward though, we're not in this game without him -- and Big Al's heroics are moot.
A few injuries ago it would have been Marvin Williams' driving dunk in traffic, but he got fouled and missed the jam. But it definitely was Derrick Favors slam.
It's at the 0:31 mark here.
The Good News:
We escape the east with a 2-2 road trip. This would normally be called a victory. We also tried out a few more line ups and finally got Favors a start.
The Bad News:
The results from this trip beyond the W/L record are mixed. We needed three overtimes to beat the Toronto Raptors, and played a near perfect game against the Boston Celtics. Then played horribly from the get-go against the Philadelphia 76ers, only to grind out a win against a winless team, the Washington Wizards. It would have been more reasonable if we laid the egg in Boston, but had the hard fought loss in Philly. We didn't. So I guess we play up and down to our competition?
Also Mo and Randy are no longer on fire.
The Jazz play the Houston Rockets on Monday at home, then have three days off (woo!). They do not play again until a home and home series against the Sacramento Kings on Friday/Saturday. Ideally the team should figure out how to play to our strengths during this stretch. It should not be wrong to expect us to win all of these games. What the team does, on the other hand, has clearly been beyond some of our expectations.
Post Game Immediate Reaction Video:
If you missed this somehow . . .