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Sometimes Bad Things Happen to People With Big Hearts

Jazz fans, not everything flows as freely and smoothly as Andrei Kirilenko's hair.
Jazz fans, not everything flows as freely and smoothly as Andrei Kirilenko's hair.

Before you read this piece, scroll down the page 3 inches and read Amar's exhortation on better home play by the Jazz. I have written a rebuttal here, or as they might say in the journalism world, "a counterpoint to his point." I know that a lot of Jazz fans will completely agree with Amar, but I just want to shed some light on the situation less emotionally and demanding and offer an alternative point of view.

First of all, I think fans do themselves a disservice when they start stating expectations. Where do the expectations stop? I agree that the home loss to Phoenix was bad, because Phoenix isn't that good and it looked like the Jazz didn't really care all that much. They played with little to no energy/urgency. After that loss, I remember Jazz fans saying that they didn't mind if the Jazz lost home games as long as they looked like they cared. But now that we have shown signs of life and played with more heart, we expect more. We expect wins over good teams as well.

Last night's loss wasn't due to a lack of effort, besides AK in the first half and periods of defensive rebounding. I haven't seen matador defense that AK played since Boozer went to Chicago. It was disheartening. But the Jazz erased two double digit leads last night to eventually take the lead. The Heat just played really well. I know that most people think the Heat don't run plays or sets, but they ran a lot of screens on and off the ball that made life difficult for the Jazz. The Jazz switched a lot and gave up several offensive rebounds, not because of a lack of effort, but due to Raja Bell guarding James, or CJ Miles boxing out Zydrunas Ilgauskus. The Heat attacked the rim, they made 50% of their threes and Zydrunas Ilgauskus, while talented, hit an uncharacteristic 5 20 footers in a row. They were uncontested, but that's still impressive. Dwyane Wade hit some difficult, contested shots in the 4th quarter after going something like 1-20 on threes the last 13 games. The Heat executed a successful defensive plan that took the ball out of Deron's hand and left Kirilenko open for a lot of long range jumpers. Stuff like this happens. Good teams and great players come up with the goods many times and sometimes it is at the expense of the Jazz.

We aren't losing to the Timberwolves or a 7 man Golden State team right now at home. That's what we used to do. Let's be disappointed if that happens. We have lost to some of the best and hottest teams. And to say that they were all double digit blowouts is a little unfair. A 12 point loss isn't the same as a blowout where you are down the whole game. We got blownout by Phoenix, but we lead most of the Dallas game. The Mavs just went on a major run in the 4th. We traded leads for much of that OKC home loss. So we have been thumped by Miami and San Antonio at home. Big deal. Lots of very good teams will have the same thing happen to them.

Could the Jazz show a little more effort on the glass? Absolutely. Would it be nice if they attacked the rim a little bit harder? Sure. Would we love to see them make a really hard foul when a guy like Lebron James or Dirk Nowitzki drive the lane? Yes. At least take a charge. That is one of the things we don't get to see because Al Jefferson is currently playing center. He hasn't learned to rotate and take charges yet. But to say that the Jazz are lacking effort is dismissive of all the times Paul Millsap hounded Bosh on both ends of the floor. It's dismissive of Bell's sound, fundamental defense every time he had to guard Wade. It's dismissive of the fact that the Jazz were without Okur AND Fesenko, who is instrumental in defending teams that use a lot of lane penetration. It's dismissive of the fact that the Jazz starters are playing a lot of minutes and this is real life, not the video games where you can turn the fatigue factor off and just hold down the turbo button.

Just be careful to start expecting things from the Jazz, because if they meet those expectations, chances are you will increase them. And then you will get to a point where you are never satisfied, like a couple of Jazz fans on twitter. you know who they are.