What's the inverse of a third-quarter collapse called? A 3QC (not to be confused with our fine Magic blog on SBN) is where you play great the other three quarters but in the fourth you collapse and pretty much lose the game right there.
Well, whatever the Jazz did tonight against the Spurs, it was the opposite of that. Their only exceptional quarter was the third quarter when the outscored the Spurs 37-19 for an 18-point swing. Yet in the the rest of the quarters they got out-played and almost collapsed, but held on for the win.
They dodged several bullets but none bigger than the Spurs' final two shots of the game. The Spurs ended up getting a wide open look from Tony Parker that would have put them up one, but he missed it. On the final shot of the game, the Jazz did a great job defending the inbounds pass. It came into Duncan who then handed it off to Matt Bonner (All-star) who drove right and put up a running one-handed shot that nearly went in. It was down and then back out.
And really, after Bonner's career night, who didn't think that shot was going in?
Bonner was hitting everything that he threw up in route to his new career-high of 28. And all of those points came in two quarters! If we see a wave of tall, red-headed players in the league in 15 years or so, it will be because of Bonner's performance tonight.
Thanks to a third quarter where the Jazz shot 15-19 from the field, they were able to turn a eight-point halftime deficit into a ten-point lead. That quarter reminded me a lot of the Jazz from a couple years ago when they would have huge threes from Memo and the ninja would be in full force.
My preview pic was of Deron with the caption of "I have yet to see full ninja mode." I think we finally saw a breakthrough last night. That dunk over Parker in the third quarter was very reminiscent from two years ago in the playoffs when he dunked on them with that give and go from Boozer.
His first half could have been one of the worst that I have seen from him. He was 1-7 shooting and while he still had 5 assists, I just kept thinking that this isn't the Deron Williams that I've seen.
But he more than made up for it in the third with 11 & 4 and helped the Jazz finally take the lead after being down 15 at one point in the first half. He got some mojo back.
I think most fans were freaking out when he took that last jumper with :22 on the clock, I know I was. They were down one and would normally play for the last shot of the game. I guess I can say this now because it all worked out, but here goes an explanation: if he waits until the final seconds to take that shot and he misses, game over. But, if he misses, the Jazz are down just one, and after they would foul, they'd get another shot to at least tie it. He did have a wide-open shot as well. I imagine if he misses though we'd be having a different tone this morning.
It was almost for naught though as the Jazz win into full collapse mode in the fourth while the Spurs went on a 13-0 run behind Matt Freakin' Bonner. He had 16 points with a couple of threes. He missed his final shot but likely the Jazz would have had a semi-comfortable win if it weren't for Bonner.
Regular Jazz-killer Manu had just 5 points on 2-7 shooting. He was only 1-4 from the arc though when he normally makes 3/4 of those against the Jazz. He had a wide-open look late in the game that he normally makes and could have tied it at 100. He also went to the free-throw line 0 times. How's that possible? He always gets calls on his drives.
As it is, the Jazz take the season series since the last time we really did see Jordan in Utah to play basketball. They'll have a chance to sweep it next month when they head to SA. Who would have thought that SA would be 9-9 right now?
The Jazz bench didn't have a bad night, but they really weren't the factor that they normally are. They shot well but they were in when the Jazz were giving up the lead early in the fourth. None of them had a positive +/-.
What might have saved the Jazz last night were the three-pointers. SA shot a good percentage, 40, from downtown. The Jazz though still had almost as many makes (7) as the Spurs did (9) with half the attempts. Did anyone else notice, or was it just me, that when Memo took his last three-pointer of the game, it looked like he was going to be on the line again but took a half-step back? Glad to see that.
I won't go over the box score for everyone, you can check that out here. What do we learn, if anything, from this game? A win is a win. I win over the Spurs is a greater win. But is it fool's gold? It's weird because I hesitate feeling like the Jazz have turned a corner because they've shown that they can still have a big letdown like they did against Minnesota. Yet I have a hard time getting on them because we've seen them turn things around after a 4-6 start. This season's team is an enigma and I don't think I can get any real feel for the team at all. One minute they're ripping opponents by 20 and making it looks like they're unstoppable and the next they can't defend one of the worst offensive teams in the league. If someone has a formula that will explain this to me, please let me know.
In the meantime, let's just enjoy this win and see what tomorrow against the Lakers brings.