Wow, when it rains it appears to pour; and with all the rain so far on our little Utah Jazz team early in the season fans are hoping that general manager Dennis Lindsey is building an Arc. Two winless teams played against one another, and the last team standing was the Boston Celtics who won 97-87. At times during the game both teams looked like they deserved their 0-4 records. Also, because basketball is a game of runs, at times both teams looked much more capable than their record indicated.
The Jazz started off looking good, but Celtics head coach Brad Stevens made the necessary adjustments to right his ship. For the Jazz? Well, we can point fingers at individual play or players, but you win games and lose games as a team. And when your team gets out scored by 19 points in the second quarter you put yourself in a pretty big hole. The Celtics lead extended to 25 points but the Jazz fought back and cut it down to 5 in the fourth quarter -- but just didn't have enough to fight on through.
Gordon Hayward and Richard Jefferson tried hard, and Enes Kanter did his thing, but you don't win a game with three players playing with heart, and the rest of the team not.
The Celtics wanted this game, and got it. They made a big lead and held onto it -- something any team learning to win can be proud of. Utah wasn't a lock to win in Boston ever (now 11-33 all time there), even during the early days of Stockton and Malone twenty years ago. We didn't win there last year with all of our vets. Losing to them when we had five guys sitting due to injury (Brandon Rush sat this one out because he's not cleared for back to backs yet) isn't anything to hang your head about. It's a long season, the winning will come.
- Gordon Hayward's apotheosis continues right before our eyes. He finished the night with 28 points (60.0 fg%), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal, and started to make his free throws. His game is more than just his numbers though, he's our primary ball handler in the half court and everything seems to revolve around him. He played with energy and almost single-handedly brought us back.
- Richard Jefferson has some game left in him, his over-all statline wasn't amazing, but he had a few good drives to the basket and showed that you can do things if you still care. He went to the line 4 times, had 5 steals, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and a much needed 13 points.
- Tyrone Corbin is putting his mark on this team. He's more comfortable with sitting some guys if they are playing poorly, something he did not do much in his three previous seasons in the NBA. He is also taking a chance on some guys to see if they have something -- Ian Clark played 17 minutes in this game despite not really killing it; and he and Alec Burks finished the game as the back court.
- Derrick Favors laid an egg. Which is funny when you look at the stat sheet and he finished with a double double, including 14 rebounds, and added 3 blocks. He was outworked by Celtics all night long and finished the game on the bench, not even standing up to support his team during the Jazz' run. I have theories, but I'm not going to go into them right now.
- The Jazz, previous to this game, averaged 13.2 offensive rebounds a game, and only 15.8 turn overs a game. Coming into this game the Jazz led the league in offensive rebounding percentage (34.7%) as well. The Boston Celtics, coming into this game, were worst in the league in protecting their glass, and very pedestrian in causing turn overs. This game? The Jazz only managed 11 offensive rebounds (2 more could have turned a 5 point difference into a 1 point difference), and the team turned the ball over a WHOPPING 20 times. The turn overs guys like David Locke are most likely to never forget and forever repeat came at the hands of Alec Burks late in the fourth quarter during our run. Where they momentum stoppers? Yes. Were they bad? Absolutely. Does this mean Burks is horrible and we need to tar and feather him? I don't think so. For the season he was previously averaging 2.0 turn overs a game, and in this game, had 4. Over all his average for the season is now 2.4 turn overs a game. The way some media members talk about him, ALL he does is turn the ball over. Everyone has a bad game from time to time. Even after having a zero assist night and four turn overs, Alec is still #2 on the team in assists for the team this season.
- The three point shooting continues to be absolutely awful. Utah went 1/10 from there tonight. Things are going to get better when Marvin Williams, Brandon Rush, and Trey Burke are cleared for action. But that may be weeks (months) away for all we know.
The Jazz go to 0-5 on the season. We lost again. It's not fun basketball in the short term, but you as a fan have to decide what thing you get upset about. You have the power to be upset over every little thing, or try to look at events and group them into different systems of behavior. We're losing games now when a) our top new prospect is injured, b) so many other people are also injured, and c) so many people are trying to learn new roles. Two of those three things are not going to be there after the all-star break, and our team will have fewer systematic disadvantages going against them.
And really, do you want to get upset over a road loss to the Boston Celtics when we're currently an injured and poorly performing team? I'd rather be more upset over LAST seasons' Celtics road loss when we were playing well, and SHOULD have won that game as we were leading during critical periods of the 4th. Not this one, where we fought back from 25 down while we were missing 5 rotation guys and Derrick Favors sat out the final part of the game.
Times are tough now, but will not be tough in the future. And this season is all about the future. And the future isn't even here yet because the F5 haven't even spent one minute on the floor together yet in an NBA game. Congrats Coach Stevens and the Celtics. You guys won this game. Don't expect us to spot you 25 in our gym.