28 December 2011
Its hard to come up with many positives from this game. The defense was awful, especially on the perimeter with Raja Bell giving up 11 pts to Kobe in the 3rd quarter and Harris getting burned by Derek Fisher and Kobe. Nothing would go in the basket in the first half. Place the blame wherever you like, but the bottom line is that the Jazz had some good looks and were in the game going into the half. The stats speak for themselves as to how miserable the game was, but it should come as no surprise to anyone. This doesn't mean that Jazz fans shouldn't or won't get upset at a loss like this, but it has to be expected, so start preparing.
The bright spots came mostly (as most of us suspected) in the form of the play of the young guys. First, despite what a certain national blogger tweeted until his finger bled, Kanter is further along than most expected. His rebounding is outstanding and his defensive instincts are the best of any big man since Greg Ostertag. Yes, even better than Favors'. His rotation in the paint was sound, and his isolation defense oun Pau was great. He was burned a couple of times but, what young guy wouldn't be when going up against a player of Pau's caliber. Kanter did have some struggles when finishing, but there is absolutely no reason to say that he lacks offensive skills.
Hayward also showed some flashes of what we saw at the end of last season, lets just hope that it doesn't take as long for him to get that back. He is a strong facilitator in the offense and it is surprising this doesn't happen more. In the third quarter he had a fantastic cross-over on Kobe that led to a Favors lay up, and another drive that ended in a dish that Jefferson bobbled and turned over. He's simply got to be more aggressive.
Favors was solid in limited minutes. The problem for him was foul trouble, however its pretty apparent that a lot of his problems in this area are going to be directly related to the inadequacies of Bell and Harris. He also showed some great moves going to the basket, splitting defenders, and using his footwork.
The rotations and matchups employeed by Coach Corbin were a bit of a head scratcher. Hayward should have spent more time guarding Kobe. We saw at the end of last season how he was able to use his length effectively and the experience couldn't hurt. Further, if ever there was a game to play Sap at SF, this was it. World Peace is just too strong for Miles and Howard, so it would have been nice to see a front court of Favors/Kanter/Millsap.
One sports cliche that is really going to hold up this season is the old "Forget about this game and concentrate on tomorrow". There's going to be a lot of growing pains, but the rapid fire schedule won't leave much time to concentrate on all the so, so, very many bad parts of this game.
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