USA TODAY Sports
A special recap of a phenomenal Jazz game.
Authors Note: Amar is out tonight, saving the lives of Detroit's citizens with his talent and wizardry. Thus, I'm doing the game recap. Because I like the idea, and this game fits really well, I'm going to try an experiment proposed by Truehoop's Henry Abbott three years ago: what if we had a game recap that didn't mention scoring at all? Plus, Kanter says scoring doesn't matter, and what he says, goes.
The Jazz had a record-setting defensive night against the hapless Charlotte Bobcats Friday night, winning 98-68 at home despite the absence of their two traditional stars, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.
In their stead, young Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter got the starts for the game, and immediately showed that their excellent defensive statistics off the bench translated to the starting role as well. Favors and Kanter's impressive paint defense, along with some swarming perimeter defense from the wings, limited Charlotte to just 9 points in the 1st quarter and 24 for the half. Despite just average offense, the Jazz were able to ride this early 1st half performance to a 23 point lead at halftime, which they never came close to relinquishing.
On the other hand, Charlotte's bigs disappointed hugely defensively. While they were certainly initially relieved to hear of Al Jefferson's sitting out of the game due to a sprained ankle given Jefferson's history of production against the young 'Cats, starting Kanter and Favors turned out to be no favor to Charlotte. Biyombo, Mullens, and McRoberts combined to allow 23 points and 22 rebounds for Enes Kanter, both career highs for the 20-year-old Turk. Jeremy Evans was also allowed to set or match new career highs by the woeful Charlotte bigs.
Amazingly, the rebounding totals were even more lopsided than the final score. The Jazz outrebounded the Bobcats by a margin of more than 2 to 1, 62-24. While certainly the Bobcats missed more shots, the Jazz even outrebounded the Bobcats on their own defensive glass: the Jazz generated 20 offensive rebounds for the night, while they allowed just 16 defensive rebounds. Despite not fighting for offensive rebounds, only generating 8 on the night, the Bobcats allowed the Jazz to accrue 30 fast break points on the night, on the other hand, the Bobcats' 16 defensive rebounds only led to 1 fast break finish.
In the end, the Jazz stifling defense under a new-look lineup turned league-average offense into a blowout victory with a 30-point margin. With an uncertain status for Millsap and Jefferson moving forward, the Jazz will look to build on this performance on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks this Monday.