*sigh* - The Downbeat - #685

Rough couple of games for the Jazz and the frustration started to show last night. Millsap looked like he was ready to punt the ball into the nose bleeds at one point and, according to Brian T. Smith of the SL Tribune, Raja was complaining about screens while speaking to Matt Harpring.

I guess losses like these will cause these things to boil over. I don't think it has anything to do with animosity towards teammates or anything like that, just frustration because they really think that they can be, and want to be a good team.

I just think it is a good thing that the players care enough to be bothered by how the team is performing. The quickest way to spiral into a dreadful season is for the players to throw in the towel and just start going through the motions to get to the offseason. Luckily, the Jazz have guys like Earl that prevent such actions:

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Earl_tweet_2_medium

In lighter news, it seems like the NBA is taking its sweet time in releasing the participants for all the events of All Star Weekend. We're only 10 days away from the kickoff of ASW with the "Rising Stars Challenge" and we have yet to hear the players chosen to compete in the 3pt contest, Skills Challenge, or Dunk Contest. Last year we knew well in advance who the players chosen were.

There has been a rising surge of angst directed at the two former Mavs, Devin Harris and Josh Howard. Even the most moderate fans have begun to have their fill of the lack of energy and missed shots. Howard's struggles are no secret, but there was a point where he was having a very positive impact on the team. In Harris' case, things just haven't clicked. Al Jefferson took quite a while to come around and find a fit in the system, but even as he struggled you saw hints that it could work. With Harris, you just don't see it. Even when he has a good game, it doesn't really translate to success for the team. Its not really anything against Harris. I think he can be a great player in the right circumstances, I just don't know what those are quite yet.

The last player that drew this much ire from Jazz fans was Raja as he struggled through much of last season and the beginning of this season. It wasn't until the last 10 games that he has come around and is contributing in ways that are acceptable to all but the most ardent Anti-Bell fans. Maybe the same thing can happen for Harris, except, ya know, not take an entire season.

Personally, I would like to see Harris start by just buckling down on defense. Stop all of these point guards from going for 20+ points a game and let the offense roll from there.

The crazy thing I noticed during and after last night's game is that even the guys that get paid to peddle the Jazz FO's message have began to question the lack of minutes for the young guys. Harpring said it during the tv broadcast and this Tweet from PK (KFAN morning show):

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What happened to Millsap? His inspiring play during the month of January has fallen so far that all our posts about him being an All Star seem contrived. During this month (9 games) he has shot just 46.3% and never scored more than 15 points. My question to you, Dunkers, is what do you attribute this to? Is it just the grind of the game? Is it due to just how hard he has to work some games to get those points and rebounds? Tell us your theories below and whether you think the All Star break will help him.

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