So, to all you young whippersnappers reading, let me explain something to you.
There was a time when the Jazz were near unbeatable at home. When 35 + wins at home was something you just expected, year after year. When lousy teams arrived and were dead within the first 12 minutes. When the bad guys showed up on the court just because they had to, and their only hope was to be able to get outta here ASAP.
It was fun to have a little throwback night last night. The Knicks were beaten within 6 minutes. The rest was just cuz the NBA doesn't have a softball-league mercy rule. Ya gotta play all dem 48 minutes.
The game was such a blowout that, according to Popcorn Machine, both Elijah Millsap AND P. Elijah Millsap played double figure minutes. I guess that led to this moment in the locker room:
But you know what they say ... It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.
Well last night did cause some hurt: David Locke emptying his noggin last night:
• So excited to see Porzingis and their was nothing to see tonight. He was terrible and played just 13 minutes.
There, there, Davy-Boobkins. I know. I know. It'll be okay.
Despite the tragedy of #2, there were some great things about last night.
First, how about Gordon Hayward (24-4-5, 9-14 overall, and 4-4) and Derrick Favors (20 & 8, 8-13 shooting and 4-4 from the line) destroying everybody while playing fewer than 30 minutes? That's what stars are supposed to do, and it was great to see them step up.
And second, how about responding to a really lousy defensive game with last night's first half obliteration? 11 points in the first 12 minutes? 18 points allowed in the first 19 minutes? The team may have done a seance and brought back the ghost of Gobert's MCL last night ... that was kick-butt. Granted it's the Knicks, whose season goal seems to muck around while saying, "At least we're better than Brooklyn."
But it was still good to see. That's what good teams are supposed to do.
Now let's see if they can do it over and over ... which is what makes a great team.
Yes, Jazz, I want you to giggle me like a hyena. All you gotta do is do it again. And again.
Speaking of Derrick Favors, who is becoming one of the elite PF's in the NBA, Mark Spears at Yahoo has a great article about Favors and his love of comic books. The best part:
"I love the Joker. He is my favorite one," Favors said. "He doesn’t want the money. He doesn’t want the fame. Excuse my language, he just wants to [expletive] things up for the fun of it. And I love it. It’s entertaining."
Doesn't this seem to be a hybrid personality of Derrick and Rudy?
You go, Joker!
So the Jazz are exactly where they've been all year: around .500 and sitting on the 7th spot in the West.
Personally, I'm hoping they can do even better. So here's the question:
Besides the obvious answer (Rudy returns mid-January rested, angry, and read for world domination), what kind of improvement would enable the Jazz to make another leap this year: putting them right into the "strong playoff team" category?
Personally, I'm looking at two things: the backup bigs and the non-Hayward wings. I'm looking at the bigs because the team needs more. I'm looking at the non-Hayward wings because I think they can do even more.