It's a lot cliche, but if I would have known that Deron was going to go 1-9 and just 5 points AND Boozer was going to have just 11 on 4-13 shooting, I wouldn't have watched the game. In addition, Troy Murphy was going to light it up for 7 three-pointers in the first half and the Jazz were doing nothing to stop him.
No way I'm watching that game.
It should have been another beatdown like the Jazz suffered in Indiana last year.
Thankfully, the Pacers couldn't hang on to the ball long enough to do more damage.
And really, with all of the thievery the Jazz had, they should have blown open the game early.
Are you starting to see a pattern in this 12-game winning streak? I used to write last year about how the Jazz could never do what was needed to get over the hump in games. If they were behind, they would often make a spectacular run to catch up but often missed free throws, went dry on several offensive possessions, or something else and they squandered opportunities. It happened in almost every game in the Lakers' series last year.
For whatever reason, the Jazz are doing what it takes to win close ball games and pulling away late in the fourth. Take a look at these fine graphs from PopcornMachine.net. They show the game flow in the third and fourth quarters. The teams are tied at the center line (click for bigger).
I would like to dub this the Magic 8. Whatever position the Jazz have been in with 8 minutes to go in the game, they either go on to close out the game or to take the lead late (for the win obviously).
Another reason is that at about 8 minutes to go in the fourth is usually when #8 checks back in. HUGE coincidence of course.
His clutchness over this winning streak has been nothing short of remarkable. Without going back and looking, I would have to say he's probably had 5 dagger shots late in the fourth over this run. If he's not hitting the shot, he's finding someone else streaking for an easy basket. How else can you have a game like yesterday where you put up a +14 despite shooting 1-9?
Stealing from Shums, do you know who else has been more ninja lately? Mehmet Okur. He's not stealth by any means, but he's mixing up his game enough that you don't know if he's going to take the three, put it on the floor, or back you down. There have been times where he's standing on the three-point line, received the ball, and normally would have popped the three. You don't know what's coming now until it's too late and hits you upside the head. Very ninja.
Yesterday's game was decided in the Magic 8. But this time it only took 2 minutes to decide the game. The score was just 97-94 Jazz with 5:22 left. Not even two minutes later at 3:49 the Jazz had an AND-1 from Memo, two more free throws from Memo, a KK 3 ball & a KK tech free throw. Ball game. It was free throws the rest of the game for the Jazz.
Outside of Deron (though he had 12 assists, 5 steals, 2 blocks, and only 2 turnovers) and Boozer, the Jazz shot the ball well.
Millsap had an excellent game with 22 & 9. Korver continued his strong play with 11 & 5 & 2 blocks. What's up with his rebounding and block shots? He's played like an animal. I think Sloan has told him and CJ, whoever has the most rebounds going into the half gets to play the rest of the game. CJ even had 10 points in his limited 19 minutes.
Brewer continued his another "ho-hum" 18 points in addition to his 5 steals.
AK had limited minutes in this one and had 9 points including a big three in the fourth right before the Jazz put the game away.
Memo had 12 points in the first quarter, well on his way to passing his 43 he scored on them last time. He only had 4 minutes in the second quarter to put that to rest. He still finished with 24 & 6 to lead both teams in scoring. We should see if we could ship Minny to the Eastern Conference and bring Indiana to the NW. Memo could earn his contract on those four games a year alone.
Up next are the Hawks in the ATL. They're fresh off a game in which they gave NOLA a beatdown.
Utah has a good record there the past 5 years. They're 4-1 with the one loss coming last season during that dreadful December 2007.
I pray for the Jazz to win this game if for nothing but to see the "Unlucky 13" headlines from across the newswire. Even if they win, they'll just drop the "Un."