NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 8:
Utah Jazz 140 @ Toronto Raptors 133
What? A game recap? At SLC Dunk? Well, yeah. We should be doing them every game but I'm a horrible administrator. We'll be doing them from now on . . . but I'm not married to the layout we're going to run with tonight.
As is customary we finished the first quarter down, but not because "our bench didn't help". Rather, it was our starters falling behind against their group. The group of Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Dominic McGuire, Andrea Bargnani, and Jonas Valanciunas went on a 7-0 early in the first quarter, and sustained that lead until the all went to the bench. Our bench (anchored on offense by Randy Foye, and on defense by Derrick Favors) stepped up all game long, and started it at the end of the first -- where they went on 5-0 run to finish the first quarter only down two.The second quarter was up and down, with the Jazz closing the margin a few times; however, the Raptors starters continued to prove to be playing superior to ours. Of course, this game was far from over -- but starting off the first half of the first game of a four game road trip down five doesn't mean your trip is going to fail. Though, a bad third quarter could bury us.
The Jazz went 6/11 from three in the first half, while the Raptors out rebounded us 12 to 10 (they had 5 offensive rebounds).
Once again our starters (Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Marvin Williams, Gordon Hayward, and Mo Williams) played up and down early in the third. Amir Johnson was super active in pace of the rookie Valanciunas, and seemed to really take advantage of our poor pick and roll defense by getting to the rim almost at will. This compounded the issue that the Jazz were having trouble with DeRozan's post ups, turn arounds, and drives; trouble with Bargnani's laser shot; problems with Calderon's court vision; and Linas Kleiza 's "Bench Mamba" action. (Hat tip to MyLo) The Jazz had a very solid 7-2 run in the middle of the third; yet still found themselves a few possessions behind still. The team started the third down by 5, and then finished down by 5. Randy Foye and Favors came win with a mixed lineup (Marvin, Millsap, and Enes) and stopped a Raptors 5-0 run that would have made the game that much more out of reach.
The fourth quarter was a lot of mixing and matching for the Jazz -- almost approaching desperation mode here. Toronto went on a 6-0 run prompting Tyrone Corbin to bring Big Al back in. Our team responded with a 7-0 run in our favor, alas, we were still down by 5 or 6. The Raptors continued to play great, pushing us to the brink but . . .
Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson started to hit some crazy threes, even though the Raptors had done what they needed to to win this game -- they could not within the 48 minutes stretch of 'regulation'. It was all tied after that crazy Big Al three pointer with 2 seconds left to play.
The big difference for the Jazz had to be our threes. Some of our guys are three point shooters and made them (Foye), missed them (Gordon Hayward), or aren't three point shooters and had to take them and make them (Millsap and Jefferson). On defense the big deal for the Jazz to even be in this game was the coaching move to go with the big lineup against their group of Bargnani / Amir Johnson / Linas Kleiza / DeMar DeRozan / and Jose Calderon. That allowed Sap to stay on the floor; while Favors shut down Andrea.
It looked like we were going to win this in the first, but it took us 15 extra minutes to get the win. It was our group of Mo, Randy, Paul, Big Al, and Derrick that played the entire overtime (save for some situations or changes due to fouls -- like when Foye fouled out). Toronto made some great shots too, and honestly, with the way some of their guys were playing early on -- and how sluggish we started the 1st and 3rd -- we stole this game.
- Mo Williams (PG, 50 mins): 17 points, 14 assists, 4 steals, 3/7 threes, 2 blocks, 7 turn overs
- Al Jefferson (C, 49 mins): 24 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 5/6 FT, 1 block, ONE AMAZING THREE TO SEND THE GAME TO OVERTIME
- Paul Millsap (PF, 44 mins): 34 points (off of 16 shots, 2.13 PPS!!), 9 rebounds, 9/10 FT (last season we lose this game on this alone), 3/4 3PT, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks
- Randy Foye (SG, 37 mins): 20 points, 4/6 from three, 4 assists, some great defense on DeRozan and in transition.
- Derrick Favors (45 minutes): 15 points (6/12, 3/6 FT), 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals -- team leading +15 in +/-
It had to be Favors coming in to check Bargnani. Other people have already tweeted out how much he affected him. Bargs got to the line a few times, but Favors also made him miss every shot he took with him on him (if I am trusting the right tweeps out there). Early on we couldn't check him with Al's sloth, or Millsap's shortness. Favors, at 6'11, and more athletic, put the clamps on him.
He also played the rest of the way after checking in with 3:31 left in the 3rd. So that's 3:31 (third), 12:00 (4th), and 15:00 (three OTs) all in a row = very happy Jazz fans. And more than that, way more effective Jazz defense. When you win a game in triple overtime your team is either playing no defense or great defense. When we needed it most, it was great defense.
It's hard to argue against Big Al's amazing, nearly improbable, prayer three pointer . . . but DeRozan's "game winning" dunk right before that where he took Randy Foye, and the rest of our defense to school, and effectively 'won' the game for his side was better. I'm not doubting Al's range, or confidence, but in terms of more of a sure thing you'd have to select DeMar breaking us down (had a career high 37 tonight) and killing Foye over the Big Al second chance shot, three pointer with 2 seconds on the clock.
Both were good. We were just luckier. And we won. So I'm being generous here.
The Good News:
We won our first road game of the season!
The Bad News:
We needed three overtimes to defeat a Raptors team playing without their starting backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields.
The first game on this road trip is in the books, we've got @ Boston Celtics, @ Philadelphia 76ers, and @ Washington Wizards left to play. To echo Spencer, you kinda want the team to go out there and get two more wins on this trip. I'd love to see it.
Post Game Immediate Reaction Video:
If you missed this somehow . . .