07 April 2010
On Sunday night I predicted the Utah Jazz to lose during our weekly podcast win loss segment. On Tuesday at about 4 o'clock I got 4-5 phone calls asking me how I felt about the game that night. I replied " I think we lose the Thunder are a really good team". The Utah Jazz did not close out one quarter well last night including the fourth, in a game that went down to the wire. I realize that this game will forever be remembered as the "Durant Foul" game by many and maybe the "Payback Game" by others. I don't care if it was a foul or not, the ref didn't call it and it goes into the win column for the Utah Jazz and a loss for the TTTSNBN.
After thinking about the hundreds of basketball games that I have been to and the 1000's yes 1000's that I have watched on T.V., including the playoffs in my short 31 years of life, this is the best. Last night was the best start to finish basketball game I have ever seen. Period. As I went through the catalog of games that have made an impression on my mind I couldn't think of any other game that equaled this game. The Jordan triple overtime game, the front row Spurs game, the Cavs comeback, the Denver Front Row/Deron sends us to overtime game, The 25 point comeback against Portland, The Playoffs for the past 5 years, Even the John Stockton "Shot" game takes a back seat to this game. Let me reiterate game as opposed to moment. Last night was the best start to finish game I have ever seen.
Deron Williams and Kevin Durant put on one hell of a show.
[caption id="attachment_1510" align="alignleft" width="800" caption="Deron and Durant shot chart for the game. "]
Durant didn't hit a shot in overtime and only had three buckets in the paint for the entire game. A back door alleyoop on a semi fast break, a tip in, and a baseline dunk early in the game. To say that the Jazz played good defense on Durant and gave up 45 is funny but truly I think they did. Look at his shot chart, almost all of his shots were outside of the paint and 13 of the 29 shots were from behind the arc.
Deron Williams has finally and should from this point on among everyone be known as "the" best point guard in the N.B.A. He has been in my eyes for quite some time, but last night he nutted up a performance that if the Jazz can close out the second spot in the West should put him on the All-NBA first team this year.
As great as a game as Deron had, He had some huge help from his teammates.
Carlos Boozer had two points in the first quarter seven in the second and Cj Miles had no points in the first half. As bad as the two of them played offensively in the first half the second half was ridiculous. Boozer and CJ combined for 35 points in the second half.
Memo had a huge first half and a rather dissapointing second half, but the other guys stepped up to take some of the slack.
Two guys that didn't step up last night were Korver and Sefalosha They combined for 47 minutes and no points. I know its not all about points but those guys are counted on to get anywhere from 5-15 points a game in this situation and to come up with empty is not common.
Millsap played huge of the bench and once again didn't get calls on one end and got a ton of calls on the other end. I let you decide which end he got the calls on.
I hate to do this but every time Matthews makes a shot from beyond 15 feet I can't help but thank all the other teams that didn't pick this guy up and that Brewer is not shooting them. Wesley Matthews has and continues to show is uncanny way to hit big shots when we need them. Fourteen points from an undrafted rookie is amazing but even more amazing is when those fourteen points come. A Huge three in overtime, A Huge three to take back the lead midway through the third.
Here are Brendan's thoughts from last night.
After the last 3 Jazz games I attended ended in Jazz victories, that were decided by halftime. I was a little hesitant to commit to heading up to the game with Spencer. Don't get me wrong I love seeing the Jazz play live its just hard to shake off the effects of 3 games mainly spent playing Bubble Breaker on my phone as the all star D-LEAGUE lineup of Yada, Big Fes and The Kouf see significant playing time in the 3rd quarter. With that being said I hesitated for all of a second before jumping in the car with Spencer heading up to what was going to be arguably the best game the NBA has seen this year.
It started off average enough. The Jazz were able to build a decent lead. Mathews and CJ seemed to have Durant under control and Memo was actually hitting 3's. The Jazz were cruising to a big win. Then OKC came alive. They couldn't miss a mid range jumper from anywhere. The Jazz had a few turnovers and just like that OKC had the lead going in to half time. If you attend Jazz games at least a few times a year you know the usual halftime routine. You take an inventory of the game and decide what needs to happen for a Jazz win. There was the obvious, CJ needed to score (zero at halftime) and Booze needed to become a factor after a very slow start and Deron just needed to keep doing what he was doing. By the way the halftime dancers were awful so that gave us extra time for speculation. Spencer came up with this gem "First team to 90 wins".
The second half of basketball was one of the best I have ever seen played and was strangely a lot like the Cleveland game earlier in the season. The Jazz built a solid lead late in the fourth and it looked like they finally put this team down. As Jazz fans we have learned though that any team with a player with James,Bryant, Wade or Durant on the back of their jersey is never out of it until the clock reads all zeros. Durant began to rattle off threes like they were layups and they weren't just normal toe near the line threes. These were five feet plus back from the line with solid defense, but he still hits nothing but net threes. I think one of LeBron's shots during the Cleveland miracle was from near the same spot. This is the point in the game where you start to get a sick feeling in your stomach and imagine what the ride home will be like. With the game tied Deron missed a jumped that 9 out of 10 times will go down and the Thunder had time for one last shot. I cant express to you how on fire Durant was at this point. They had time for a desperation prayer and I had no doubt in my mind if he KD got the ball in his hands he was going to hit the game winner. Durant got the ball near half court turned and fire...... and almost nailed it. The ball bounced off the back of the rim and we were headed to overtime.
The mood began to lift because overtime usually favors the home team. This was no usual over time game though. Durant had brought his team back from the brink and showed no signs of slowing down. In the overtime period the Jazz were very nearly put away after trailing by 3 if not for a brilliant and one from CJ that brought us back to even. If we had not gotten any points out of that possession I believe it would have been game over. Even with all this the Thunder still retook the lead off of a phantom foul on Durant by C.J. (this will be important) and a Layup by Green. With 5 seconds remaining,the the Jazz down by one, it was obvious to everyone who was going to be called on by coach Sloan. Deron fired the exact shot that he missed for the win in regulation but this time it hit nothing but net. The crowd at the ESA erupted in celebration even though there was still 1.1 seconds left on the clock. Again everyone in the building knew who would be taking the last shot for OKC. Durant created some separation from CJ caught the ball and fired as CJ closed the gap. The ball fell well short of the rim and the celebration was on.
Seeing the replay later CJ did get Durant on the arm on what should have been a foul. Karma is a .... well you know what I mean if you watched the New Years Eve game against OKC. Its to bad that ESPN chose to highlight the final no call (after getting several phantom calls throughout the game). Anyone who only watches highlights wont see how amazing a game this was. D Will's career scoring night, the Boozer stare down dunk, The Durant threes are just the tip of the Iceberg that was this game. If this is the regular season, I cant even imagine what the playoffs will be like. Go Jazz