The Difference Between a Fan and a Player - The Downbeat - # 676

Note: Sorry for the late DB. I have sick kids, which meant I spent the morning doing the bane of every teacher's existence: preparing Last-second Emergency Sub Plans. Ugh.

I'm bummed the Jazz lost last night. At the same time, I loved the game.

I loved the fast pace in the first half. I loved how the subs were able to push it to a 10-point lead in the early 2nd quarter. I loved the grind and spit-fight between the two teams in the second half. I loved that the Clips obviously came out pissed off at being embarrassed in the last game—and I loved that the Jazz stuck it right back at them. I loved watching two superstars go crazy against us (that would be the Clips). I loved watching 8 guys giving everything they had on the other side (that would be us—sorry Josh Howard, you can't be included).

And do you know what else I loved? That our guys weren't calling it a "moral victory" or anything of the sort. Here's CJ:

Cjtwitter_medium

And a CJ quote from (via SLTrib.com)

I don’t take anything from this. It’s a loss. I felt like it is a game we should have won. We had a chance to win. That beginning of that third quarter really hurt us. We missed a bunch of easy shots and a lot of jump shots. And then towards the end we had chances. They made big shots, and we had a couple we didn’t convert.

I feel like Marilla Cuthbert discovering Anne Shirley's been recommended to take a test to attend college. Reading this stuff from CJ Miles, watching him become a really good player and showing some pretty nice leadership, I'm left staring gape-eyed and crying out in pride: "Really? Our CJ?"

I think most fans look at a loss last night, not necessarily as a "moral victory", but still differently than a player: with an eye looking for good things. Afterall, that's what we care about: whether our team is consistently awesome or on the right path to getting there. And here's what looked like it's on the right path:

  1. Al's offense in the first half was as good as I've seen him. Ever. His defensive rotations were still slow, but not as bad as last week. The ankle looks to be getting better.
  2. Favors went mano-mano with Blake and was pretty awesome. How awesome? Even Locke complimented him.
  3. Kanter + Favors looked great—defensively and offensively
  4. CJ is playing like the guy we always hoped he could be
  5. Hayward is playing aggressive, looking to score, backing down to nobody, and becoming a demon on D. He's guarded SF's, SG's, and last night a PG that was killing us—weaving in and out and doing anything he wanted. How much more of this until we say that defensively, he's nudging the AK-Zone—able to guard the best player every night regardless of position? He'll never be a pure AK-clone because I don't see him guarding centers or power forwards, but still.
Here's Hayward guarding Chris Paul (remember, Paul's been dribbling in and out and generally doing whatever he wans all game). Paul scores, but it wasn't Hayward's fault. He just hit a tough shot.


Of course, it wasn't all sunny roses:

  1. PF Terminator, where have you gone? By my count, that's four straight games missing him. Let's hope we get the real Paul Millsap back soon.
  2. Earl with the sprain ... I'm terrified at the consequences if he's out long-term.
  3. Howard was garbage.
  4. Tinsley played 7 minutes at SG.
  5. Jeremy evans played exactly 1 second. Which was about 5 seconds more than Alec Burks.
  6. From KFAN, via Moni's blog: Hayward's T (first in his life) wasn't ideal: "It wasn’t even a good one. I didn’t get to yell at the ref or anything."

Something called the "Lob City Ledger" was impressed with the Jazz. After giving grades to their Clippers heroes (Paul, Griffin, and Mo of course), they decided to hand out a grade to the Jazz:

Lobcity_medium

Clips Nation had this to say about the Jazz:

Give a lot of credit to Utah in this one. Those boys came to play, and never gave up for a second. The Clippers opened the game with an alley-oop from Paul to Griffin, and followed that up with a series of big time finishes at the rim. But the Jazz continuously had an answer, looking to get out and run from the outset, putting a great deal of pressure on the Clippers. While Paul Millsap struggled tonight, Al Jefferson was terrific, torching the Clipper bigs with 18 points on 9/11 shooting in the first half. Throughout the entire game, the Jazz looked to push, allowing them to get transition points and trips to the free throw line. In addition, getting the ball across half court allowed them to initiate their offense early in the shot clock, assuring quality possession after quality possession. A lot of credit is owed to Coach Tyrone Corbin. He has done an excellent job of getting his team to execute what looks a whole lot like Jerry Sloan's old offense, without a great passing point guard. We saw some really nifty sets tonight, with Utah running diversionary double cuts pulling in the entire Clipper defense, followed by a third cut leading to an easy layup. They also executed great simple back cuts for easy points as well. Really great stuff, and maximum effort for 48 minutes as well.

Poll:

Oh, and another odd Jazz dream I had after the jump:

I am posting this with full understanding of how this can be used to psychoanalyze my deeply-rooted issues and subconscious prejudices:

Jazz are playing Orlando. Dwight is destroying Al, going for 40 points in the first half. The Jazz counter by giving Al 25 shots in the first half. It's halftime, and Locke is hosting Root Sports halftime show.

Locke speaks in a subdued, almost reverent voice:

"Today, we have a real treat. The Jazz coaching staff has agreed to share its method to forming in-game-strategy: BEHOLD, THE SEVENTY-SIXONATOR!"

Seventy-six red smiley faced balloons rise. Lock takes a pin and pops one. All the others giggle like a Chuzzle being tickled. A screen rises from the remains of the popped balloon.

Locke explains a stunning principle to winning NBA games:

"The scores are fake. Nobody remembers who made what baskets, so the scores are just made up as the game progresses. What really wins games is a principle called Positional Antecedence. (actual jargon from the dream).

"Basketball games work like Presidential elections. It doesn't matter how many people vote for each guy, it matters how many states get the majority vote for each guy (I know it's more complicated than that—but my subconscious doesn't, I suppose.)

"Same with basketball games. Total points don't matter—what matters is having the Antecedenal Primacy (actual dream jargon) of the majority of positions. You calculate who scored more from the starting C—that team gets one point. Same with PF, SF, and so forth. Add up the totals, and you have a winner. If it's close (say 5-4), then the fake score will be close. Otherwise the fake score will be a blowout.

"That's why the Jazz have to let Al shoot every shot if his counterpart is ripping his defense to shreds—the Jazz will not concede Antecedenal Primacy at the center spot without a fight."

In comes the Mailman, dressed like John Wayne:

"But if Dwight's scoring all their points, shouldn't the Jazz have everyone else score 15 apiece and get the Antequish Primate at every other spot? They'd win that way."

Locke's eyes go red, and he shouts: "FOOL! FOOL! YOU FOOLS!"

Then the screen ate Locke alive. He didn't scream. He said "I am the Walrus!"

Take from that what you will.

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