After Miami's Game 4 win tonight, there may be only one basketball game left this year, and sadly, that game is assured to not involve the Utah Jazz. On that dismal note, let's have some fun to lighten ourselves up. The Jazz played 15 players this year. I'm going to go through them alphabetically, and find their best games this season. This will largely be measured in box score stats, with some adjustments thrown in completely unscientifically whenever I feel it necessary. Let's get started:
Blake Ahearn - 5/2 against San Antonio - 5 PTS, 2 AST, 2/3 FG in 5:33 MIN
I had already forgotten that Ahearn did this for us in the playoffs... sure, it was in garbage time in a 30 point deficit, but he made 5 points and 2 assists in 5 minutes! That's pretty good! He had a +2 plus/minus in a game the Jazz lost by 31! Of course... Derrick Favors was a +6 while he was on the floor. Oh dear.
Raja Bell - 2/6 against New York - 15 PTS(4/7 FG), 4 REB, 1 STL, 5/5 FTA
This was the Jeremy Lin game, which featured Bell's highest point total and game score of the season. He hit above 50% of his shots, and actually shot the ball, which is nice. It's probably worth pointing out that he has no assists here: I don't know why, but for all of the flack we give Raja Bell, his complete, Morris Almond-esque inability to pass to get his man in a position to score is one of his worst characteristics. His season high in assists was 3, his AST% only 7 percent (Compare to, say, Hayward, at 15.9%).
Alec Burks - 3/18 against LAL - 17 PTS (7/10 FG), 3 REB in 19:3
Sure, he didn't contribute much besides scoring. But if you're looking for sheer scoring ability, 17 points in 19 minutes of playing time is a quick as you can reasonably expect, especially against the large and long defenders of the Lakers. They were important points too, as the Jazz won by 4.
DeMarre Carroll - 4/9 against San Antonio - 16 PTS(6/8 FG, 3/4 3P), 4 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL in 17:52
DeMarre Carroll sees your scoring prowess, Alec Burks, and raises it, by scoring 16 points in less than 18 minutes. He also added 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He was a +13, the Jazz lost by 10. I don't know if this is a case where it is fair to be mad at Ty for not playing him more, though, as he played most of the second half after playing not at all in the 1st. Ty tried to ride the hot hand here.
Jeremy Evans - 4/26 against Portland - 13 PTS (5/9 FG), 10 REB, 1 AST, 3 STL, 3 BLK in 28:04
Obviously, this was the game in which we rested our good players for most of the game, but Jeremy came in and played well, while also demonstrating that he's not quite there yet. Probably the most encouraging was how he was able to insert himself defensively into the game with playing time, with all of those rebounds, steals, and blocks. If the roster looks similar next year, I'd play Evans at the 3 more often.
Derrick Favors - 3/17 against GSW - 23 PTS(7/13 FG, 9/9 FT), 17 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK in 33:46
This is the one that comes to mind, the one which he dominated at home to bring the Jazz to overtime, including the monster and-1 at the end of regulation. While the GSW front line is fairly small, Favors did a good job of rebounding against them. Utah had a 35% offensive rebounding percentage, GSW only rebounded 6% of their own shots. Take that, Mark Jackson.
Devin Harris - 4/6 against GSW - 28 PTS (8/13 FG, 5/8 3P, 7/8 FT), 2 REB, 5 AST in 39:07
This was actually surprisingly difficult to decide. The problem is that Harris never had an ultra-efficient game with both quantity of shots and reasonable passing skills. This is probably a problem going forward. Against GSW, he scored efficiently, but didn't pass the ball like you'd like to see. Of course, scoring 28 points on only 13 shots is really good. In fact, towards the end of his game log, I actually start to get annoyed with how much he was shooting: "10 3s in less than 30 minutes, Devin? Really?", I say. But then it turns out he made 6 of them. That's really efficient, you can't be mad at that.
