Behind a hot start by veteran Richard Jefferson and some clutch 4th quarter shooting by Trey Burke, the Utah Jazz were able to just outlast the Orlando Magic tonight 89-88. Richard Jefferson was the real story to start the game as he came out guns ablazing with a start that would have had Wilt Chamberlain shaking in his postcoital pajamas, if he were still with us today. Jefferson scored a career 1st quarter high 17 points on 5 of 7 shooting as he hit open 3 pointer after open 3 set up by Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward.
An 8 and 9 seed matchup
Overall the game resembled an NCAA tournament game: missed open shots, sloppy play, a lack of cohesive talent, and a competitive basketball score with a thrilling finish.
Highlight of the Night
The highlight of the night may have been the celebration of the 1983-84 Jazz team, the first to make the playoffs for the franchise. It was fun to hear in-game interviews from Frank Layden, Mark Eaton and Darrell Griffith. It was obvious that Layden and Eaton keep up with the Jazz still, but it was a little funny when Griffith declined an offer from Craig Bolerjack to commentate on some of the game, with the excuse, "I don't even know who most of these guys are."
The Doldrums of this Season
In some ways this game should have been seen from a mile away. The Jazz are losers of 11 of the last 12 and the Magic had lost 7 in a row. For the Jazz this game represents a palpable disinterest in the remainder of the season, as it seems difficult to nearly lose a game to a team equally disinterested in winning. This was a game that the Jazz had a strong grip on for much of the night, but stretches of uninspired play let Orlando right back into the game several times.
But ultimately this game goes in the win column for the Jazz (much to the delight and dismay of many Jazz fans) and probably ends the chance of the Jazz dropping to the bottom 3 in the league by season's end.
The Jazz were always going to need a little lottery luck anyways. Jazz get a chance to redeem themselves against the visiting Detroit Pistons on Monday night in Salt Lake City.