I got to attend the game tonight in person thanks to a great b-day present from my wife. Living in Montana it's not very often that I get to see games in person, I think the last one I attended was in 2011.
I attended Utah State and lived in SLC for a few years after college in the really 2000's so I was already familiar with the city.
We came down Friday evening and spent the day today wandering around downtown. It was like old times...I once again drooled at the nice old guitars at intermountain guitar and banjos and acoustic music, and almost pulled the trigger on a beautiful sounding used Martin, but like always couldn't commit.
Pre-game meal was at Red Iguana, and then we headed for the arena.
For other SLC dunkers thinking of attending a game the gates open at 5:30. We got there just after and headed into the arena. Before heading to our seats we hit up the FANZZ store looking for some gear. After much trial and error I found a baseball hat that I liked. It's one I hadn't seen before, wool dark, dark blue or black? with a yellow/gold note on front...curved rim not boxy, kind of old old school. I also picked up a favors t-shirt because he's great, and signed for 4 more years.
Two Jazz players were shooting when we got there, Tinsley and Burks. Tinsley was really practicing his threes while burks was doing a little of everything. I like Burks, but seeing his shooting motion up close doesn't give me a ton of hope that he'll improve it much. On the Rockets side J-Lin and Harden we're taking shots and then later Aaron Brooks came out and put in some pretty methodical work. I was impressed by Harden, he looked pretty focused, and has that assassin look to him. In the meantime Dennis Lindsey was chatting on the front row seats with Keving McHale and some other guys I didn't recognize. He seemed to be on pretty friendly terms with a lot of the Rockets staff.
As a side note if you get lower bowl seats and get to the game early you can pretty much walk around wherever and get Almost all the way down to the court. Most people show up pretty late, and once you're in the section the ushers don't seem to care if you're the weird fan taking a lot of photos of pre pre game stuff.
Once it got closer to game time the whole teams came out to put up shots. I focused mostly on watching outside shots and was impressed by Jefferson's form as well as Ian Clark's ability to swish the 3's one after another. Clark was messing with mike Harris a lot, throwing an arm up in front of him when he tried to shoot. Hayward was pretty focused shooting and looked good as well. Favors just seemed to be wandering around a lot and maybe mumbling to himself, he didn't really seem to be too focused, but really most of the players were also pretty relaxed.
We sat next to a nice older gentleman who brought his granddaughter with him to the game. He worked for a heavy machinery company in the valley and had gotten the tickets from his work. It was pretty cute, his ~8 yr old granddaughter was excited to be there, if not necessarily for the jazz team specifically, but for the chance to catch a prize from the blimp, and to watch the jazz dancers. I think she really had a good time and was mesmerized by the halftime gymnasts.
o.k., the game what can I say. People seemed excited to be there and things started pretty well for the good guys. I was hoping that we would be able to hear what the players were saying on the court, but it was far too noisy. The experience was great in person, but honestly, I saw a lot of the same things that I pick up on t.v.. The big video screens were really nice, we could see the biggest screen just fine, but had to search around the arena a bit to find screens with stats.
i tried to watch body language, etc...pretty closely, but didn't pick up on too much. Honestly, it seemed like the jazz players were all pretty focused. Kanter played great to start, but still got pulled aside quite a bit, not only by the coaches, but also by the vets like Jefferson. Jefferson, I think was a good pick up. He was really active trying to talk to the younger guys during breaks, and has seemed to embrace that mentor role. The players all seemed to listen to Corbin during time-outs although some of the injured vets like Rush and Marvin Williams looked pretty bored. Bear tried to pump up the crowd, but there was a lot of nervousness in the arena during the second half.
here's a few quick random thoughts on players that I watched as I don't think I can add much to the X's and O's discussion.
Rockets: Howard....huge guy, by far the most impressive physical specimen on the court. Garcia....punk, really didn't like him. Harden...impressive, we can only wish to get a player like him. Ronnie Brewer...he just looked kind of sad. McHale,....hobbling, felt bad for him.
Jazz: Kanter....really strong, really indecisive. JL3....good energy, really tries and cares, probably playing outside of ideal role. Trey Burke...present. Biedrins...MIA? Evans...looked sad as well. Gobert....even if his game wasn't great, I was impressed by how much he cared. I was impressed by his intensity, even if he doesn't have the skills yet to match.
Highlight of game experience,..seeing Jerry Sloan in the stands. He was one row below us, but behind the jazz bench. I took a few photos from the end of his row, but didn't want to interrupt or interfere with his night. After the game mark eaton was chatting with him, and he was also surrounded by quite a few awestruck fans. It was nice to see how excited people were just to be standing near him.
That's all, sorry no photos, I haven't figured that part out posting out yet.
It was really fun to see the game live and to be surrounded by so many other Jazz fanatics. The diversity of the fan community is impressive, and it's great to see so many families and kids at the games. The kids especially seemed to have the best time of all.