Wow, where do we start? I guess with last night and the Utah Jazz's 102-100 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Jazz were up by 16 points, but held on through the eventual LeBron James (31 pts) / Kyrie Irving (34 pts) / Refs (CLE 40 FTA) onslaught. For reals, I didn't think the Jazz were going to win this game. I didn't think it when the schedule was released, I didn't think it when the season started, and I didn't think it was even a possibility yesterday morning. I felt like a motivated LeBron James and a thoroughly shamed Cleveland team would find some pride and heart and show up.
And I'm so happy that our young Jazz team flipped the NBA script and won a huge game. More attention is given to the Sacramento Kings right now (and I know why -- because NBA wants to get into that huge Indian middle class market), but I really think that on any given night our Jazz guys are better than them.
Anyway, for more on last night's game check the recap here, the highlights here, the prophesy here, and the Vines here, here, and here.
We all know that a few months (week? who is counting? The Shums is counting. That's who!) ago G-Time posted that challenge on his blog about being better than LeBron James (at a video game). Last night he write a written apology to the Cleveland Cavaliers:
"Dear Mr. LeBron James: I know everyone tried their best out on the basketball court this evening. Unfortunately, there could be only one winner. Due to my actions before the final horn sounded, it was my team that won," wrote Hayward in immaculate cursive script. "I immediately felt terrible because I knew it would upset some people - and that was before seeing the looks on the faces of you and your teammates and your hard-working coaches and staff. I so appreciate you coming out to Salt Lake City to play basketball against me and my teammates. I truly hope your trip wasn't completely ruined. With utmost respect and friendship, Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz."
- Gordon Hayward, through the mind of DJ Gallo, Sports Pickle, 2014 [A sports satire site]
It's hilarious, check out the whole thing over here.
In other news....
gg wp L4b0n. gg.
So the Utah Jazz have two wins, against the Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They need 23 more wins this season to tie last year (I think they'll make it). Here's a quick snapshot of what our players do during wins!
Exciting, right? Our best players in terms of on court (or Fantasy basketball) production are Derrick, Gordon, Alec . . . and Trevor. That's in wins, only, mind you. If you further break that down into "averages per win" you get this:
So what does this say? Well, in wins the team is led by two guys averaging over 20 PPG, with three more with over 10 points. Everyone usually helps with the assists, and rebounds (where there are five guys averaging at least 5 RPG). It really is a team effort, but with the most senior players showing their star potential can be a star reality.
Of course, this is just with the sample size of 2 wins. Both at home. Both against teams that played the night before. Over the course of the season we may see this trend continue, but not the winning.
And I think we're fine with that. This team has lost a lot of games. They've made smart moves to get players through the draft who have star potential. Now it's time for them to play like stars, and get that recognition -- so that the next step in the plan can take place. Have our stars lead us to wins, and thus, the playoffs.
This Jazz team is on track. And I love it.
Do you play video games? You all know that I do. I play NBA 2K15 (sorry, on the PS4, not Xbox), and usually in the MyTeam mode. My goal is to construct the best possible Utah Jazz team in that game, and things got a little crazier a few days ago.
I don't know if you can read that, but they put it out there that they were going to be releasing throwback players to add to your MyTeams. Two of them were Andrei Kirilenko ('05-06) and Deron Williams ('09-10). I had been lamenting to myself (because no one will talk to me about this) about how the Andrei and Deron in the game were diminished players compared to their peaks. I really felt bad about AK who was such a shell of himself compared to how dynamic he used to be. And boom! Now they released these two players and I had to go for them! Because I missed out on the actual, normative process of getting them I had to get them in the auction -- which costs me a lot of real world dollars.
But I have them now, and my team is so much better with Andrei blocking everyone, and Deron being able to pound it against every point guard in the league and make crazy, flashy passes for assists. (For those who want the individual stats, or how much better the throwback versions are compared to the '13-14 versions, ask away)
I think NBA 2k15 is a really fun game, and the people who maintain it seem to want it to be the most up-to-date game there is. After all, this just happened:
@slcdunk so G did LeBron dirty last night for this to happen today. #CLEatUTA pic.twitter.com/tCmxusUCGl— brandon cooper (@bcoopsta) November 6, 2014
Ha ha ha, poor LeBron can't get a break.
LeBron James is now, for his career, 13-9 against the Utah Jazz, and 5-7 in Utah.