I have nothing really to add to what happened last night. We all can (and have) read about it here and here. If anything, I can say that: "It was the best of times . . . it was the blurst of times."
Well, there is more to say, it is me, after all. Click on below for the rest of it, and what to keep an eye on for this game.
Things were bad last night, but they were not THAT bad. The wheels did not fall off until the Nuggets blew open an 11 point game to 20 right before halftime. Before that happened the Jazz were still within striking distance. Who knows, maybe a few of the bazillion open shots the Jazz took (and rimmed out) would have gone in, and before you know it, we would have made an 11 point game turn into a 6 point game before the 4th quarter? Didn't happen though.
This game I want to see the Jazz take care of the defensive glass. If they do that, especially against this quick Phoenix team, things should immediately look better.
The Nuggets offense wasn't anything complex, they were just moving the ball around, penetrating and getting our guys to commit, then passing the ball back out for open shots. Because of their penetration they were able to get an over-committal, which causes an overflow on a side of the court. Often this resulted in Aaron Afflalo open jumper (he went 8-11 last night). On the flip side, the Jazz only had ONE successful "overflow" basket on offense in the first half (I rewatched it this afternoon) - a monster Fesenko dunk that was one of the few times an Deron Williams pass got to a Jazz player in scoring position.
Denver's offense was simple and basic. Ours, you know, the precision based Flex offense that relies on guys being on the same page, did not look so hot last night. A lot of our offensive possession resulted in turn overs. Many of them a product of Deron Williams miscues. He was far from great last night. The timing was way off with a lot of the 'starter' crew - and perhaps this is because he missed 3 preseason games? (I don't know) He'd pass the ball to where the intended recipient 'should' be, but that guy wasn't going there. This happened a few times last night. He wasn't the only guy who had trouble with this last night (AK and Bell for instance), but they don't have an excuse here.
This Deron related misunderstanding also exhibited itself on defense when Deron and Raja, for example, both closed out on the same three point shooter - leaving Afflalo super "duper" open. (That's the correct, official, coaching term as first coined by Dr. James Naismith)
I'm not going to go on a big review of the game, but they made their open shots, and we did not. (If you want, you can look at the boxscore)
This game I want to see more fundamental basketball - that's all the Suns play. If we couldn't handle the injured Nuggets and their pathetic (usually) ball movement, how will the Jazz face the ever patient Suns?
I also want to see how will the Jazz deal with Nash. Will they pressure him (like Portland did?), or will they let him set up the table for fear of getting too many fouls called on them?
Al Jefferson has to live up to some of the hype, and I want to see him get at LEAST 20 points in this game. Also, I would like to see him play some defense, Nene was tearing him up and the Jazz even had to double team on Melvin Elyonce - leaving Melo open on an overflow basket.
Lastly, there's nothing to support this, but Hayward has to step up. He was a lotto pick. More than that, he was the fabled Knicks pick that we held onto for years and years. Of course, it's hard to knock him in his first game were he was shooting poorly. We can't have him *and* CJ *and* AK all have bad games in the same game or we'll never win. Hayward was supposed to at least make his open jumpers.
Keeping Lopez off the glass, limiting transition buckets from Hakim Warrick and making smart close outs should lead us to non-failure this game.
Playing at home will be a breath of fresh (non-Mile High city) air.