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The Downbeat - 10 November 2010 - #357 - The Dream Was Real Edition

Here's your OT lineup: Ronnie Price, CJ Miles, Andrei Kirilenko, Millsap, and Elson/Fesenko. That lineup took down Bron, Wade, Bosh, et al. No doubt, last night's win was one of the biggest team wins we've had.

A great breakdown by Sebastian Pruiti on the final play for the Jazz where Millsap effectively protected the rim to prevent any lob passes near the basket.

Protect the rim - NBA Playbook

Jefferson was bound to have his struggles, no matter how quick of a learner he is. Sloan isn't panicking and neither should you. Al will still be a large part of this team's success going forward despite last night's performance.

What won't help is the lack of practices the Jazz will have over the coming week. That's where the offense is learned and repeated over and over until it becomes second nature. For now, he's getting in-game training and that's going to result in mistakes.

Despite his poor shooting, you can see that he's making strides in the offense. He's looking for cutters now instead of just backing his man down and going to work.

Al admits there may be two or three more games like this, but for someone who had said/done all the right things since coming to Utah, we can give him a little slack. That's not to say there won't be frustrating nights but that when he finally gets in a comfort zone, the Jazz will start to roll.

I'm going to drop the "it's still early" qualifier from here on out. I know you know that it's early. You know that I know it's early. So just assume all statements going forward are based on that assumption until at least mid-December or so.

With that in mind, how surprised are you that the Northwest Division hasn't looked more dominant than it has? Granted, there are some additional qualifiers in that there have been multiple intra-divisional games so far. Portland still has some injured players they're waiting to get back. Who knows what's going on in Denver? They're looking good one minute and then making prom night look chaste the next. OKC has struggled on offense and isn't sneaking up on anyone this season. And of course, the Jazz are breaking in new players and waiting on an injured contributor themselves.

It may be off to a slow start, but the division race should be great after the break once everyone is back and teams find their groove.

Highlights of the comeback

Utah Jazz @ Miami Heat 11-9-10 (via theutahjazzblog)