Utah Jazz 113, Cleveland Cavaliers 105
Both of these teams came into this game having better records than people thought they would have. They also both came into this game allowing the other team to score a paltry 93.9 points per game. Obviously, it makes complete sense that both would go way over 100 tonight. Of course, a large part of that is not due to the pace the teams played at; rather, the absolutely frantic zoo rave frequency of refs blowing on whistles. There were 27 fouls called on the Cleveland Cavs, and 30 on the Jazz. Together they combined for 72 free throw attempts. No wonder two clubs whose offenses both average less than 95 points per game scored so much.
Before this game started I was concerned with Kyrie Irving and Antawn Jamison. They both had 20 points, and went to the free throw line 17 times total. They were the main guys for the Cavs, and they (for the most part) played like they were. They had cook percentages for the most part, but the major agitator was Anderson Varejao who had 7 offensive rebounds on his way to yet another double double. Off the bench Ramon Sessions and Alonzo Gee both went over 10 points, Gee being able to drive nearly at will, and Sessions going to the line 11 times. Thankfully, the Jazz were leading for the vast majority of this game – the only question wasn’t ‘were we going to win’, but ‘how many times can we halt the Cavs eventual run’?
For the good guys it was a watershed moment for Big Al Jefferson. He had 30 points and 12 boards, another game with 2 blocks, got to the line 6 times, and shot 76.5 fg%. Even his midrange faceup jumper was falling. He finished with a 1.76 points per shot value. He was truly ‘Big Al’ tonight. Paul Millsap had 19 points off of 10 shots. As great as Al played, Millsap was straight up cooking Jamison one on one. Sap only played 26 minutes in this game, fouling out, because the refs just flat out hate him. The Jazz also enjoyed huge plays down the stretch by Josh Howard (17 points), C.J. Miles (7, with a dagger 3). Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter played pretty well, but only a combined 31 minutes total. Favors would foul out, but he had 14 solid points and 5 rebounds; while Kanter continues to bang in the paint, and finish poorly.
Not much turn around time, tomorrow the Jazz face the LA Lakers – the good news is that we won’t have this ref crew doing that game. Hopefully we don’t get called for 30 fouls tomorrow night.