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The Downbeat #1781: Yes, I can count correctly.

A Thankful Downbeat. Enjoy your turkey today. And stuffing. Cuz the stuffing is what's really important. And pumpkin pie. And I guess mac & cheese, since I was told by a friend from Louisiana that Thanksgiving doesn't really happen without a side of mac & cheese. And you international folks ... well, enjoy another normal Thursday.

Someone took a 3rd helping of mashed potatoes without finishing their first round of broccoli.
Someone took a 3rd helping of mashed potatoes without finishing their first round of broccoli.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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I'm very thankful that the Jazz beat the Clippers.

More than any team in the current NBA, I really dislike the Clips. I hate the whining, the attitude, and the small-time Phil Jackson-ish attitude. If the Jazz only beat one team the entire year, I would choose it to be the Clippers.


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But, of course, I'm thankful the Jazz have beaten more than one team the entire year. They're 7-7, right in the middle of the 3rd tier of Western Conference teams. When the schedule came out this summer, I felt that if the Jazz could be at .500 at the end of Novermber, it would be a successful start to the year.

Well, here they are, at .500 with two games left in the month. To be certain, they will have to do a lot of hard work to split the final two games (at home vs. the Pelicans and then the ridiculous Warriors).

Bring it on

I'm thankful that Gordon Hayward has been, slowly but surely, looking more like the guy we saw all last year. Last night he finally had his first genuinely great game of the year.

Really, though, Hayward's sorta slow start is kind of a microcosm of the Jazz right now. They have yet to feel really in sync. Now that Hayward's coming to life, Burks has gone into an awful 5-game shooting slump. The five starters finally had a good performance top-to-bottom, and the bench was awful. Gobert hasn't been RUDY yet.

I realize that you should never just assume that things will work out, but I do think things will work out. I am anticipating the team get better as the year goes and that pretty soon we'll have everyone have a great game together.

They're going to get it.

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I'm thankful that Derrick Favors has taken such a big step this year. It's funny, because if you just look at his per game stats, a lot looks the same. But it's deceptive (in part because the two sick games still have a bigger impact on the per-game stats than they will by the end of the year). Favors has been one of the best two-way players in the league. I trust his mid-range jumper, his post game, and his decision-making. I trust him guarding guys on the block, roaming outside, and containing P&R's.

Derrick is magnificent.


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I'm thankful that my favorite team is on the rise. In some ways, these are the best of times. We don't know what the team's peak will be, we're not worried about every little flaw. It's the beginning of an era, and it's fun. Even if there are games like Monday's lousy showing ... we get something like beating the Clips in LA two days later.

The team's imperfect. There are flaws that need to be worked out. But enjoy the ride for what it is.