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The One Where Jeremy Was Allowed to Dunk Edition: The Downbeat #690

Tonight is the last game before the much needed All-Star break. I am worried about the game. I imagine there might be a focus problem for our young squad, who probably already have their bags packed for their vacation destinations.

Lets look at how the Jazz have fared in their last games before the All-Star break the last five years :

2011: Golden State Warriors 107-100 L (at home) - Jazz lost 5 games in a row before the break.

2010: Los Angles Lakers 96-81 L (at home) - Jazz had a 9 game winning streak before this loss (stupid Lakers)

2009: Los Angles Lakers 113- 109 W (at home) started a 12 game winning streak

2008: Oklahoma City Thunder 112-93 W (road) middle of a 3 game win streak

2007: Cleveland Cavaliers 101-100 W (home) last win of a six game win streak

Last year before the break was so gloomy. This year doesn't have the drama like last year but all the losing still hurts a lot. Lets hope the Jazz get sneak out a win tonight at go into the All-Star break at .500. (oh my gosh since when am I as a Jazz fan rooting to have a .500 record, blerg)

The Jazz face those Pesky Twolves tonight. I hate playing the Twolves almost as much as I hate playing the Heat or Knicks (not Lakers level hate). We have always seemed to match up poorly against them, even when we win its usually a nerve wracking win. This is the 2nd meeting between the Jazz and the upstart Wolves (see BTS's article about how much cooler the Wolves are than the Jazz) . The Jazz beat the Wolves at the ESA on January 21, 108-98. Kevin Love was held to 5-21 shooting, Rubio lead the Wolves with 17 points and Williams was a nice spark off the bench with 16 points.

The Jazz were lead by Millsap (when he was in his crazy All-Star mode) with 26 points (12-of-18 shooting) . Raja was amazing, he only missed one shot (5-6) while scoring 12 points. CJ and Al both scored 18 points.

January is when we were winning a lot, the team seemed to have a lot more confidence in themselves back then. The Jazz broke the Wolves three game win streak. Lets see what happens tonight, and hope beyond hope that the Jazz can find that confidence one more.

Scott Laden was a guest on KFAN yesterday. Scott Layden Interview here

Nothing new was really shared in the interview. They did ask Scott about all the point guards who go off on the Jazz. Scott mostly said well those point guards go off on all other teams too. If I was conducting the interview I would have followed that up with what about point guards like Jarrett Jack ( 27 points 11 assists for Hornets), Collison with his season high 25 points against the Jazz etc. But I wasn't conducting the interview and I'm just a blogger so...

Scott was asked also about why the Jazz never play zone defense. Scott said how the Jazz played zone defense more last year and that overall the Jazz's man to man defense is much improved this year. Scott also mentioned the lack of practice time. Scott said Ty believes that zone defense won't consistently allow you to win, that playing man-to-man defense is the way to win games.

I understand Ty's philosophy but if its not working, does it hurt to try something new to change it up once in awhile, not always but once in awhile?

Yesterday marked the 19th anniversary of John Stockton and Karl Malone winning Co-MVP's for the 1993 All-Star game. Karl lead the way with 28 points and John Stockton had 15 assists as the West beat the East 135-132 in OT. Stockton and Malone became the first players from the same NBA team to ever share the All-Star Game MVP award. So fitting that Stockton and Malone would share that honor. Watch the whole game when you get a chance here:

Congrats to Derrick Favors for making the Rising Stars Challenge. He'll play with Hayward on Charles Barkley's team. Congrats to Jeremy Evans for making the dunk contest. Open Poll today: What dunk do you want to see Jeremy do at the contest Saturday night?

Just for fun here's a video Moni shared with me. I told her this is how the Jazz play against the Lakers in the playoffs.