After an unusually hard fight with the Los Angeles Lakers that included blowing another 3rd-quarter lead and nearly blowing a 4th-quarter lead, the Utah Jazz ended up pulling out the W in front of the blue-out Aunt Viv crowd, 96-89. George Hill steadied a listing ship and brought it into harbor safely. His 23 point, 3 rebound, 3 assist, 1 block performance was assisted by solid games (in the first half) for Rodney Hood, (and in the second half) for Joe Johnson. Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert took care of business in the paint, combining for 18 points, 22 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 6 blocks.
Granted, these Lakers are far from the Showtime variety, but we'll take the win.
This game wasn't supposed to be close. The Jazz had these guys outcoached, outgunned and out-homecourt-advantaged, and I suppose it's my job to figure out why things went down the way they did. So, with out further ado, let's look at a few things.
Three, M'Lord, Three!
The Jazz shot a less-than-stellar 6-25 from 3-point land. That's 24% for those of you keeping track, which ties Paul Millsap's jersey number. If you're lost, this is some free exposure for @Useless_Comps. They're hilarious.
Anyway, the boys from Southern California shot 9-23 (39.1%). In a close game, that makes a big difference. The Jazz have been below average at shooting and about average-ish at defending the three-point shot thus far, which is a continuation of last season. Here's hoping for some improvement in the upcoming games.
This was the most important factor in the game. The Jazz were +19 in FTA and +12 in FTM. I'd like to see a higher percentage than 69.2%, but our guys did enough to win this one.
Surprise Stat of the Night:
Trey Lyles. -17. Erm, ouch. Love you, Maple Mamba, but that's what I call an off-night.
Most Encouraging Off-The-Wall Stat:
Every player in a Jazz uni who saw the floor had an assist except for (surprise, surprise) Trey Lyles. The ball movement is already light-years ahead of what we've seen the past couple of seasons. The returning players are getting even more comfortable with Quin's system, and our new acquisitions are making everyone better with their command presence and court vision.
As I said, it wasn't pretty, but I'll take any win, especially against the Lakers. Good teams find a way to win, even if they win ugly. Up next, the Jazz face the other, more talented LA team, this time on the road.
See you all on Sunday.