This game had the feel of the 2003-04 season. That was a team that was suppose to lose 70+ games. Instead, they went 42-40 and missed the playoffs by one game.
The team last night played with same team-first style that produced so many wins for the 2004 team.
Dallas is the best rebounding team in the league. Without Boozer, Millsap, Okur, and Collins, the Jazz should have been hammered on the glass. Instead, they out-rebounded the Mavs 41-39. Kirilenko and Koufos out-rebounded Nowitski and Dampier, 22-16.
The game was won on the defensive end. They had 12 steals & 7 blocks and kept the Mavs off the offensive glass for the most part. The rebound Dallas did get were long bounces because of all of the jumpers they took. Instead of taking it down low and getting the depleted front court of the Jazz in trouble, the Mavs were content to take jumpers. Credit most of the to the defense and acting of Kirilenko. He drew the assignment of guarding Dirk the Jerk.
Dirk had a decent night with 18 & 8, but a culmination of events led him to lose it. Kirilenko frustrated him on the defensive end. In one of those one-on-ones, Dirk was moving the ball around trying to create some space. As he was putting his armpit in AK's face, Andrei flopped back as if the second gunman had just fired a shot from the upper deck of the ESA. The ref took the bait and called Dirk for the offensive foul. The tipping point came in the fourth when Harpring had pushed Dirk under the basket. After Fesenko made the shot, the Jerk swung at Harpring with a sideways motion and caught him in the face with a closed fist. He was given a flagrant 2 and booted.
He was being booed every time he touched the ball anyway due to his take-down of AK last year that earned him a flagrant 1.
With Dirk out, the Mavs went on a 12-5 run to cut the lead to just 85-80. The Jazz made their next shot out of the timeout and never led by less than 9 the rest of the way.
Just when you thought that having our front-court out would doom us, the youngsters came in and had career games. Kirilenko had about as poor of a shooting performance as you can get going just 1-12. He made up for that with his D on Jerk and his rebounds.
Kosta Koufos had a career high (and Booner let us know that it was a season high as well) 18 & 8. The young man was working the pick and roll with Williams like a pro. As Shums said in the game thread, he was "straight ballin'." These low picks for the Jazz are turning into pretty valuable commodities. He's probably not going to put up those number every night, but all he does is play basketball. His interviews contain lines from the Basketball Players Guide of Cliche Reponses to Media Question Handbook. He's still ends his statements with Sir and Thank You. What did he ask for Christmas? Probably another basketball. He still has that college mentality of just hanging out and then heading down to the gym to shoot. It's great.
I really couldn't tell it from the game, but Fesenko had 8 points on 4-5 shooting and 4 rebounds. The one shot I do remember was an emphatic dunk off a pass. This came after another easy shot in the paint where he caught almost right at the rim and brought it down, gave a head fake, and then put it in. It frustrated me because he should have never brought it down. He should have just dunked it when he caught it. So I was pleased with the second shot.
Speaking of emphatic dunks, Brewer had one of the best of the year after he received a pass from Williams, drove the lane, and threw down over Dampier. He had a team-high 21 points in addition to 7 boards. That was another reason that the Jazz out-rebounded the Mavs.
Williams had to play the role of a veteran player on a rebuilding team rather than the leader of a championship-type team. He physically led the younger players back to the bench at time-outs and talked to them about the game. He was just 6-16 shooting and had 5 turnovers. He did finish with 17 & 13 and helped finish off the Mavs at the end of the game to quell any Maverick comeback.
It was great to see the Jazz run and push the ball. After almost every made Mavs bucket, Kosta was there to quickly inbound the ball and Deron pushed it. They were looking to throw the ball down court all night.
And remarkably, the Jazz didn't have anybody over 3 fouls. Why the Mavs didn't exploit the lack of depth from the Jazz's front-court, I don't know. As a team, the Jazz only had 18 fouls to the Mavs 22. For the season, the Jazz are fourth in the league with 693 PF, but their opponents have committed 736. They're still fouling a lot, but they're offsetting that by getting to the line more, 843-816.
Once again, the Jazz continue to amaze in games that they should probably lose. This was a great win over a hot team. They're on the road tonight against the Rockets in their first meeting of the season. This is another game that they probably shouldn't win, but you can't count them out at all.
- According to Boler, Boozer was shown on the jumbotron a couple of times and was booed.
- Bolerjack stated that Dee Brown was back in the league after signing with the Suns. Apparently he wasn't aware that he had been in Washington.
- The Korver brothers were in attendance again.
They're uploading now. Go to my YouTube page.