Oh man, the game was close but in the end the Utah Jazz lost to the New Orleans Pelicans to the final score of 105-98. This was almost the inverse of the game these two teams played in Salt Lake City where the scoring was high, and the Jazz were getting to the line. In this game the Pelicans and Jazz had sputtering offenses to the start the game; and much of the game was spent watching guys get their shots blocks (20 blocks in this game, to 162 shots taken, which seems like a high ratio of guys getting swatted -- once in every eight shot attempts).
In this game the Pelicans were the aggressors, and they won (or tied) the Jazz score for each quarter of the game. They were also the aggressors on the court going to the free throw line 33 times (we went to the line nearly 40 times last week). Thankfully they shot poorly from the stripe, otherwise this game would have been over much sooner. The Jazz went to the line over 10 times less -- but shot an uncharacteristically high 80 ft%. Small victories.
Gordon Hayward had yet another poor shooting night but what everyone really wants to talk about is the return of Trey Burke (and Jeremy Evans). They both played very well, and I think as a Jazz fan the bad times are almost over.
- Outside shooting -- the Jazz shot 33.3 3pt% tonight, and won the outside battle by going 8/24 from outside. Trey Burke went 1/2, Richard Jefferson went 3/6, and John Lucas III went 4/5. It's not always going to be laser shooting from these three behind the arc but I'll take it. No one else connected from deep, but for the most part these three guys were capable of spacing the floor!
- Bigmen coming around -- the group of Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and Jeremy Evans took up the majority of the minutes inside for our team. And they combined to score 40 points, grab 21 rebounds, but only block 2 shots. These are not natural scorers just yet, but in time they are going to be legit two-way players, each of them. Favors had yet another double double; and Kanter just missed out by one board (and improvement). Evans went 4/4 for the night, and added 1 rebound, 1 block, 1 steal, and improved range. His activity was sorely missed.
- PEOPLE ARE HEALTHY! -- So with Trey Burke (who came off the bench to score 11 points, and gather 1 made three, 1 assists, 1 rebound, and 1 steal) back, and Jeremy Evans back -- everyone who was injured is back except for Andris Biedrins. We're finally healthy. We're moving forward!
- Yet another team scored 50+ fg% against us. The defense was supposed to be the redeeming factor this season, but so far this has not been the case.
- Anthony Davis had yet another monster night against our potential big men duo of greatness -- going for 22 points, 9 rebounds, 8 blocks, 4 assists, and making all kinds of crazy shots. It's a negative when our bigs are getting punked regularly by one guy on the inside.
- Gordon Hayward, mang, you shot 1 for 17 tonight and went 0 for 8 from downtown. You also had 11 assists, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal -- but you need to be able to shoot and score at a higher rate to display a more complete game in a contract year.
Jazz are getting better, health is a big plus. And the team is more fun to watch, even if the W/L is still horrible.