Al Jefferson – Earl Watson – Paul Millsap – C.J. Miles – Raja Bell
The Utah Jazz broke up the Minnesota Timberwolves pack attack, and stopped their streak at three wins in a row. The sweet sweet sounds of our Jazz ensemble soothed the savage beast that is Kevin Love, as he had more bark than bite in his 5/21 shooting performance. How many bad metaphors can I string together in a single semi-conscious thought? Who knows? Anyway, on with the Jazz quintet!
After the jump – a breakdown of their play from last game!
Al Jefferson: Oh, another double double? Okay. Big Al had 18/12, with three assists … and almost shot 50 fg%, while being defended by one of the best post defensive crews there are (Darko Milicic, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic). No, really, as a group those guys are quite good. And Big Al still managed 1.29 points per shot against them (which is above average for him). I’m really happy with his play with Paul, they are looking for each other, and finding each other now. It’s a joy to watch them grow and develop as a bigman combo that’s greater than the sum of their individual parts.
Earl Watson ( @Earl_Watson): Another game, another 7 assists at a 3.5 : 1 assist to turn over ratio. Not bad for a guy no other team wanted. He also had 10 points (1 three!), and solid defense against a future super star. He controls the team so well on offense, glad to see Tyrone Corbin keep him in the game to finish. His play with Devin Harris worked at the end, and was a good counter to the T-Wolves using Ricky Rubio / Luke Ridnour at the same time. Frodo was straight up knocking down threes all game long.
Paul Millsap: Paul Millsap is killing it. He went 4/5 at the rim, 3/3 from three to nine feet, and 5/9 from 16 to 23 feet. Every step he took on the floor was another step over the graves of the Wolves, who had no answer (nor equal) to him. Good players bounce back from bad games. Millsap did that. His 26 points (missed the double double by 1 rebound) , despite foul trouble, were more than enough to tame the T-Wolves. He also played great defense against Kevin Love (up until he picked up 2 fouls in the 3rd quarter after K-Love got T’d up). Sap’s four assists and 1 steal are great contributions to the team, and show off his well rounded game. (Love’s Boxscore is nothing but points, misses, and rebounds.)
C.J. Miles ( @CJMiles34): Miles didn’t shoot his best last night, but he was still active and making the defense have to worry about him. He’s even going to be a hyper efficient big, partly because so many times in the second half the ball would just end up in his hands with 4 seconds to go on the shot clock. This isn’t CJ chucking the ball, he shot it a lot because the Minnesota defense made the Jazz go to Plan C a lot. Which is Plan "Get it to CJ", and expect something wonderful. When he’s force to shoot with time running out this isn’t him being head strong and wanting to just shoot it all the time, this is him try to avoid getting his team a turn over. Silly. Despite poor fg% last night he was still super active and got to the line 10 times, and finished with 18 points. His second highest tally so far this season. He’s doing all the things people started falling in love with Josh Howard for; solid defense, veteran play down the stretch, and someone who can break down a defense and get to the line. We already had all of that – in CJ.
Raja Bell: One of the main criticisms of Raja early on in this season was his absolutely horrid shooting. We all knew that as an older guy he has lost a step on defense; but we could justify keeping him on the floor over guys like Alec Burks if he was making his shots. Well, over the last little while that’s exactly what he has been doing. Since the game against the New Jersey Nets till last night Raja has made 18/33 shots, that’s 54.5 fg%. He’s also gone 6/11 from three, that’s also 54.5 3pt%. Raja’s also been putting in work on the glass and finding his team mates, but it’s his shooting that has vastly improved. I’m proud of Raja. I wanted him to come off the bench (for who, I don’t know); but he has turned it around. I love the confidence in his shot, especially off of the break as the trailer.