Gordon Hayward - 4/11 against Houston - 29 PTS(9/14 FG 4/5 3P, 7/7 FT), 6 AST, 2 REB, 2 STL
Okay, okay, Kevin O'Connor. When you drafted G-Time, we booed. You said to give him two years, and let you know how it all was panning out. Well, it's been two years, and... we're impressed. Arguably the team's most important player down the stretch, when he played some pretty big numbers totals for a non-star, the fact that a 22 year old can throw up a 29 point, 6 assist (0 turnovers) game from the wing position on only 14 shots is pretty impressive. His basketball IQ consistently impresses, and this game was a great example of it.
Josh Howard - 1/10 against CLE - 17 PTS (6/9 FG, 5/6 FTA), 4 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL
This is our first early season contribution to the list, and it comes from Josh Howard. Josh Howard is a better passer than Raja Bell is. Looking back on it, there probably was a time at which it would have been reasonable to think that Josh Howard was a decent signing. He amassed point totals like in this game, and rebounded too. Unfortunately, by and large, he was shooting too many shots to be efficient.
Al Jefferson - 4/16 against Dallas - 28 PTS(14/25 FG), 26 REB, 1 AST, 2 BLK, 1 STL, 1 TO in 54:04
This isn't the Game Score method's favorite game of Al's this season(this one is), likely due to the 28 points on 25 shots thing, but in probably the 2nd biggest game of the regular season, Al came out and put up a 28/26. That's really, really, really big time. 26 rebounds! Admittedly, this was a triple overtime game, but those are numbers we haven't seen since Carlos Boozer left. Also, Al Jefferson is a better passer than Raja Bell. He only learned how to pass this year.
Enes Kanter - 3/18 against LAL - 17 PTS (6/7 FG, 5/7 FT), 8 REB, 1 AST in 22:52
Enes Kanter's best game, and it isn't particularly close. He was efficient here, drew fouls, and limited the effectiveness of Gasol and Bynum to take the Jazz to a 4 point win. Also Alec Burks' best game, our rookies must also have a distaste for Laker yellow. Enes Kanter, regrettably, is not a better passer than Raja Bell.
C.J. Miles - 2/29 against Houston - 27 PTS (10-16 FG), 1 REB in 26:35
Oh, C.J. Here you have 27 points against Houston, easily your highest total of the season, and yet back it up with no other statistics. I like your personality, I like your jump shot, I like your style, in your words, "I just chill I'm cool.. laid back..." I will remember your time here fondly. But I recognize why it has likely come to an end.
Paul Millsap - 4/24 against Phoenix - 26 PTS(10/18 FG), 15 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL, 1 BLK, in 40:31
Paul, you were ridiculous this season. From the earliest moments of the year where you were a legitimate All-Star contender through to the absolutely most important game of the year, the regular season game against PHX, you delivered. Consider how amazing that is: in the two most important Jazz games of the season, the two best players put up their best individual performances. Here, Millsap carried the Jazz to a comeback win in the 4th, putting up a +21 in the game. Take a look at his game log this season. You find a way to keep Paul Millsap.
Jamaal Tinsley - 2/2 against GSW - 9 PTS, 13 AST, 6 REB, 2 STL in 34:18
The game that really started the Tinsley experience, Jamaal hadn't played this many minutes since 2007-08. Tinsley took advantage of the time, putting up a Rondo-esque statline and performance, showcasing his unique approach to the game. Tinsley made this season significantly more fun to watch, and this game was an example, as well as a tease of what the Jazz could be with a pass-first PG with flair.
Earl Watson - 2/4 against LAL - 8 PTS, 11 AST, 2 STL in 26:26
Only two days after Tinsley's performance at the top of the PG pool, it was Earl Watson's turn back in charge, putting Devin Harris in secondary position in minutes played as Earl led the Jazz' inspired defense to a 3 point victory, including the 4th quarter comeback where he played 15 straight minutes at +11. It was after this game that the questions surrounding Devin Harris were loudest, but Jazz fans were simply happy with Earl's performance at home against the Lakers.
If you think I'm wrong on these, or just generally want to engage in nostalgia on what may turn out to be the season's eve, get the conversation started in the comments.