The Utah Jazz lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers last night, but it was a great game that foreshadows a very bright future for our young club. We look at some highlights, but also delve into some of the harder game dynamics -- and learn that our Jazz are as "for reals" as they can be after seven games. We also look at the Delta Center / EnergySolutions Arena / Aunt Viv eras for home dominance. Gordon talks video games. Media members dress up and down. And most of all, recognizing why today is an important day.
Today is a special, important day. Today is when we observe Veterans Day (USA), Remembrance Day (Commonwealth Nations), and Armistice Day (Belgium, France, Serbia). I think we all know the significance of these linked days, all November 11th, so I'm not going to go too deep into it. I don't like it when young men are wasted, even if it's for three seasons under a bad head coach. The seer magnitude of young people who have died because of World Wars would crush my feeble mind if I could calculate it. But the point isn't that you should be 'anti-war', the point is that you should be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to fight for what is right and moral and good in the world.
There are vets who read this blog, and I wish them nothing but peace for the rest of their days. The distraction of sports helps us forget that there are yet battles to be fought still, and many more horrors to confront.
Almost everyone I have met in my life has some family tie to someone who fought, conscripted or not, in the World Wars we historically memorialize. This means that almost everyone I have met has a direct link to heeding that call of duty. My great grandfather fought in WWII, my nephews just buy the new console game every year. Kids these days, right?
Furthermore, because this is what happens when a lunar calendar and a solar calendar line-up, today is also Diwali, the somewhat famous "Festival of Lights" that the South Asian diaspora celebrate. It's essentially the start of the Hindu new year and the start of the best intentions and plans for the next 12 months. I see a link between these two auspicious days. On one hand one must face the amount of loss given through sacrifice (note: in the US this may be more of a "Memorial Day" concept, but the rest of the world bottles those feelings up for November 11th). On the other hand you are lighting up the world, removing the darkness and evil that once was.
I also think this links up with what we're seeing in Jazzland as well. Our young players are like bright lights that give us hope, and will help us move forward to victory, after years of darkness and misery. That game last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers fills me with hope and happiness that the next 12 months of Utah Jazz basketball will be much greater than what we've seen over the last 12 months. And we were pretty happy with the progress the team made last year, too!
Rudy Gobert is indomitable. Derrick Favors is devastating. Gordon Hayward is our leader. Rodney Hood is the prodigy (that I want to start calling "Mississippi Velvet"). Raul Neto is a freakin wolf. Trey Burke and Alec Burks take care of business off the bench. Joe Ingles sleeps when his bed is burning. Trevor Booker is proof that too much sugary cereal gives you lots of energy. And Dante Exum is going to return, one day, the prince that was promised.
As Jazz fans we do recognize what we lost, but look forward to the new brightness our team fills us with.
Moving on, our very own Gordon Hayward is a two-sport athlete. Well, yeah, we know about his love of Tennis, and he's a professional basketball player -- but I mean he's also a professional eSports gamer. There are a few out there in the NBA, Jeremy Lin also plays 'twitchy' games like League or DOTA, while Channing Frye, Shane Battier, and Andrei Kirilenko play more RPG and strategy (of course beyond World of Warcraft it's so obvious that Andrei was a huge Heroes of Might and Magic player . . . his old website used to talk about his addiction). G-Time has long held the belief that games are not just for the hot pocket eating demographic, and defended his opinions on a blowhard's radio program. (I don't know if he is one, but he has Cow in his name. That's a lot of methane if you ask me.)
International (he is Canadian) try-hard Rick Fox asked him a very L337 question in follow-up on NBA-TV.
.@gordonhayward pleasantly surprised w/ eSports question during @NBATV interview w/ @RickFox...check it out: https://t.co/IbUNRD68Nz— Priority Sports (@PrioritySports) November 9, 2015
Gordon Hayward joins the crew https://t.co/yxvKFa9IbV— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 8, 2015
Yeah. Wow. Mike Fratello has no idea what's going on. I don't blame him.
NBA TV is a crazy thing. You see former players there, and then you also see random people who worked their way up from being civilian fans to being TV stars . . . and that's when greatness happens:
Best looking guy on TV was wearing this @utahjazz tie today. #TheStarters @LeighEllis pic.twitter.com/y3RnHNYSvA— Tas Melas (@TasMelas) November 10, 2015
Yes, that's Australian former just-behind-the-camera-studio-guy Leigh Ellis wearing a tie that features not just John Stockton, but also Karl Malone. Because the hidden theme of this downbeat is duality . . . here's the hardest working man on the beat, Jody Genessy looking . . . well . . . he said it best:
"Is this what my life has really become?" — Me, self-reflecting during a Quin Snyder interview. (h/t @espn700David) pic.twitter.com/9h8l9oPxR6— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) November 9, 2015
Man. I love Jody, I just want him to have a day off once or twice a season.
Wait, I made it this far down in the downbeat without using any math? Boom. Ed brings it here:
NBA distribution of team in-game points differential. I _think_ this is interpretable. pic.twitter.com/verMbYzMMq— Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer) November 9, 2015
First of all, yes, this is awesome. Second, this shows that Utah is 5th strongest by the numbers. Also, man, the warriors have a huge range. The hidden thing is that the Jazz, for whatever reason, seem to put their points up when it matters most. They are behind on average in game, but still have an above .500 record for a reason.
Ed has another tweet that shows each team's game time and if they are usually ahead or behind. The Jazz aren't killing it in the first half, but that fourth quarter, tho!
NBA Team's proportion of time spent leading/tied/trailing in each quarter. pic.twitter.com/PFj0CBqTeF— Ed Küpfer (@EdKupfer) November 11, 2015
Anyway. I like math. Not everyone has to. Here's Dakota's Alec Burks highlights from last night in penance.
#LestWeForget Part 2:
The end of an era. #ItsBeenRealESA pic.twitter.com/2hj94qyTPV— Reagan Hackett (@ReaganHackett) November 10, 2015
So, because I'm me, I had to hand calculate the win / loss record of this building for each year and add it up. And this is why this downbeat is so late today:
|3||Vivint Smart Home Arena||2015||--||1||1||50.00%||0||0||--||1||1||50.00%|
So, during the "Delta" era the team went to two NBA Finals, and seven Western Conference Finals. The "ESA" era the team went to one Western Conference Finals. If this is a trend the "Viv" era will result in the Jazz making it as far as the All-Star break. Jokes aside, wow, this team used to really dominate at home. I love that the last two seasons we've seen a team that can go out there and win home games. If you put the two together you can get another 60 win team. And that's really the hope. I don't want the rest of the banners the team puts up to be for Country Western singers.
Also, this is funny -- Basketball John just tweeted this so I had to add it:
Happy Veteran's Day. pic.twitter.com/iD4TFu14lM— Kris (@5kl) November 11, 2015
Ha ha ha!