Sure, it didn't have the satisfaction a playoff series win would have had, but a win over LA is a win over LA. They say that the pre-season doesn't matter (Ross Siler might disagree), but it's never okay to lose, right?
And while the win means nothing in the grand scheme of things, it was great to have the NBA officially underway again. We can start seeing how players have developed over the summer and get the tiniest glimpse into what we can expect for the upcoming year.
The Jazz started out this game like they were playing the first quarter of game 6 last year. And for those that don't remember or may have had that memory surgically removed from your brain, that's not good. They couldn't make a shot to save Harpring's knees. That, coupled with LA shooting 70% from the field, led to a 7-point deficit after the first.
That lead would increase to 10 at one point before the Jazz turned it around midway through the second and closed out the first half trailing by just two. The only reason this game wasn't over after the first was the turnover-happy Lakers couldn't control the ball.
The second half had the Jazz clicking offensively though to go along with their D. They pulled away from the Lakers and were never challenged as they won their first game, 99-90.
Let's go over the players' performances,
- Deron Williams - We'll start at the top. Nobody should have been worried about Deron tiring out from the Olympics in the first place. But if they did, he showed that it probably benefited from it as he looked like he was already cruising. He finished with 11 points on 4-6 shooting and had 8 assists in just 24 minutes.
- Ronnie B. - The added muscle wait did little to ground Brewer. He still had his high-flying dunks and quick reflexes. His jumper still isn't impressing me though. Kobe was still just looking at him, daring him to shoot a jumper. Those have to start falling if the Jazz are to take the next step.
Memo - Surprisingly didn't have a three-point attempt. In fact, we didn't see the screen and popout with Deron that we normally have a couple times a game. But he looks great. Shots were falling and he was banging on the inside for the ball. Struggled a bit against Bynum, but most centers probably will.
AK - ...was AK. He had some good help defense, took a couple of mid-range jumpers, and made some good passes. He's just biding his time until Boozer bolts and he's called upon to take over PF again and regain his glory. Just don't rock the boat. At least that's what I think must be going through his mind. Coming off the bench is a bit of a twist. But Sloan mentioned it could be a possibility if Harp can't go to start the season.
- Mansap - He looked great in the PF starting position. Gave the Jazz some great offense and his always hustle D. He and Ronnie B. led the Jazz with 13 points. His fould were still a bit high. He had three in just 27 minutes. But he'll play like this all year.
- C.J. Miles - He struggled with fouls as well, racking up four. We'll attribute that to pre-season jitters. He shot 3-6 from the field, but missed both of his three-point attempts. Sloan won't be happy about those, but they were both good looks and weren't rushed. See, Hapr doesn't take three-pointers, so he doesn't have to worry about missing them. When Sloan makes players run sprints if they missed a three, Harp is in the clear.
- Kyle Korver - He didn't gain a conscience over the summer. He still has no problems letting the ball fly. But as long as there's even the threat that he'll take a three, it will open up the inside which is exactly what the Jazz need him for.
- Morris Almond - Should KK leave next summer, shouldn't Mo move into the backup two spot? We have C.J., but he could move to the three. Almond's shot looks great and we might not have any dropoff with him in there instead of KK. But should Korver re-up, Almond could be dealt. He could even be dealt before that.
Ronnie Price & Brevin Knight - I commented in the game thread last night that we might have the best backup PG duo in the league. In Utah we have the two professional basketball teams, the Jazz and the Flash. Ronnie is the Flash of the backups with his quickness, explosiveness, and shooting. Knight is the steady, mellow Jazz tune that will won't make many mistakes and will be able to get the team into the offense, something Hart couldn't do.
Kosta Koufos/Fesenko/Kevin Lyde/Collins - Kosta looked good in the minute and a half he played until his hammy had had enough. Fess should have had the chance to get a majority of the PT in the second and fourth quarters. Instead, we saw almost 14 minutes of Kevin Lyde who played well. He did hack it up with 4 fouls in those same minutes. But if you're Fess, these can't be good signs. I don't know what he can do to gain favor with Sloan again, but he better start quick. Collins will get PT against the big centers like last night. But he had a -6 in the +/- column last night in only 7 minutes. That's on pace for a 41 point blowout over 48 minutes.
- Booze and Harp - They were both spectators tonight. The Jazz could have used Booze on the boards. Nobody knows what's going on with Harp. Although I'm in no hurry to have him back, I hope that his infection is cleared up. That's not something to mess around with. I would have to think that even Sloan's gotta know that Harp isn't going to be effective this year. With a solid pre-season preformance from Miles, and a hobbled Harp, Jerry might have his hand forced.
First home game against PHX coming up tomorrow.
- Announced attendance was just over 12K. Pretty weak, even for LA. It was in Anaheim, but you're telling me that they couldn't fill the place with the population of LA?
- Kobe was called for a travel early. The ref was set to be dismissed at half-time.
- Kobe gets a gets bailed out on a missed dunk with a foul from the same ref. Pink slip gets shredded by the league office.
- It seems like a lot of the Jazz's defensive woes come from letting the opposing team take shots in rhythm (why can't I spell that word without a spellchecker?). They don't seem to do things that interrupt the flow of the opponents offense. So those turnaround jumpers and baby hooks fall in.
- Was there a shakeup with the KJZZ crew? No Thurl and no Pace? Was there an explanation for this? Is this permanent? They're still listed here. And who the hades is Andy Toolson? I don't remember him at all. Do I need to turn in my Jazz fan card for not knowing who he was?