[Note by Basketball John, 10/28/10 9:46 AM MDT ] - Didn't mean to post on top of UteFan's.
I think the Jazz pound it inside all night and take advantage of the injuries to Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin.
It looks like the Jazz weren't the only ones to make first-game mistakes. First rule of game threads is to not make any statements that you don't want to come back and haunt you and that's what I did there.
However, I don't think I could have written anything else that would have caused this game to be any more of a disaster than it already was.
The game started ominously as the Jazz turned it over on their first two possessions and then missed their first two attempts when they were actually able to hang on to the ball long enough to get a shot off.
This looked like the first time they had played together. The timing was terrible, the spacing was horrific, and nothing flowed on offense. They couldn't hit a shot whether it be a jumper (and there were plenty of those) or inside shots. It was as if the whole team was flashy-thingyed before the game.
When they finally started knocking down some shots in the second quarter, they couldn't keep the ball long enough to to go through the offense as they handed Denver 10 turnovers in that time frame.
Denver wasn't doing much better offensively but they managed not to turn the ball over 15 times in the first half( they had 8) and had 11 offensive boards which led to them having a 45-31 advantage in field goal attempts. Their bigs killed ours and wanted the ball a lot more than we did.
The Jazz had a mini run in the third quarter where they finally started to show a little life but they didn't seriously threaten the Nuggets. Instead, Sloan pulled all of the starters for the fourth and conceded the game.
Now for some player breakdowns...
The one thing you could say about everyone on the floor, with the exception of a few, is that they weren't playing with any kind of emotion. This looked like the tail end of a 5-game road trip in January on the second of a back to back. This was the first game of the season and they didn't show any life. I think part of it was the anxiety of getting things going to start the game. They couldn't get the ball in the bucket and it seemed to wear on them with each possession.
Neither team could stay out of foul trouble and our depth became suddenly exposed when Evans and Hayward had to come in because our wings all picked up two quick fouls. Both rookies played pretty good and were some of the lone bright spots in an otherwise dreadful night in Denver.
It looked as though he was forcing things, trying to get everyone involved early. When the Nuggets went up early and the Jazz were faltering, I was looking for him to take over, but he didn't. Throw in a couple of early fouls and he was taken out of the game physically and mentally. Not the kind of night you need from your team's MVP. He also looked winded throughout the game which I've never noticed before.
I was most disappointed that I didn't see him lead on the floor last night. There was an obvious lack of fire on his part. That's not the Deron that we know.
He seriously looked like he had just been traded to the Jazz last night before the game and got to the arena 5 minutes before tip-off. In the pre-season, he was getting things going. Against Denver, he looked like he was trying to figure out if he was the blue team or the white team. He wasn't letting players clear after he got the ball in the post and tried making his moves with other players draped around him. Maybe after those years in Minny, he doesn't know anything else. We didn't see any of that in the pre-season though.
0 fouls. What the? On a night when there were 61 foul calls and 83 free-throw attempts and you're telling me that Millsap wouldn't have been called for even 1? You could have gotten some sweet action with a bet like that. "Give me $100 on Millsap that he won't be called for any fouls." What would you have made in return? $1000? $10,000? Amazingly, it has happened before. But on a night like last night where we seemingly couldn't go 2 possessions without a whistle, that's incredible. He added 15 points but didn't do anything to stand out.
TOs and fouls are not what you want in your 5x5 line. He had 4 each on the night and took jumper after unnecessary jumper. Gah! I'll give you until tonight to correct yourself, otherwise I'm starting cutyourhairandrei.com. Awful night from our needed spark-plug.
And if I can borrow from MIB one more time... "The only thing that pulls its weight around here is my [damn] truck!"
The kid can play. 4/5 from the field, 11 & 2 in 11 minutes. He got more PT tonight than he might have normally because of fouls, but he may have earned more.
He was 4/11 from the field. He had good looks, but he needs to start knocking those down. The kid can hustle though. After getting abused by Melo when he checked into the game, he came back to play some pretty good D. He was able to draw on offensive foul the next time down and then caused Melo to miss a layup on a fast-break. Later, he grabbed a tough rebound from Ely. It looks like he's going to be getting more PT as well.
Things were happy-go-lucky in the pre-season when there wasn't much pressure and when they were winning. Now that they've started the regular season and have had a bad loss, we'll see what this team is made of when they come out tonight against the Suns.
If you're looking for a silver lining, we lost to Denver to start last season as well. However, that's what cost us home-court advantage in the first round as well.