First of all, congrats to the Chicago Cubs on winning the World Series. Watching their fans, seeing how the players reacted, and living in Chicago right now and hearing all the shouts, car horns, and fireworks it really makes me want the Utah Jazz (3-2) to win a championship. They are pretty far from that as November basketball is nothing like June basketball. But on this November night they took care of business and added another bruise to the ego of the winless Dallas Mavericks (0-4). The 97-81 final margin was evocative of how our guys were running away with the game.
It was a sloppy game from the start, and both teams spent the first half working on their masonry skills more than their offensive artistry. It was another game without Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and Boris Diaw for both sides. Dirk Nowitzki was back after missing the previous two for Dallas and he looked rusty. He wasn’t killing the Jazz like he normally would, missing jumpers — even wide open ones. If Dirk is going to have a bad game you’re going to accept that. Especially on a night when YOUR scorers are also having a bad night early.
The Mavericks didn’t push the pace and played in the halfcourt. Jazzkiller J.J. Barea did his thing, and Deron Williams had a few nice salvos to the basket (not all of them resulting in points), but it was really Wesley Matthews who kept Dallas in the game — a sloppy game — when no one else could make a shot. He couldn’t either, but he kept shooting.
Former Golden State Warriors, Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut, were mostly non-factors. Barnes made a few shots, but wasn’t overmatched by both big men and wings. Bogut got some boards and threw his body around — getting a tech for purposefully throwing an elbow into George Hill’s neck.
The teams finished the first quarter 15-14 in favor of Utah. The second quarter had a little more scoring, but the most exciting moments of the first half were the last moments. Deron Williams hit a three, and then George Hill hit a half court shot before time expired.
After halftime Quin Snyder’s club ran it up to a 20 point lead. Game over, right? Nope. The Mavs went on a 15-2 run, cutting the lead down to 5 at one point before Snyder was forced to take a time out. Dallas continued to chip away, tying the game at one point. But we got some fourth quarter Rodney Hood tonight, and some great two-man play from Joe Johnson and George Hill, and Joe Johnson and Rudy Gobert.
The good guys ran Dallas out of the building to finish the game. It was a strong play. Yes, Utah let them back in the game. But they stepped on their necks to finish it. You have to be cold blooded. That’s exactly what Dirk’s teams used to do to the Jazz.
Learn from the best. Then beat the best. And eventually, become the best. I’m not planning on waiting another, jeez, 60 years before the Jazz win a title. But if the Cubs have taught me anything it’s that nothing validates a silly little thing like being a life-long fan like winning a title.
- PG: George Hill had 25 points (4/6 from downtown), 6 rebounds, 4 assists
- SG: Rodney Hood had 22 points, shot above 50 FG%, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
- SF: Joe Johnson had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal
- PF: Derrick Favors played only 23 minutes and finished with just 8 points, and 1 rebound
- C: Rudy Gobert was in foul trouble all night long, but managed 12 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals, and 1 assist. He shot only 6/14 from the stripe though. That’s not what any of us want, himself primarily.
- Dante Exum (20 mins) finished with 10 points, 2 rebounds, and went 2/2 from deep, he should have had three dunks but did not attempt to thrown them down
- Shelvin Mack (14 mins) had 4 points off of 1/8 shooting. He did pass out 3 assists, and collect 2 rebounds
- Joe Ingles (23 mins) was forced into playing a whole bunch of power forward at times, but was a +8 when on the court for nearly half the game. He hit a three and had two dimes.
- Trey Lyles (23 mins) did not capitalize on his big game against the Spurs, zero points off of three shots. Four rebounds and one assist though.
- Jeff Withey (9 mins) continues to be efficient, getting a rebound and steal, and he should have been credited for a block but didn’t get the love from the score keeper.
- Raul Neto and Joel Bolomboy also played one minute of action.