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Rockets' Red Glare Dimmed By The Russian - Jazz Win 104-95

Armageddon - Russian Cosmonaut (via Rhoemer33)

Finally, we can get out of here!

With the Americans unable to get things going for a win, it took AK to take over late and make the play of the game.  The Jazz were up just 1, 94-93, when Andrei picked off a cross-court pass and raced the other way for an uncontested dunk.  That made up for a night where his shot was way off.  That dunk was just 1 of 2 made field goals.  He still finished with 12 as he made all 8 of his FTAs.

Until that play, neither team could give the win away fast enough.  They combined for 43 turnovers in the game.  It seemed like just when one team would make a great play and steal the ball, they gave it right back.  It was very sloppy at the end and the Jazz were fortunate that they were able to have the ball fall their way. 

It wasn't just luck though.  Credit them for holding the Rockets to a meaningless field goal over the last 4:41 of the game.  After All-star of the night David Andersen made a three to put Houston up three, 93-90, the Jazz allowed Scola to get a bucket with around 14 seconds left in a game that was already decided.

Depite shooting 52% to the Rockets' 40%, the Jazz couldn't pull away late in the game.  They had built up a 16-6 lead to start the game but couldn't hold on.  They found themselves down 6 at one point but made their way back.

The Rockets stayed in it because they were shooting lights out from downtown.  In the first half, they went 8-11 from deep.  They cooled off considerably in the second half making just 3/15.  Outside of the second quarter, the Jazz held the Reds to just 36% shooting on the night.

Great defensive stand on the night from the Jazz.

Don't look now, but the Jazz are just a game under .500 on the road.  In year's past, even just a game under .500 would have given the Jazz a top seed in the West.  If they can hold on to this pace, we would have home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.  I really don't know how that would feel like.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves though.  Still a long ways to go especially with 18 games still left away from the ESA.

Some individual performances on the night worth noting.

Mehmet Okur

Is there such a thing as an underwhelming 21 & 8 as well as 4 blocks?  He shot the ball well (9-16) but I never thought to myself that he was playing that good. He needs to start his fake three, lumber to the basket move with about 18 seconds left on the shot clock so that he doesn't get called for a violation.  Give him credit though, he was making them all.  And just when I think he's too slow to guard someone he goes out and blocks 4 shots.  Crazy.

Paul Millsap

20 & 12, 2 blocks, and 2 steals.   All of that with a very efficient 11 shots from the field.  Can't say much more about his play and his role this year.  He's having a career year while coming off the bench.  He had an even 10 in both halves.  If he's knocking down that jumper, look out.

Carlos Boozer

Booze added 12 & 8 at took only three shots in the second half.  I'm not sure why it worked out that way.  It didn't seem like the Jazz were using him on the block that much.  He also had a couple of late turnovers when he couldn't decide if he was going to pass or to shoot.  When you're trying to make that decision, it's usually going to be a TO.  Weird stat of the night was that he attempted 0 free-throws.

Deron Williams

Looks like we might be getting that post-all-star bump in assists already.  He had 7 in the first quarter, 10 in the first half, and 15 when the night was done.  Like the All-star game, he probably should have had a few more if players had made some relatively easy shots.  He added 17 points and shot the ball pretty well except in the second.  It doesn't look like the All-star game took much if anything out of him.

Kyle Korver

Give Sloan credit again for putting the right players out on the floor to finish the game.  Last night it was Korver getting the call after barely getting  a couple minutes a game since his return from injury.  He had 10 points, 3 assists (including a nice look to Boozer late), and 3 steals.  I'll echo the game thread in that it was nice to see some consistency from that position instead of the maddening CJ.

These are the wins the Jazz need to pick up.  These are the wins that they're expected to get.  If you're any kind of contender, this is where you find a way to win despite not having the best of nights.  We're seeing that now.  Glad to see the team respond after the LA loss.

No time to savor this one though as they play in New Orleans tonight against a Hornets team that has played well even with Chris Paul out.