I may be the only one in the world, but I actually enjoyed tonight's game.
I watched it with my kids, and we had virtually no access to the Game Thread or Twitter. So we just hung out together and watched the gam.
It wasn't great, of course. The Jazz lost. The final score was, again, deceivingly close. The players got outplayed. The coaches got outcoached.
I guess it was nice to see at least something work decently: the offense.
They shot 48% overall, 80% on FT's and scored over 100 points. That's something to enjoy with this team. I enjoyed how Trey played PG, both his scoring and his passing. I thought Hayward played well. Personally, I don't consider 4-10 a bad shooting night. That's one shot away from 50%, and I consider one shot from 50% within the acceptable range for a decently efficient scorer. And his passing was nice.
I thought Favors' scoring was terrific in his 25 minutes ... would have been nice if foul trouble hadn't kept him on the bench so much (#eyeroll).
Marvin continues to make me wonder what the hell was going on with him last year. Another nice performance from him. Jeremy Evans did Jeremy Evans things. I really liked how well Burks was able to penetrate and get inside. Now ... what he did once inside was ... um ... interesting. But hey: baby steps here. Rush got to play. Biedrins got to play (#ohwait).
Anyway, there was stuff to enjoy.
The defense? Abysmal, of course. I can't believe how horrifically confused the players look. One play really perfectly highlighted, to me, the problems. There was a high P&R and Burks ended up switched on to Dragic. Dragic tried to drive in. Burks was there. And then in came Brandon Rush from the corner to help. WHY?!?!?!?!? Burks had it handled. If Dragic put up a shot there, it would have been highly contested. The passing angle was already cut off. Why the freak did Rush feel compelled to help off the corner, leaving his guy wide open (nobody within 20 feet of him) for a three ... that was suddenly an easy pass for Dragic to make ... ONLY BECAUSE RUSH LEFT HIS GUY. There was no pass to him even available had the help not come. But "help" did come, leaving yet another wide open three to drain.
That's what I see all over. Help when help isn't needed. No help when help would be useful. Defensive rotations that contest bad shots and leave good shots wide open. It blows my mind. Are there any guiding principles to what the team is doing defensively? If so, they sure aren't manifest during the games.
Another thing that I don't get:
Biedrins checks in with 4:09 left in the game. What? The Jazz weren't making a run, but the game wasn't iced yet. Phoenix still had its starters in because they knew that a collapse was still possible. In fact, the Jazz had just stopped the Suns on three straight possessions. The Suns had only scored via FT's for the past three minutes.The Jazz needed a little bit more offense. And Favors, as we know, had played fairly well on the offensive side this game.
So in comes Biedrins.
Seriously, you're not even going to try to win the game anymore, Coach Corbin? Throw in the towel, wave the white flag, even though the opposing coach doesn't yet feel that the win is guaranteed?
I don't know. Every time I feel like I have a handle on our team's coach, he finds a new way to be inexplicable.
Three things that went well
- The offense. Again, it actually looked like a genuine NBA offense. There were cuts and stuff, drives to the paint, drawing double-teams and passing to a guy now open. That was nice to see.
- Marvin Williams. I don't know what it means for the team to see him play so well. Will he be in the team's future? Is he going to be a main building block? Is he just trade fodder? I honestly have no idea. But it is really nice to see him scoring so smoothly, so effectively, and just looking good out there. He's a great guy, and I'm happy to see him play well.
- Derrick Favors' offensive game. He's putting it together so much better right now. I haven't written his progress report yet, but keep this in mind: he's the one guy who's clearly showing progress thus far this year. It continued tonight. His moves to the hoop were strong, smart, and well-done.
Three things that weren't so awesome
- Kanter's having a hard time. He is still doing some things well, but there are a lot of mistakes and he just looks off when I watch him play.
- JL3 was the first off the bench and played 17 minutes. No second half minutes, which is a relief, but he played more first half minutes than ANY OTHER PLAYER ON THE TEAM! WILL THIS EVER MAKE SENSE!?!? At least he made a couple of shots. But cannot for the life of me figure out why he's playing. He doesn't even see wide open teammates on the P&R. I mean, isn't that Point Guard 101? The Pick and Roll is an offensive move intended to draw a double team to the point guard and thus opening up a wide open look to the basket by the screen setter. Isn't that the first bullet in the syllabus? I can't figure it out.
- The defense. They were just eaten alive by an efficient, well-executed offense. And it is particularly galling that this well-executing offense is made up of players almost universally scorned as ineffective scorers just a year ago. That hurts.
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Well, we get to do the same thing tomorrow night ... only in Phoenix. Our poor guys will probably be rather outmatched, but I hope we can at least see a few good things tomorrow too. I hope I can enjoy the game at least as much as I did tonight.
That said, if I were a betting man, I'd only wager on one more win before Christmas.