NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 18:
Houston, if Jeremy Lin has a PER of 12.6 and is making $8.4 million dollars, then you have a problem.
Somehow . . . I'm not upset with this loss.
The Jazz took a 9-0 run early in the first to make this game look like a laugher early. The Rockets responded with a 7-0 right after to even the score. It was a surprising quick start for our starters, and I felt really good about how things were going. The second quarter was more up and down with our bench falling behind, clawing their way back, and then our starters falling behind by 10 at the half. Chandler Parson was a big doo-doo head with his good basketball playing. Jeremy Lin and James Harden were mostly kept in check at the half.
Mo Williams started off super hot going perfect in the first quarter, and Big Al went 4/7 to start the game. Also of note is that Jeremy Evans played in this game. Yes, my mind is blown.
The second half was a whole lot of Barney Rubble. But we were right in it, taking the lead in the fourth with our starters (and Alec Burks) in the game. We ended up losing by 8 to a team I hate. And I don't really want to examine it too much. We have so many other, better, things to talk about today.
Gordon Hayward (SG/SF, 30:48) -- Hayward had a fine game shooting the ball, scoring 21 points (8/12 shooting, with 2/2 from the FT line and 3/5 from deep). He was getting it going from all over the court . . . off of screens, on the move, and on spot ups. Really, when you have a two way wing scoring 21 points off of 12 shots (1.75 PPS) you don't have much to complain about. Hayward was a little light on the other parts of the game though, only 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 block, and 4 turn overs . . . we feel like he's capable of being a bigger part of the game than just shooting. The one rebound in 30 minutes thing makes me a little unhappy -- especially on a night where one rebound here or there would have made a difference like tonight. STILL THO, that 3rd quarter where he came off the bench and went 4/4 fg, 1/1 three, 2/2 ft looked really good.
- Randy Foye (SG, 32:11) -- Without a doubt, tonight was the best game I've seen Randy Foye play in his career. He was the opposite of what Hayward was tonight, and showed an all around game. Foye finished with 20 points (8/11 shooting, 4/6 from downtown), which is phenomenal even for him. But even more amazing was the rest of his game, 6 assists (2 turn overs, so 3:1 ratio), he put the ball on the floor, created for others, and also split the defense a number of times and scored at the rim (something that's very rare for him -- so it's important to point it out). He also had 2 rebounds, 3 steals (could have easily been 5 if he was a little but luckier with how the ball bounced), and 2 blocks. He had his trouble on defense tonight with James Harden, like he had the previous night with Kevin Martin -- but by the boxscore he was a huge part of what we did tonight. He had an even more impressive 1.82 PPS. While that may not be sustainable, I truly do enjoy how well he's playing when he's playing at his best. And he played at his best last night. He did a lot of great things on the floor, and while he wasn't perfect, he did display more to his game than just being a guy who shoots the ball every time. He did what he had to do to show to me that he can be a starter in this league. I hope he keeps it up, because the rest of his performances this year haven't exactly given me that confidence in him.
- Mo Williams (PG, 35:55) -- Mo had a 16 and 7 game and somehow he's the third guy I'm talking about. These are numbers that would have us written sonnets if Devin Harris did them. I think it's clear that Mo has been much mo' of what we needed. He pushed the pace, went 2/3 from deep, and shot 53.8 fg% while not being rattled by the hype of Jeremy Lin and giving him the business. (Lin had 2 more points but shot worse) Mo did have 4 turn overs, but some of them were ref mistakes -- when you attempted a pass and the defender kicks it, it's a kicked ball. Not a turn over. Dumb.
- Al Jefferson (C, 37:24) -- Big Al had 20 points and 8 rebounds, along with 1 steal, block, and assist. He didn't get to the line at all against this weak-ash front court even once. He played 37 minutes and didn't dominate. I'm beginning to suspect that Al would be the best second banana in the league. A first banana gets either a double double or 30 on this team. He didn't have to defend anyone, and had trouble covering in the pick and roll -- but one thing that he was previously showing was a dominating inside game. These last two games had him making more and more outside shots, and less inside ones. This, to me, is going backwards. I will point out that in the 4th there were one or two post up attempts that SHOULD have resulted in him going to the line. But I can't blame the refs for everything -- I'd want to though. Al got robbed on those.
- Alec Burks (??, 14:18) -- Is Burks a shooting guard? You know how some people are listed at PG but only because they were too short to play SG? Is Burks listed at SG only because he's 1 inch too short to be called a SF? Tonight's game of "As Burks Turns" frightened me. He took more of those "no, no no, no . . . YES!" shorts that I would rather he did not take. They went in tonight (one floater over Omer Asik, one step back three right in James Harden's face). He had 11 points off of 4/7 shooting (57.1 fg%), went 1/2 from deep, and drew a number of fouls -- going to the line 3 times and making two. One of the things i NEED from a starting SG is to shoot 80 ft%, and Burks and Hayward both fall below that. (Check that, Hayward must have been on a tear, the last time I scouted him he was below 80%, now he's at 83.3 ft% -- good job, Hayward!) Burks continues to muck it up, play defense, not get lots on screens (he did get lost on one though, but ONLY one), and he played his game. He drove. He elicited defensive fouling. He got a ton of deflections. He also added 2 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block. It would have been more steals too, but that's how the ball bounces. Burks also handled the ball, set the team up in the half court, and brought the ball up the court against pressure. Hopefully soon we will return to the fabled Foye/Burks bench backcourt at some time. I really think it MAY work if you give them time.
- Paul Millsap (PF, 35:57) -- Sap had a double double, 12/11, with 4 assists and 1 steal. He went to the line 6 times, making 5. He even made a three. So why is he so far down? Well, 12 points off of 11 shots isn't much to be happy about. He shot 3/11, and we know he's better. I guess what we know to be true is that he's playing through an injury. It's beginning to show. (Methinks he's fearing the youngs breathing down his neck)
The second time the two starting lineups faced off the game changed. In a bad way. In the second quarter both teams went back to their starters to finish off the half and the Rockets went on a 14-5 run that the Jazz would have a tough time recovering from. The Jazz spent the entire 3rd quarter fighting back from the halftime deficit, and then being gassed in the fourth. The Jazz bench fell behind by 6 in the second quarter, but fought back and essentially tied it for the starters to lose again. It wasn't fun.
It also wasn't fun the second time our two bench units faced off, this time in the fourth. That time the Rockets bench went on a 20-7 run. Eeep. I think what this tells us is that we need to mix and match a little more. We did that against the Oklahoma City Thunder -- and it worked. We know it works, as Scott Brooks always plays one starter on the floor at a time. From a deep study of the lineups we've used the 5 on / 5 off line changes don't seem to be working as each time you're relying on cold people to somehow warm up and continue the flow of the game.
The Earl to Hayward alley oop. Either that or making Asik bleed. Both are good.
The Good News:
Our worst schedule stretch of the season is over, and we still have over 60 games left to play.
The Bad News:
The Jazz are 9-9 and people are going crazy for non-sense reasons and some injuries are starting to creep up.
I have a whole freaking post on this coming up today, so just hold on . . .
Post Game Immediate Reaction Video:
If you missed this somehow . . .