NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 36:
Dallas Mavericks (13-21) @ Utah Jazz (17-18)
Save a Cowboy, beat a Maverick . . . yes, these are getting worse . . .
- Who: Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks
- What: did it on offense *and* defense
- When: particularly in the second half
- Where: everywhere, in transition, in the half court, on second chance shots, on the glass, and against dribble penetration defense,
- Why: because Mo Williams is currently injured and Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson allowed Darren Collison to score 9 points in 6:49 minutes to end the second quarter.
The Jazz and Mavs played in yet another tightly contested affair in Utah that featured a few hard fouls, a few techs and flagrants, and some late game heroics by some new faces. Gordon and Alec came off the bench to score 40 points (we finished with 100 -- so adding the 5 assists -- they were 50% of our offense tonight), and do everything. Beyond the 5:1 assist to turn over ratio they both got to the line 9 times each (Burks made 8, Hayward 7), they combined for 5 made threes, 10 rebounds, and 5 combined blocks and steals. More than their numbers, it was the things they did to help the team win that did not show up in the box score that mattered most.
Without Mo, or any other vet PGs down the stretch, Tyrone Corbin finished the game with Alec Burks, Randy Foye, and Gordon Hayward at the 1, 2, and 3 -- with Randy being a spot up guy on offense, Alec being the primary defender on Collison on defense, and Hayward being the primary facilitator on offense. It worked. The two non #3 lotto picks out of our presumed Core Four worked well with one another, and their aggressiveness really helped support our offense when Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap shot 5/14 and 6/14 respectively. Burks got in there on defense and was quick enough to keep Collison out of the paint even though screens, and Hayward had the poise to get the job done on offense without rushing or hesitating. He was, essentially, Butler Gordon Hayward.
It was a physical game and our four bigs managed 31 rebounds. (As an aside, as a team we also had 8 blocks, each important, none of the "block it and the team gets it, and scores" kind tonight!) None of them had stellar games, but responded to the physical challenge presented to them by Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, and Dirk Nowitzki. There were a lot of hard fouls both ways (UDQM). But this was more than anything, a display of our growth from last year to this year. Last year we lost this exact game, they were more physical, and bullied us. This game? We stood our ground, and equaled their physicality. Both Derrick Favors and Alec Burks sent Dirk to the ground in this game. Al Jefferson was getting pounded on by Kaman. Dirk was shoving people left and right. It was a Matt Harpring game, and he seemed to love it.
It was a growth game for Tyrone Corbin as well, maybe injuries forced his hand, but he did take the time (or let others pick for him) to pick the finishing group and handled the offense / defense subs much better than before. I said the x-factor was going to be coaching -- and Ty was equal to the task.
Jazz win. That's awesome.
The Jazz win by riding the youth, showing growth, toughness, and taking care of a desperate and dangerous team? That's even better.