The Utah Jazz extended their season long win streak to seven games after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in overtime 121-119. Before we get too far into it, let's also relish the fact that Utah also snapped a 10 game losing streak in Dallas by doing so. And they did it with second half defense, and late game performances that *almost* absolve the team from having a horrible start to the game. Utah won, and in an 82 game season that may be all that matters. But in the continuing evolution of a player's career path and public narrative this was a big game for both and . G-Time sunk the game winner to beat the buzzer, and five minutes before that Hood hit the high degree of difficulty fade away three pointer to send the game to overtime. But a game isn't just two made shots. And a solid team win like this isn't a product of just two players.
But let's start at the beginning . . .
Utah was getting shellacked from outside in the first quarter. Dallas didn't even MAKE a two pointer in the first 12 minutes, after putting up 29 points (6/12 from deep, and 11/11 from the free throw line). This was yet another customary poor Utah start that had the Jazz playing catch-up for most of the night. While an offense that nets 21 points in the first quarter isn't much to talk about, it was the poor defensive strategy that seemed to leave multiple open shooters that made life so hard for the Jazz. That *and* the whole foul everything that movies doctrine. That works if you are the 2008 Boston Celtics and don't get called for it. The Jazz are getting called for it, though.
Because the team was without three rotation guys (one starter), and Quin Snyder refuses to play one free agent pick up, we were subject to some very funny line-ups in the first half. They were not all successful; however, BBVA Rising Stars Challenge participant really had some important minutes in the second quarter and helped keep the team in the game. Still, the good guys were behind 58-51 after 24 minutes of action. Sadly, they would give back +2 points to the Dallas Mavericks after losing the third quarter 29-27.
So, going into the fourth the Jazz were down 87-78, to a team that was shooting great from three and getting to the line at will . . . a team that was at home . . . a home they haven't lost on for 10 straight games. It didn't look good. But as we expect, our guys buckled down on defense, and rose to the occasion. The Jazz scored 32 points in the final regulation frame and tied it all up on this Hood jumper:
Overtime was crazy, as usual, and according to the game thread and twitter timeline -- very stressful for our fans. It's great to finally have games that mean something again. Both teams were trading scores and staying without arms reach of one another, but Gordon had the knock out punch with this buzzer beater:
N.B. Deron's body language
That's now seven straight for the good guys, after yet another improbable come-from-behind effort. The Jazz are winning, which is great. But they have to still learn that you can win a game in the first half. *sigh* But they are young, and young people never really learn from their elders. The audacity of youth is a frustrating and wonderful -- something all the educators who read this know firsthand.
I'm excited about this win, and I really enjoyed the heroic plays in crunch time by both Hood and Hayward. But this wasn't just a game of two H-Bombs. The team had solid contributions from any players.
|11||INJURED - Flu|
|12||INJURED - Rehab (Left ACL)|
|13||INJURED - Rehab (Broken Leg)|
|14||DNP - Coach's Decision|
|15||NBADL - Idaho Stampede|
I would like to point out that Christapher had 7 rebounds off the bench. Also, this game probably doesn't even need an overtime if Hayward doesn't go 0 for 6 from deep. Speaking of Hayward, I would be a subjective hypocrite if I didn't poo-poo his 20 points off of 20 shots performance. I was critical offor those types of nights when he was here (and making clutch baskets). Integrity demands that I also point out that Hayward has previously before been, and should continue to be a more efficient scorer.
Rudy didn't dominate the defensive box score, while Derrick had a sneaky well-rounded game. He led the team in assists! Raul fouled out in OT, but continues to be a sharp scorer even if he's not yet taking as many John Stockton half-court offense pull up jumpers as he probably should.
Rodney is on a different planet right now. Perhaps Mercury?
Anyway, it's lovely to get the win. It's great to break a futility streak. It's even better to continue a successful one. Buzzer beaters are exciting, and two in the same game is almost overkill. And don't look now, but the Jazz are 7th in the Western Conference, and 3.5 games behind the 5th seed. It was not until this moment that knew what the Pure Adrenaline Rush™ was all about.
Utah finishes up their pre-ASB schedule with a game tonight (tomorrow if this recap went up last night as it should have), visiting their old home and new rivals, the New Orleans Pelicans!