07 April 2012
The Jazz limped into Friday night with both injury and stomach bugs. Heading into the game it was undetermined whether the Jazz would have Devin Harris. He had been listed as a “gametime decision” after spraining his ankle in Monday’s win over Portland, but ultimately was ready to go by gametime. Likewise Paul Millsap was listed as suffering from a stomach virus as the start of the game approached.
So the stage was set.
This game was a must win (every game from here on out is) for the Jazz, as they are competing for a playoff spot in the tightly contested Western Conference. They would need this win with two upcoming games against the West’s leading team, San Antonio.
Slow starts have been an achilles as of late for the Jazz. Allowing teams to jump on them early, and then making a valiant effort to come back and make a game of it. Tonight was a bit different. They found their offensive groove early as Devin Harris controlled the tempo early scoring 12 in the first quarter.
But as good as the offense was, the defense was awful. Golden State got open look after open look. And any player that gets enough open, uncontested looks is likely to gain confidence finding a rhythm. And that is exactly what happened. The Warriors found their groove. Hitting open look after open look. And putting the Jazz on their heels for much of the second quarter.
The Associated Press 2012-04-06
The second half saw a first for the Jazz as they finished the game with two point guards on the floor at the same time. Earl Watson finished the final 12 minutes alongside Devin Harris, who played at the two. And the lineup worked. Harris was blazing hot to finish the game shooting a perfect 4-4 in the fourth quarter. But it wasn't Harris alone. Big Al, after what seemed like a potential game ending abdominal strain, came back in and pitched in seven in the final quarter as well. Harris and Jefferson ended the night scoring 58 points. A big night from the Jazz's veteran leaders.
Devin Harris exploded, finishing the nigh with a season high 28 points including 5-8 from downtown. If it isn't obvious yet, then it should be: So goes Devin Harris, so goes the Utah Jazz. During the Jazz six game winning streak he was playing well. He dictated the tempo of the games and got his teammates involved. And last night was more of the same. Devin dictated, from the beginning, the tempo of the game. He was in attack mode. He scored 12 in the first quarter alone, then as mentioned finished the game in blazing fashion, scoring 11 in the final quarter. More specifically his shooting from outside is what has been missing. Devin Harris returned to form last night in much needed, dominating fashion.
And finally, "Old Reliable", Al Jefferson had another big night finishing the game with 30 points, 11 reb and a season high 5 blocks. It's not out of the ordinary for Al to play like this. I mean he's been doing it all season. But what was special, or what made it more impressive, was that he came in and dominated alongside Devin Harris in the fourth quarter, AFTER an abdominal strain that left him sidelined in the third quarter. There was doubt he would return. And, frankly, he shouldn't have. He was clearly in pain. But it's just like Big Al, and really the M.O. for the entire team to want to come in and get after it with no excuse. Put it all out there on the floor. And Al did. And it was a thing of beauty.
The Associated Press 2012-04-06
The Jazz needed a victory, they got one. And they need more like it. As stated, every game from here on out is a must win. It's the stretch run and the Jazz will need more from "Old Reliable" and his dueling sidekick "Blazing Harris", to get through it.
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