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LateCap - Utah Jazz @ Ny Knicks - W - 95 - 93

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Man, he's rippped.
Man, he's rippped.

Worst win ever?

I shouldn't complain about wins, especially a road win in NY where we haven't won in 5 years.  But when you have a 21-point lead against a team that will be scraping the bottom of the league all season, you have to put that away.

The Jazz were held to 95 points against one of the worst defensive teams in the league.  On the positive side, you could say they held an opponent to a season-low 93 points, but 62 of those came in the second half.

After going 0-fer in the first half from the arc, you knew they Knicks were going to come out make some in the second half.  They did, going 8/19 though it felt like 15/19.

Still, after giving up 33 points in the third, the Jazz still had a 14-point lead heading into the fourth.  This looked all too familiar.  They were actually holding off the Knicks for the better part of the fourth until one point where I thought there should have been a timeout taken.  Sound familiar?

Ronnie B had just made a jumper with a little under 8 minutes to go that gave the Jazz  and 84-73 lead.  11 points was pretty good considering the Knicks had somehow got in a groove in the third and having it carry over to start the fourth.

The next possession had Al Harrington make a three-pointer to cut the lead to 8.  Not a huge deal, but it was fine to see how the Jazz would respond in that case.

Deron ended up driving and missing a layup with 17 seconds left on the shot clock.  The ensuing Knicks possession ended with a Gallinari three from the top of the arc.  Bam, 5 point lead.

That's where the timeout should have been called.  Sloan's reasoning for not calling timeouts in those situations is that he's not going to call a different play with a timeout, so let's just let them run the play.  But what it does do is slow down or stop the momentum and allows your team to re-group.  Instead, the Knicks score the next 4 points to get within 1 when Sloan finally calls a timeout.

Too late.

Here are my notes for the Jazz possessions over about this same time period until the end of the game.  The first number is how many seconds were left on the shot clock when the Jazz shot.  The shots that come with 10-14 seconds on the clock were good.  Those that were earlier or later were missed.

14 - d-will running jumper
00 - shot clock violation
10 - brewer made jumper
17 - deron missed layup
16 - millsap - missed drive and jumper
02 - ak three, offen rebound
18 - brewer TO
12 - memo make
10 - boozer make, ak assist
17 - booze fouled down low
07 - booze to on pass
05 - deron TO, stolen
12 - jumper by brewer
19 - offensive fould on williams, jeffries way late getting there.
21 - deron steal and pass to booze, got fouled, booze 1-2
06 - memo missed long jumper
08 - missed deron jumper
24 - memo follow - 1:12
04 - ak missed three - 39.4 left
05 - brewer missed jumper, 10.6 remaining

The Jazz took a lot of shots way early in the shot clock.  This wasn't just a fourth-quarter occurrence.   I think that was the primary reason why the Knicks were able to come back in the third and the fourth.

What could have been the biggest mistake late is when Ronnie B took the final jumper with 5 seconds left on the shot clock when he could have taken off a few more.  A rushed shot with a second left probably wouldn't have been much better, but he had time to try to drive and/or make an extra pass.

Maybe not making an extra pass was for the better as the Jazz passed terribly against the Knicks' zone defense.  They had 6 TOs in the fourth quarter alone.  It was funny to see NY open the fourth with a man-to-man and then after just one possession where the Jazz got an offensive board, they went right back to the zone.  They were in it for almost the entire game.  From what I saw, they had 4 guys in the paint at once for the majority of the game.  They were daring the Jazz to shoot just like Kobe has dared Ronnie B to shoot the past couple of years.  With Korver and CJ out, there's not even that perceived threat of a shooter.

AK though was and has been the most consistent three-point shooter on the team this season.  He was on again last night going 5/8 from downtown while finishing with 23 X 6 X 6.  Great line from AK and playing like a man that has nothing to lose.  You can tell that he doesn't have any pressure at all.  He's pretty confident in his shot right now.

Another reason the Knicks came back of course was the defense of the Jazz.  The biggest culprits seemed to be Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer.  Memo was on Al Harrington and Al would just go right by him.  That's a terrible mismatch for him.  But he burned Boozer too.  David Lee was burning Boozer as well.  In fact, had the Knicks been able to make a couple of those threes in the first half, this game probably would have ended a lot differently.  Not good.

