18 February 2012
A Chippy Practice and a Crappy Team Gives us a win.
The Utah Jazz had their best offensive game of the season last night in a 114-100 win over the terrible Wizards team. Much of the credit should go to Al Jefferson (+25) who had one of his best games as a Jazz player scoring 34 points on 16-23 shooting. Harris had a season high 9 assists and Millsap added a double double.
Millsap, Jefferson, and Raja Bell talked about practice this week being chippy. Bell talked about guys going at each other and taking out their “road trip” frustrations on each other. I think we all know how frustrated the team was during the road trip, and it’s good to see that they were showing that during practice. Millsap mentioned how good it was to actually have a practice. I don’t know how many practices the Jazz have had this month, but I wouldn’t put it at more than 3 or 4. This team needs practice. It is apparent both on and off the court. As a fan I also appreciate the openness of that practice.
Raja Bell has turned his season around, for now. We can praise him when he plays well. as long as we can criticize him when he hasn’t played well. I don’t think his wife having a baby has anything to do with it, but here are the numbers. Raja has more points in his last five games than he had in his first thirteen combined. The most important part of his recent hot streak is that he has started games really really well, which is where this Jazz team has struggled. He has scored 10+ in 4 straight games and has hit a three ball in 18 straight games.
Al Jefferson=Beast Mode. He played fantastic last night. If you haven’t seen his stat line, check it out.
Alec Burks might be that guy... to say that we have been waiting for that guy for a long time would be an understatement. He is young. He plays a little out of control and turns the ball over, but every game he does something that makes you say, “He could be that guy.” There are times when I hear the, “We have to be aggressive” talk. Burks does it all the time. CJ does it every once in a while, and Hayward has his spots, but Burks makes a B-line to the basket almost every time he touches the ball. Good/great things happen when you go to the hole: free throws, open guys on bad rotations, high % shots, and broken down defenses. Burks is our best player at creating his own shot. As he grows in his role as a scorer he will also grow in his role as a passer and when to pick his spots.
It was good to see the Jazz win a game that they are supposed to win against a team that they are supposed to beat. The bigger challenge is, as always, to see if they can bottle up that energy and take it to Houston on Sunday night.
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