When the Jazz made it clear they were going to keep Al and Millsap, and then when they brought in Tinsley and Josh Howard, this was the kind of game I dreaded. A game that vets got to stink up their minutes while the kids watched on the bench, "developing."
It wasn't 100% the case, I know. Hayward got 29 minutes. Favors and Kanter combined for 30, which seems to be about their average. But still.
We haven't had to suffer through games like this at all lately, and hopefully this was just a cameo, but for me it was hard to watch.
The gig overview
The Jazz, of course, have two featured soloists—two guys who are the headliners, two guys who will get 90% of the time on stage in front of the microphone. Millsap and Big Al. Millsap was fine. Not breathtaking. Not one of those moments you're in tears knowing you'll never hear this improv solo ever again. But fine. He delivered a good performance. Al was bad. He was a trumpeter whose lips got chapped, split open, and bleeding but kept taking the solos anyway. You get why he was bad (the ankle injury), you applaud him for giving the effort because he knows he's the headliner (and probably because he knows he was missed against the Raptors)—but that doesn't mean the music was good, because it wasn't. Missed weazies over three defenders. Defensive rotations slower than stew thickened with oatmeal. It was vintage early 2010 bad Al.
As for the rest: Hayward took his role as the drummer and played great. We all would have loved some more great licks from him, maybe a drum solo or two, but you couldn't have found anyone doing the background stuff better. Devin was kind of invisible on his upright bass. Which isn't always bad. It was just walking bass lines, but sometimes that's enough. Raja did fine on the piano—even a couple of nice shots that made us momentarily wonder if he was the best of the three (he wasn't—but he had some really nice moments).
The backup crew was tough. Electric Earl was okay. Howard wanted all solos (shots) and murdered them. His background stuff was equally nasty—missing the hits, out of tune, sometimes playing the wrong part. And that's why it was so perplexing that the kids didn't get much of a chance. No Alec Burks. No Kanter in the first half. It's one thing when the vets have it going well, but another thing entirely when they don't.
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