I'm going to start off with the truth: I did not watch the game. I was busy pretty much all day with a bro-in-law's wedding.
So, aside from the highlights at NBA.com, I can't talk about specific plays. Though, as a fan of our young guys, that Hayward outlet to Burks for the alley-oop to Favors makes me smile. That's the future, folks.
But still the box score and the game flow can tell us a pretty clear story about this one.
In a way, tonight's game was a symbol of the entire season. The Clippers are a great team. They aren't the title favorites. They aren't even one of the inside-track challengers. They're more like the best of the Deron Jazz teams, a terrific team that has an outside, but still real shot at winning it all.
And the Jazz showed us that they just aren't as good. They're an okay team.
And let's be honest ... nothing can change that. No lineup shifts, no realignment of playing time ... none of the stuff so many of us have called for this season would have changed the outcome of this game.
The starters got the team into a small deficit in the 1st quarter (again). They also played one of the worst stretches of the year in the third quarter. Yet Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap both had stretches in which they were quite good.
The bench brought the team back at the end of the first quarter. They then got back in a hole in the second. Derrick Favors was a part of the horrible run in the 3rd quarter. And the bench couldn't get anything back at the end of the game.
And overall, of course, the biggest problem was defense. 94 points can win a game. But not when the opponent shoots almost 52% overall and 40% from three.
No, even for as big a fan of the C4 as me, the stats and the game flow don't say the Jazz win with different lineups.
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And yet, there are still things that are just so obvious.
Our starting lineup is terrible. It just is.
Our starting PG
To say Jamaal Tinsley is the worst starting PG in the NBA is kind of insulting to the other 29 guys that get brought into the same conversation by the statement. Do you want to see something funny? Here's the list of guards who have produced as poorly as Tinsley while starting at least 32 games. This is in the history of the NBA:
Yes, of the eight guys on this list, four of them have ties to the Utah Jazz.
Tinsley is simply finished as an effective player (and Earl, incredibly, is even more done). You guys had good careers, but it's over.
Our starting SG
I have been far, far happier with Randy Foye this year than I expected. His three-point shooting has been tremendous. But tonight reminded us again: aside from the three pointer, he's not giving the team a scrap of production. So when he's missing (like tonight) he's useless.
Our starting SF
Various national voices have started calling Marvin Williams the worst starting SF in the NBA. The more we see him this season, the harder it is to disagree.
I don't know if we'll ever know why Marvin didn't become a good player. Everyone loved him in college. I remember the 2005 draft vividly: and there were a few talking heads shaking their heads that Milwaukee picked Bogut instead of Marvin. By all accounts, he's a great guy. The Atlanta beat writers liked him. The Jazz beat writers like him. He comes across as a decent, intelligent person.
I don't know what "it" is, but in the end Marvin has never had more than a couple teaspoons of "it" as an NBA player, and now "it" is gone.
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These guys combined for this line 0-9, 0 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 0 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, and 4 fouls. They started both halves, and played 14, 22, and 14 minutes.
You simply can't be a good team when these guys make up 60% of your starting lineup.
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I don't understand why Tyrone Corbin and the Jazz Front Office doesn't see how bad this is. I don't understand how nobody but the fans see how much these guys hurt the team game after game after game. I know they're all great guys, but come on ...
No, the C4 are not perfect. Hayward shot poorly tonight and continues to have some Matt-Harpring-layup-reincarnations. Burks still has some inexplicably horrifying moments at the free throw line. Favors' offensive game still needs polish. Kanter has games that his shot suddenly disappears (not tonight, however).
But they're good. The team would be so much better playing them more.
No, they would not have miraculously turned around this particular game. Starting them isn't the difference between an okay team and a title contender.
But they could be the difference between an okay team and one that is better. The team would be better this season and in seasons to come if Tyrone Corbin could just stop the absurdity and bench the vets that can't play basketball at an NBA level.
If only ...