After a nice block on Deron by Dahntay Jones, the two had a little harmless trash talking session head to head.
Then Dahntay couldn't shut up, grabbed Deron by the arm, and got him mad. Thanks Danhtay!
You don't piss off a ninja.
I'm not sure you have much room to talk trash, even after a nice block, given that your team had just blown a 19 point lead. Not a very productive 8 minutes Mr. Jones.
I don't know what can be done to stop these slow starts. Maybe Jerry should rip them before the game starts? Perhaps the Jazz should play a pickup game beforehand to get warmed up? The mixture of turnovers and missed jumpers kills them to start every game.
This one wasn't any different. It started out well enough with the CJ dunk over Nene:
It didn't last though. They were getting out-hustled for rebounds, couldn't hit squat, and practically told Denver where they were planning on passing the ball.
After a Nene AND-1, the Jazz found themselves down 19 with 2:41 to go in the second quarter. What caused the turnaround I don't know (a cheat code maybe?). But all of the sudden, the Jazz started playing defense, started hustling, and finished the half on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 10. The half culminated on a Ronnie to Ronnie hookup as Price (does anyone know why he was in with :38 in the half?) picked of a pass and fed a breakaway pass to Brewer for the flush on the other end.
Now maybe the Jazz were motivated by the butt chewing they were about to receive at halftime. Whatever it was, the Jazz flipped a switch and never looked back.
They scored another 10 straight points, mostly off of free throws, to begin the third quarter. When the 19-0 run ended, the Jazz found themselves down just 2, 45-47. It was neck and neck the rest of the way until the brief spat above. The Jazz closed out the third with back to back three pointers from CJ Miles sandwiching a J.R. Smith layup.
After Melo made a layup to start the fourth, the Jazz took care of business scoring 8 straight to build up a 10-point lead. Denver got it to as close as six on a lot of free throws, but the Jazz kept it at around 9 until the end of the game. What was weird was that they were only down 8 with :41 left but didn't make any play to press the ball or to foul. They let Deron walk across the half court line and run down the clock. After a Williams turnover and a Nene bucket, they were only down 6 with :14 left. There wasn't a good chance of winning, but I don't remember the last time I've seen a team not foul in that situation.
Dunkers of the game
11th straight game with 10+ assists and another 25 point night to lead the team. When it was evident that the rest of the team had nothing, Deron kept them in the game. I've never seen his jumper look better. He'll dribble at the top of the key and you know what's coming, but you still can't stop it. You can't play him tight because he'll go around you. And if you step back a bit, he'll cross you over and take the step-back J. If he's hitting those, you're in for a long night as a defender. He had 5 assists and 2 blocks in the fourth to control the game despite scoring only 2 points.
Mark Jackson was giving Deron love all night long. He wasn't knocking Paul's shooting, but called D-Will a better shooter and the best point guard in the game right now. Here was his top 5 (from left to right):
Since he's been fully healthy (January+), D-Will is averaging 21.5 & 11 while shooting 49% from the field. If only we could have had the full season. We're getting him when it counts though.
I didn't see this play on any of the higlights but was the best one. He backdoored the Bird Man, got the dish from Boozer, got the reverse layup, and the foul. One of the top 5 plays of the year. Just another pedestrian 16 points for Ronnie B. He's averaging 17.7 over the last two months and has filled what I thought was a hole in the Jazz offense. And to think we went after Mo Pete last year.
Everyone else seemed to step up at the right time. Neither Memo nor Boozer had good shooting games, but Okur hit a late three when Denver threatened. Booze added 16 boards, including 5 offensive boards. AK had a huge block in the fourth and Korver had a solid night with 7 points on 3/4 shooting. Millsap added 9 &8 and CJ made the most of his 22 minutes with 10 points and 4 rebounds.
Thankfully no one outside of Smith could shoot. That came part on some good D from the Jazz and part probably that they were playing on a back to back.
Whatever clicked with the Jazz at the 2:40 mark in the second needs to happen a lot earlier, especially on the upcoming 5-game road swing. I guarantee that if they play like they did last night to start out games, they're coming back 0-5. They won't have a crowd behind them then.
What a time to start tomorrow against the Raptors, 12:30 EDT. Most people in Utah will still be in church by the time this one is over. Locke stated on his show Friday that the second team bus leaves for the arena at 7 a.m. locally. But in addition to that, daylight saving time starts tomorrow, so it will feel as if it's 6 a.m. for the Jazz. So the game will feel like it starts at 9:30 a.m. for the Jazz. I don't know what time practices normally are, but that's pretty early for a game.
- Is there anything more annoying for Sloan than to have to give mid-game interviews?
- I know it must be hard to call a game, especially for a national guy that has to keep up on everything. But I do expect the guy to know that he's not in Denver, to know player names, and to be able to tell us who the calls are on and who scored a bucket. If I had listened to the play-by-play guy on the radio, I would have been totally lost at times.