A week and a half ago, I thought the Jazz had officially blown it. That ridiculous loss to the Knicks, followed by a certain Texas Triangle sweep ... well, that should have been it. But then the Lakers also put up a couple inexcusable losses, the Mavs kicked the Jazz in the teeth then went fetal against the Pacers. And we're all back where we were two weeks ago. The Jazz have the 8th playoff spot.
Everything, of course, has to be appended with "for now" ... well ... for now. We've got two and a half weeks left and nine more games. Five wins may make the playoffs. And it may not. Until that final game is over on April 17, expect to hear and read the words "for now" a lot. The Jazz are in playoffs position ... for now. In a couple days, expect to hear that the Jazz are out of playoff position ... for now. And back in, and back out ...
Who knows how it will end?
Back from the Dead
The Jazz were dead tonight.
Did they get down by nine in the first quarter? Of course they did. Did they come back strong only to fall apart at the end of the first half—a monument to disgusting basketball perfectly embodied by perhaps the worst end-of-quarter play of the year? Of course they did. Did they squander a second-half surge and get down by double figures—again? Of course they did. Did they manage a worse end-of-quarter inbounds play in the 3rd than they did at half? Amazingly, they actually pulled it off. Was there terrible defense on the wings and down low? Do we need to even ask?
At the same time, there were stretches of terrific play. Beast play by Favors. Al piling in points. Hayward deciding to take the mantle of the mythical pass-first PG upon himself. Millsap doing Millsap things. Beast defense in the 3rd with Favors. Then Beast defense in the late 4th without him.
Even so, all would have been lost had it not been for one guy:
Mo Williams, the Game Ball goes to you
You made the shots. You made the plays. You came through tonight.
I had three favorite plays tonight:
1. Hayward and Favors connect on a slick P&R leading to a dunk. This, I believe, is one bit of awesomeness we'll get to enjoy for the next few years.
2 & 3. Mo's dribble drives ending in boss passes to Al for easy points at the rim (including one no-looker that was reminiscent of Deron and Stock). More than the scoring, these two plays made me cheer for Mo Williams tonight.
* * *
Who knows what will happen over the next few games? Who knows what will happen even tomorrow*?
But for one night, at least, Hero Mo won us the ball game.
* We know one thing that will happen. Deron will be booed. If you're going, please don't. As a favor to me. Even if you can't get over the end of the Deron era ... even if you can't look back and remember all the good times—and there were good times to put this year's #PlayoffPush to shame. Even then ... well, we saw tonight what a great crowd is like: they didn't waste their time on being nasty to the visitors—they came to cheer on their Blazers, and they put our recent ESA crowds to shame. The seats were filled, and the crowd was so busy chanting "DE-FENSE!" and such at the top of their lungs that they didn't have time to be ignernt** to one particular opponent. All for a team with really no shot at making the playoffs.
* * Yes, I'm adding an asterisk to my asterisk comment. "Ignernt" is my favorite rural Utah-ism. My grandmother could list off dozens of people who have been ignernt at her. It's even better than "used-ta-could", and that's saying something.