The other biggest problems I saw with both of them was that they didn't down Toney Douglas coming off the pick and roll at all.  Memo usually sagged while Boozer would put out one arm to make it look like he was doing something.  Douglas got into the lane at will and had most any shot he wanted.   And though he's just a rookie, Douglas already had his career-high of 21 against the Jazz.  As it turned out, he fell right into the over-confidence trap that the Jazz laid out for him.  He ended up taking the last shot and missed a game-tying jumper.  All according to plan.

Actually, Deron played good D on him and didn't go for the pump-fakes.  As a result, Douglas had to put up a jacknifed-leapin'-leaner that clanged off the back of the basket as time ran out.

Ball-game.  Sort of.

If the Jazz play twice this good against Boston tomorrow night, they'll be resting the starters in the fourth quarter.

Some Individual Accolades

Andrei Kirilenko.had 23 points the last time the Jazz won in NY as well.  He turned in a 23 & 6 & 6 performance with almost all of those assists going to Carlos Boozer.  AK could probably be co-MVP of the team at this point in the season.

Memo had a quite 18 & 12 on 7/15 shooting.  His biggest shot came as a putback of Deron's missed jumper late in the game.   That broke a 93-93 tie with a little over a minute left.  But please Memo, for all that is holy, could you please practice taking a step back before shooting a three?  He has to leave at least 2 points a night on the floor because of that toe on the line.  Either that or get a Tom Dempsey shoe:

Tom_dempsey_medium

Deron had a rough game shooting-wise and had 7 turnovers.  Nasty stuff.  However, he did have a season-high 16 assists.  He probably could have had 3-4 more but the receiver couldn't finish at the basket or got fouled hard.  One of those was after a steal and dish to Boozer.  Booze tried to put it down with two hands but got fouled. 

That got me thinking, the only hammer dunk I remember from Boozer came in last year's playoff game against the Lakers at the end where he drove left on Gasol and finished with his left hand.  He could be a ferocious dunker/finisher but chooses to go the non-contact route.

I was ready to give Boozer some praise when he had several deflections and hustle point in the first half but he reverted back to having some big turnovers and stupid fouls.  Still, he had 23 & 14 and finished +1 for the game.  When do you sell on Boozer?  Is he going to come crashing back down?  I few more games of 20 & 12 and it might be a good time to sell.

Nobody else really stood out either way.  Ronnie B did have a couple of big jumpers in the fourth before his last one.  Wes Matthews was decent but had a couple of circus-shot attempts that could have been more under control.  And Millsap's performance was forgettable.

So does that sound like we won or lost?  We won of course and that's all that matters for now.  I couldn't imagine what things would have been like had the Jazz lost another one like that.  There seriously could have been a couple of jumpers in the SLC and maybe Sloan in NY.

So we'll hope that the Jazz play up to their opponent when they take on the Celtics tomorrow night in the Garden.

Other notes
  • Posting and Toasting
  • Cowhide Globe
  • TBJ
  • Living and Dying (Mostly dying right now)
  • CJ Miles
  • No tweets from D-Will?
  • Knicks had a lot of rim-outs and missed layups.  This game could have been a lot uglier.
  • We Matthews has the Giricek two-step down pat.  Need to lose it.
  • With 10:30 left in the third, here's Boler's comment,

    If there was a question about letting the knicks back in the game, not the case at least not in the third.
  • Toney Douglas looks like he's straight out of the 70s.
  • Great camera work as we got to stare at Layden's (Scott's not Frank's) butt during a timeout for a good 5 seconds.
  • Forgot this, Ronnie B's block with :29 left on Hughes was the game-saver.  It came after another failed attempt from Memo to slow down Ronnie's man on a screen.  Ronnie fought over the screen and blocked Hughes' shot with the left hand.
  • Not a good sign when Deron Williams looks like Larry Bird did late in his career.  Bird spent bench time laying on his back on the floor.  Deron did the same and was stretching out his back the entire game.
  • Ronnie P left the game after he popped his big toe.