29 December 2011
It was “Free Taco” night for Nuggets fans as the growing pains continued for the Utah Jazz in the Mile High City. It was another tough game to watch if you’re a Jazz fan. It was dunk followed by dunk. And then another, and another, as the Nuggets scored 68 points in the paint on their way to a 117-100 win over the young and inexperienced Jazz squad.
Denver had their way in the paint as Nene, The Birdman, Gallinari and Harrington all had posterizing dunks vs Jazz big men. Denver didn’t shoot the ball from outside particularly well, but they didn’t need to. Ty Lawson spear headed a run and gun game that left the Jazz bewildered and lost. At one point in the game it was playground basketball for the Nuggets. They laughed, played, danced and taunted their way around the young inexperienced Jazz. Denver had a playful arrogance surrounding them and with good reason.
It was another night where it was hard to watch, yet there were positives to pull from this game. Al Jefferson recovered from his forgettable 2-16 night in LA to finish 8-14 for 19 points and 4 assists. The Jazz, who had a hard time making 71 points look respectable in LA, reached the century mark for the first time as a group. What was an horrific night offensively in LA was the complete opposite in Denver.
And it was again the young rookies who took center stage. Enes Kanter came in and immediately left his unintimidated imprint on the game. Ten seconds in, he corraled his first rebound of the night. Kanter is proving to be a force down low. He has no fear! He continues to impress with his nose for the basketball. It doesn’t matter who it is. He fiercely attacks the boards and holds his position defensively on the blocks.
After what was a forgettable five minutes in LA, Alec Burks entered the game and provided a pleasant spark in “garbage time”. He continues to show flashes of the brilliance in his game. His ability to get to the hoop is undeniable. He is athletic and lightning quick. He, like Kanter, shows no fear of being on the court. He has become a fan favorite and provides an exciting bright spot in what looks to be a painful season to digest as a Jazz fan.
Hayward continues to impress as well. In fact there was a brief moment tonight where he played the point with Harris playing the off guard position, something Coach Corbin might want to consider using as the season progresses. Hayward is a fantastic ball handler and can and will make his teammates better. He was a brilliant facilitator again for the Jazz tonight, dishing out a team high 7 assists. He again showed flashes of brilliance that make one excited for what is to come.
Favors impressed in his brief time on the floor. He, like Kanter, has the ability to dominate the glass. He rebounded the ball extremely well tonight finishing with a team high 10 rebounds.
But Favors, like Kanter, has to learn one very valuable lesson: stay out of foul trouble.
Five minutes into the game and he found himself on the bench with 2 fouls. Yes the referees aren’t giving him much to work with, but as a youngster he has to recognize that and play aggressively but wisely.
Collectively the Jazz need to gain confidence. They start off strong but, when Denver started putting the pedal to the floor, they backed off, reeling from the blow that had been dealt. As soon as Nene went down the lane for his second uncontested dunk it was apparent they weren’t sure how to respond. They had been dealt a deadly right hook and weren’t confident enough to fend off the ferocious attack from Denver.
All things considered, this was another night of bumps and bruises. The learning curve will not be discovered for some time. It may not even be discovered this season. The offense has no flow and no continuity. Many, if not all of the players on the floor, look completely lost at times. But that is a reflection of yet another truth: Ty Corbin is a rookie himself. He too is learning the flow of the game. He is still realizing his potential as a head coach. His imprint on the game will not be realized until his team meshes with his philosophy.
The offensive and defensive identities will not be discovered right away, only as practice and game experience continue.
What will be the biggest question is can Jazz fan be patient as many more games like this continue?
Step away from the ledge for now. There are many games ahead in this very young and shortened NBA season. Many more opportunities for growth.
|< Prev||Next >|