It took overtime to get there, but the Utah Jazz are on their first three-game winning streak of the season after dispatching the gentlemanly and polite Chicago Bulls 105-96 in overtime on Monday. Let's talk about it. Also: Derrick Favors needs a new bed (maybe), former Jazzman Earl Watson has a new job, and Trey Lyles stars in a new Vine. It's your Tuesday Downbeat, and it's time to get weird.
Let's hit the highlights from last night's game:
Gordon Hayward led the way, but I love seeing six Jazzmen in double figures. The strength of this team is its versatility and balance, and the more matchups and combinations Quin Snyder can throw out there, the better the Jazz will be. And even those who didn't score contributed in other ways, from Joe Ingles' beautiful assists to Trevor Booker's energy to Trey Lyles'...well, we'll get to him later.
But the real player of this game, Hayward's excellent line notwithstanding, was Raul Neto. While the Jazz blogosphere has been busily discussing the Zach Lowe-proposed trade of Jeff Teague, our young Wolfie has been staking his own claim to the position. Since the start of 2016, excluding the game against the Pistons where he suffered a concussion, Neto has averaged 7.3 points and 3.1 assists in 24 minutes per game. His three-point shooting is up to 37.5 percent for the season, and his 14-point performance on Monday was a career high.
That doesn't mean the Jazz shouldn't continue to look for help at point guard. It's safe to say that, if Dante Exum were healthy, Neto would be seeing much less playing time. He's been a fine stop-gap, but he's not a long-term answer at the position. Still, he's fun to watch, and he gives the Jazz another outside shooting threat.
I saw multiple Jazz observers on Twitter say they thought they'd seen last night's game before -- the Jazz hang with their opponents, make up a deficit late, only to fall agonizingly short. Utah has done just that frequently this season; they've lost 10 games by five points or less. If just half of those had gone the Jazz's way, they'd already be above .500.
Then again, maybe the team learned something from all that:
Quin Snyder: had we not gotten to the point to loss some of those other games we don't win tonight— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) February 2, 2016
(Pretty sure that's supposed to say "to lose some of those other games." Locke's great at many things, but spelling tweets correctly is not one of them.)
All in all, a most satisfying win. Especially after that florid bow from Derrick Rose.
Gordon Hayward didn't see Derrick Rose's bow he made after hitting his go-ahead 3 late in regulation, but he had one word for it: "Karma."— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) February 2, 2016
Let's talk beds. Derrick Favors needs a new one.
IMPORTANT: Derrick Favors thinks his back injury was a result of a soft mattress and sleeping on his stomach. He's working to fix both.— Aaron Falk (@tribjazz) February 1, 2016
The quote in full, from this video:
No, wait, that was apparently a joke.
As many suspected, Favors confirmed to me after the win that his "I need a new bed" comment at shoot around was meant to be a joke.— Austin Horton (@austinhorton) February 2, 2016
Maybe we should call an old friend.
Look, beds are complicated.
Moving on: the only new FanPost this week is this thread from Ozzy3113 discussing the possible Jeff Teague trade. Click through for the comments. Or go write your own FanPost, so I can feature it here next week.
We heard the unfortunate news about former Jazzman Jeff Hornacek's firing yesterday, but one Jazzman's loss is another's gain:
The Phoenix Suns have promoted assistant coach and former NBA player Earl Watson to interim head coach, a league source told Yahoo Sports.
Watson, 36, was hired as an assistant coach under Hornacek on June 4 and was promoted on Dec. 28 after assistant coaches Jerry Sichting and Mike Longabardi were fired. Watson began coaching professionally last season with the San Antonio Spurs' NBA Development League affiliate in Austin. The Suns also considered assistant coaches Cory Gaines and Nate Bjorkgren for the interim opening.
As ever, @DJJazzyJody proves prophetic:
Just ran into my favorite player to cover, Earl Watson. He joined Jeff Hornacek's coaching staff this season. He'll be a head coach someday.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) October 9, 2015
It's an interim gig for now, and the Suns are kind of a mess, but I'm glad to see Earl getting the opportunity.
Here's Trey Lyles' latest lesson in flexology:
I like the bounce and the stankface, but I wanna see you REALLY get weird with it, Trey. It can't be too premeditated. Let yourself go. Free your mind. There is no spoon.