NBA Preseason 2013-2014, Game 8:
Utah Jazz 106 @ Los Angeles Lakers 111
Behind Enemy Lines (MyLo) / Silver Screen & Roll (SB Nation Blog) / Game Coverage
Jazz break their 6 game losing streak? Right? RIGHT??
Okay, when you get data you need to look at it. How closely you look at the data depends on what you are, honestly, looking for. The Utah Jazz lost this game, a close game, but still lost. There were some good points, some bad points, and some "huh???" points. But if you reduce the maginification on this one game and look at the team over the course of the preseason it's almost like you see two different squads over the 8 games. You have a fun team that runs, attacks the rim, and finds the extra guy . . . and then you have one team that gets blasted by opponents that are just in a different class than us. The good news is that they are the same team. The bad news is that they are the same team. We're going to have quarters of effort and excellence this season, and halfs of futility -- in the same game. The problem with such a young team (waiting on vets to return from injury like Marvin Williams and Brandon Rush) is that there's a great variation in performance.
And when you increase the magnification back onto this just one game you get exactly that: variation in performance.
The Jazz played a solid first quarter, finishing with a 23-23 tie after one. But the Jazz, who had been known for their strong second quarters the last two years, kept the foot on the gas and came out strong. The Lakers were right there but ended up being behind at the half on their "home" court. (Anaheim, whatever. Toe-may-to, Shibe) This is the same Jazz team and same Lakers team that had Utah down big in the last time these two teams played.
Of course, LA is no slouch, and destroyed the Jazz 37-20 in the third quarter. This is something we're just going to see this season. Utah fought back in garbage time to take the fourth quarter 33-23 -- and ultimately close the gap on this game.
Sure, a loss is a loss, but I'll take a 5 point loss on the road against a home loss by 10+ anyday.
The Lakers took the foot off the pedal a bit, but we have to play hard for all 48. And compared to some of our other preseason games, I think we showed just that.
Gordon Hayward finished the game with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 made threes, and 1 steal. He also shot almost 50 fg%. Over all this is the type of game we are going to get from Gordon when his shot is falling.
Enes Kanter finished with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and made all his free throws in 23 minutes of action. Derrick Favors was "neutralized" a bit in limited minutes and added 8 points and 4 rebounds -- with 2 assists. We're getting 5 assists from our starting bigs in less than half the game. I'm okay with that, we're going to share the rock this year -- and passing makes us harder to defend.
Off the bench we had great performances from the much maligned Alec Burks (18 points, 7/12 shooting, 1/2 from deep, 3/4 from the line), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and only 1 turn over.
Of course, the biggest impact once again came from Rudy Gobert, the rookie detonated for 16 points, 89 rebounds, 3 blocks, and shot 8/10. He did more than just dunk. But man, he did dunk quite a bit.
The Lakers were, well, the Lakers. They did enough to get the job done with their talented guards Steve Nash, Steve Black, and Nick Young all doing damage throughout the game. But who cares about them, right?
The Jazz played a fun game, young guys did their thing, and while we lost -- many Jazz fans on twitter mentioned how much they enjoyed watching this team play.
And that's what this season is going to be about. We're fans. We like this team. And this team is much more attractive to watch as fans. Even Non-Jazz fans were talking about how this team, with young guys who dunk and pass, were much more fun to watch then they had remembered.
It's going to be a fun season.
And we have 82 games to fall deep in love with this team.
And these players are just the type of players to make us fall in love again.