Al Jefferson: The Big Fella came up big with 22 points off of only 18 shots this time around. I appreciate his 61.1 fg% from this last game, though the 1.22 points per shot is decidedly average (it is precisely average, even). I think a big point is that Al scored a lot more around the rim in this game, getting dunks and tip ins, while for the most part avoiding the outside shot. He only shot 4 times outside of the paint this game (1/4), which wasn’t the case in the Spurs game. Also against the Spurs he went 2-6 from his ‘Wheezy’ Range, and last night a much better 5-8 rate. Offensively he was much better. The bad news is that in one less minute he collected 5 less rebounds than he did against the Spurs. Still, his stats were much less hollow last night, and added 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, and an actually positive +/-! This is something we should expect from our primary scorer.
Devin Harris: Harris played his game, which is pushing it up the floor, getting into the paint (3 shots), getting to the foul line (10 times last night), and not waiting for the rest of the team jogging up court to set up a play that’ll probably end in a missed jumper from a wing. Harris shot 56% and finished with 19 points and 5 assists. He still had an absurd number of turn overs (3) for a point guard dishing it out only 5 times. But, well, he’s just not that type of point guard. He’s the kind that likes to shoot, and to his credit, he made three 3 points last night.
Josh Howard: Howard made significant contributions – mostly scoring 13 points, off of the strength of going 7 for 8 from the free throw line. He also played solid defense and was on the court during crunch time. He drew a charge late in the game that was on a key defensive possession. Over all, a good game, despite his 37.5 fg%. For the season Howard is shooting 35.4 fg%, which would not be tolerated back in the Jerry Sloan days. Howard’s last 5 seasons’ shooting percentages are 40.5 fg%, 40.1 fg%, 43.5 fg%, 35.8 fg%, and this seasons’ 35.4 fg%. No one asked, but Andrei Kirilenko was also a guy who used to get to the line a lot, and his last 5 years fg% was 47.1 fg%, 50.6 fg%, 44.9 fg%, 50.6 fg%, and last seasons’ 46.7fg%. It’s early, but if you graphed these two players out, the much maligned Kirilenko was quite consistent over the last 6 seasons, while Howard’s performance continues to drop.
Paul Millsap: Millsap continues to be in a shooting slump this season, and went only 3 for 7 last night. He also took only 7 shots last night, and played 25 minutes total. He still managed 6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals (again!), and 1 assist. Over all a solid off the bench performance, except he started.
C.J. Miles: I think there are some pretty hard set camps when it comes to Miles, but his contributions are hard to avoid. He played only 21 minutes last night, but scored 11 points, got 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 assist. He would have had more, but Jarrett Jack goaltended a late dunk attempt – still his three pointer was money. He didn’t get to the line at all, but he still scored on a 42 fg% rate (a higher fg% than Josh, and he took shots from farther away than him). He didn’t whine about playing time, and he finished the game strong. Good showing by C.J. with limited time on the floor.