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Utah Jazz-timism - The Downbeat #1569

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

What a great game last night. Does anyone else watch these games, knowing that the Jazz can win, but consistently fighting off pessimistic tendencies? It's a feeling of constant impending doom. I thought for sure that the Sixers game was going to turn into a blowout. Wrong. I had a strong feeling that the Celtics game would look like some games in the past few years. Wrong. I mean... right, in that they lost, but wrong in that it came down to one brilliant inbound play.

(Side note that I would put in the little sidebar, or that little footnoted pop-up thing if we were cool like Grantland: Want to feel better about the loss to the Celtics? Here's a little tidbit I found while researching: Going back 5 seasons, the Jazz have beat the Celtics exactly one time.)

The Nets game last night had trap written all over it. Last game of their last big road trip. Sunday afternoon game. Against a big market team... and they never looked outmatched. This Jazz team is a throwback to the 90's defensively, with a beautiful modern offense, and it's amazing.

Amar posted his version a little bit ago, so I'm just going to get right into it (Amar's Excel skilzzz >>):

Way back when, 2 months ago, I wrote a little State of the Utah Jazz. There were predictions on how the games would play out. Let us revisit those predictions and see if there are changes.

Jazz Wins

That took way too long.

Anyone else drinking the kool-aid?

Two months ago it was tough to want to find the time to go to the games? Now, it seems like something has clicked for everyone. The Jazz will lose games, but they will be in them as long as they continue to play this level of defense.

For years we have opined for a team with at least a top ten defense. If the Boozer/DWill/Memo teams could have mustered this level of defense, they could have won it all. Let's be honest with ourselves -- Sloan was not a defensive coach. Those amazing teams in the late 90's played good defense, but they were also very much aided by the rules at the time. Sloan, as much as we all loved him, had a defensive strategy consisting of "Try really hard" and the rest you could chalk up to veterans who figured out the right way to do it.

In contrast, this team has a very strong defensive scheme, that is boosted by having incredible length on the perimeter and two very good defensive anchors around the basket. Delicious.

One of these players' coach is caping HARD for him to win DPOY. One of them is quickly becoming a darling of the stats world. Do you know which is which, and who the players are? They are both big men, and these are their defensive stats, via NBA.com's SportVU.

DeAndre Jordan D

Rudy D

SBNation's inimitable Paul Flannery wrote about the Jazz. I'm sure you saw it on the front page, but please read it. PFlanns got to see Rudy and the squad up close when the Jazz visited Boston last week:

Click the link on the SLC Dunk front page, and check it out.