14 January 2011
UTAH JAZZ (26-13) vs. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (8-30) Game #40 • Home Game #22 • Energy Solutions Arena • SALT LAKE CITY January 14, 2011 • 7 p.m. (MT) • TV: FSN Utah RADIO: 1320 AM KFNZ/B98.7 FM and 1600 AM ESPN DEPORTE
Joey Graham (right quad strain) – OUT,
Daniel Gibson (left ankle sprain) – OUT,
Leon Powe (right torn meniscus) – OUT,
Anthony Parker (low back strain) – TBD,
Anderson Varejao (torn peroneus longus tendon in right ankle/foot) – OUT,
Christian Eyenga (right ankle sprain) – QUESTIONABLE
Every once in a great while you will run into something that is a sure thing. It may be a certain kind of tool that you know will help you build shelves in your garage, or even a person that you meet that you know compliments your personality. The Utah Jazz have that on Friday night; a date with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Coming off of a 55 point blowout, in which they only scored 57 points, the Cavaliers will come limping into the ESA only to be finished off by the streaking Jazz.
Now, I say "streaking" because the Jazz are coming off back-to-back wins; something that hasn't happened in ages it seems. I believe that the Jazz have actually been playing some of their worst basketball of the season. Their lack of hustle, rebounding, scoring, blocking out, playing defense, and intensity has left me across the line into the pessimists territory; a place that I am not totally familiar with.
However, this game against the Cavaliers is as close to a "gimme" as you can get in this league. I made the comment in the Utah Jazz Podcast this week that if the Jazz come out and lose this game, all the hope I had left for a successful season will have vanished. The team that looked like it could beat anyone in the league, anywhere in the league, will be a thing of the distant past.
Without King James Lebron or Duscheland, the team that had once stood near the top of the league has now withered into exactly where they were before Lebron was drafted. They lack the star power and talent that it takes to win basketball games at this level. Their point guard Mo Williams (once a Jazzman) has been left with an unrealistic scoring expectation and the components that were traded for to get Lebron "over the hump," (Jamison, Parker) have now shown that their individual abilities are lacking in a team without a superstar.
I don't want to make any declarations about this game, like I will bet my life or house or kids on this game...but I would pretty much bet anything else that the Jazz pull this one out. Deron Williams should be able to do anything he wants and if Millsap and Al don't both have double-doubles, I would think that something had gone horribly wrong. In fact, this might be a great game to get Hayward and Evans some more game experience. If they foul out, I wouldn't mind a few minutes of garbage time. I mean, my back has been feeling better lately and my ankle, I can tell, is hovering around 90%.
Here is a little piece of art that Jeremy Evans did on his Ipad. For in honor if his hopeful playing time tonight.
Cleveland's Side of the Story @StepienRules.com
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