NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 46:
New Orleans Hornets (15-29) @ Utah Jazz (24-21)
Someone please guard Vasquez tonight . . .
No Gordon Hayward. No Eric Gordon. No Mo Williams. So what we saw was a healthy dose of Greivis Vasquez looking like the best guard on the floor, as he finished with 17 points (21 shots though), 13 assists, and 3 rebounds. He also finished with a close loss on the second night of a back to back as the Jazz started off poorly, but climbed back in the second quarter. Tyrone Corbin playing with his team missing two rotation guys, make smart substitutions and kept one starter on the floor for almost every second of the game. Was this a product of a coaching doctrine shift or because we were without two rotations guys? I don't know. I do know that every other team in the league tries to keep at least one ANCHOR starter in there -- very few teams go for the hockey line change of 5 off / 5 on. We didn't do that, and we looked like a much more balanced team tonight.
I think the mixed lineups worked, especially because each player kind of has their own domain and making the lineups more dynamic and modular helps people get in their spots. The team co-operated tonight and players were making the extra pass. Corbin was also riding guys who were playing well. It culminated in a very balanced game where guys were put into situations to thrive. Randy Foye stepped up big with 14 points, 8 assists, and got to the line 7 times (a few were from illegal defense calls). He made some threes, but he was facilitating more than we've seen him in previous games. (Partly because we needed him to handle the ball more). Paul Millsap had a shaky start by finished with 25 and 10, with 2 blocks, 1 assists, and a new career high 16 FTA. Al Jefferson also had 22 and 5. Millsap was effective in the third, and Jefferson brought us home. But it was the inspired play of Derrick Favors (15, 6, 1, 1, 23 minutes) that helped us get back into the game.
The Jazz didn't do everything perfectly, we're still getting worse from downtown as the season progresses; but the extra passing helped mitigate that longbomb, and we finished by shooting 50.0 fg%. The pick and roll defense was still as bad as it every was, but we baited the jumpier Hornets players into fouling a lot -- Robin Lopez, Anthony Davis, Roger Mason Jr., and Ryan Anderson all had 5 or more fouls. The Jazz shot 46 total foul shots.
Two Jazz players who had not been performing well also stepped up: Earl Watson finished the game a +12 in +/-, and added 1 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists (no turn overs); and Alec Burks finished with 8 points (2 FGA) backed by the strength of his driving ability (5/6 from the FT line). Burks ran the plays, and finished with 2 assists and 1 steal for his troubles. His corner three was a sight for sore eyes. Both guys need to keep it up if they want to continue getting playing time when we're fully healthy again.
It would be great if Marvin Williams and DeMarre Carroll could be turned into one player . . . Marvin played 36 minutes, and DeMarre played the other 12. And as the SF core tonight they finished with a combined 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, and 1 block.
Over all it was a solid win, we only gave up 10 offensive rebounds to a really long crew and didn't let things get out of hand -- like our FIRST game this season against them where they came back with Ryan Anderson bombs and Vasquez floaters.
Jazz go into February with a 25-21 record -- and are doing it without Mo and Gordon. Not half bad.