Game 53: Utah Jazz 96 @ Los Angeles Clippers 105
Chris Paul is getting that monkey off of his back, slowly, but surely. He commandeered his group and their sailed right around us, through us, and too far for us to reach. This was a great year for Paul vs. the Jazz, as he now has 2 more wins to his slowly growing tally. Good for him!
On the Jazz side of the ball things were, well, difficult. I felt like Big Al needed to be his continued solid self; that Devin Harris had to jump out on Paul early; that 'Sap would have to challenge Blake Griffin -- and that we needed something from our younger group.
Devin Harris had as many assists as CP3 did, but only took 4 shots. He just couldn't keep up. Big Al was Big on offense, netting 26 points, though zero free throw attempts (which sucks, he deserves more than zero). He only had 4 rebounds, which was surprising. Paul had 18 and 9, with 5 assists, but he shot 6/14. He did make up for it somewhat by going 6/6 at the free throw line. The Jazz left 9 points there in this game going 22/31.
What about our youth? Our "future"? The pups? Well, Gordon Hayward is continuing to be more reliable, in terms of production. Not for shooting. He went 4/12, and missed all his threes, and shot 67% from the ft line. Some guys keep thinking that he should play "shooting guard"; however, well, he's not making right now. Prob better as a SF anyway as he is an adept rebounding (7 tonight), and still had 2 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal. His 14 points was almost as much as the rest of the youth put together.
Enes Kanter played the least, but he did finish with 7 points and 4 rebounds in 11 minutes, going perfect from the field and getting to the line for two shots. (If HE can get to the line why don't the refs allow Jefferson 2 shots a game?) Derrick Favors played 18 minutes and made a shot, which is an improvement from last night. He finished the game with 5 points and 6 rebounds. Clearly these two guys are producing, but they are a few years from being as reliable as Big Al and Sap.
Last, but not least we get to the usual Alec Burks report . . . in 22 minutes he shot 1/7. Yeah. Ouch. He doesn't do enough on the floor right now to deserve more minutes when he plays like that. He needs to get some boards or make plays on defense. He did have 2 assists and got to the line three times . . . but still, not his best moment in a Jazz uni. Thankfully C.J. Miles went 4/6 in this game, and shot 3/3 from deep, and 2/2 from the line. He finished with 13 points in 26 minutes, off of 6 total shots. His two late threes helped get our hopes up.
I'm happy this week is over. And I think the Jazz are too. We took a hit to our playoff push; but that doesn't mean that the Jazz are going to give up. They won't. And we shouldn't either!