28 March 2012
The Utah Jazz finished off their mini Eastern road trip visiting the Boston Celtics tonight. Two seventh place teams fighting for position in their respective conferences. The “Old Dogs” versus the “Young Pups”. The hottest team in the Western Conference versus a defensive juggernaut in the Eastern Conference.
It was an uphill battle from the start. The Jazz had trouble scoring against Boston mustering a horrible 7-21 for 33% in the first quarter. However they were leading early 21-18. But that’s about where it ended. Boston went on a run in the second quarter taking an 11 point lead into halftime.
Boston jumped out quickly on the Jazz in the third quarter building an 18 point lead at 61-43. But the Jazz responded with their own 18-5 run to close out the quarter cutting the lead to five. But that was where it ended.
Boston got down and dirty. Literally.
During a particular sequence in the fourth quarter Kevin Garnett started to get a little physical with Al Jefferson. Both were called for a technical and that’s all it took. Garnett caught fire, scoring 10 of his game high 23 to close out the game. And while Garnett caught fire, Jefferson seemed to fold. He avoided contact on every possession the rest of the way choosing either to pass out of the paint or take jump shots.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Boston is a better team when Garnett is in the game. He provides that feisty, nasty, gritty attitude that is needed on the defensive end. Especially when playing against a team like the Utah Jazz who are second in the league in points in the paint. Garnett was perhaps dirty, at times, but that is why Boston is as good defensively as they are. Because they have players who get down and dirty. They play with a toughness and grit, imposing their will upon you, grinding you down till you give in to their will.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Gordon Hayward was the highlight reel of the night. He finished with 19 points seven rebounds and five assists. But the play or sequence of plays that got every Jazz fan off their couches (I know all of you were up), was his consecutive block shots of Keyon Dooling and Avery Bradley and then pushes the fast break that ended in Enes Kanter getting the layup plus the foul. Hayward is proving himself a defensive stopper for the Jazz. His length and quickness has been frustrating opposing guards and forwards of late. And offensively he has become extremely cool and confident, showing his ability to hit from anywhere on the floor.
Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
It seems every year the trip to Boston provides a little taste of reality. An opportunity to experience a little humility. And a look into what the Jazz could become with a little time and hard work.
And while the Jazz are improving defensively, they still have a ways to go before they are able to impose their will on others. A gritty, hard nosed, team that plays tough. One that isn’t rattled easily, but instead fights as a team to win ball games.
|< Prev||Next >|