10 May 2012
Well that was, er, fun? While I was a full supporter of the #playoffpush I didn’t expect us to win this series. I didn’t expect it to be close. Now I did think that we were going to steal one game, but I was also ready for a sweep, and I was okay with that. However, I am not fine with the way we got swept. We didn’t play our best basketball, which gave us virtually no chance to win against a scalding hot Spurs team. The settling for jumpers, the lazy passes, the fact that we gave up at times, that’s what disappointed me. Not many bright spots from this series, but I’ll see if I can find some.
Playoff Line: 13 points (40%), 3.8 assists (3 TO’s), 1.5 rebounds
Harris came into the series as a huge key to the Jazz as he matching up against Parker (A matchup that Parker ended up winning with ease). While Harris did start the series pretty poorly (scoring just 12 points in the first two games) he did play much better in Utah (averaging 20 points a contest). Overall he just wasn’t able to keep up his stellar play that we saw at the end of the regular season. He FG% dropped 4% from April to the playoffs, which isn’t terrible, but his 3PT% dropped a crucial 15% giving the Jazz almost no outside threat.
Playoff Line: 3.8 points (29%), 3.5 rebounds, 1 assists (.5 TO’s)
Despite being injured and on the bench during Utah’s late season surge Howard was inserted into the starting lineup for the playoffs. While I don’t think it’s fair to say this is why we lost the series, I’m not sure that his sub 30% shooting helped us much. It will be interesting to see if he comes back for next season.
Playoff Line: 7.3 points (18%), 2.8 rebounds, 3 assists (.75 TO’s)
Quite the drop-off for Hayward, who was playing out of his mind in March and April. If I had to guess who would step up the most in the playoffs, I thought for sure it would be Hayward. Gordon's shot was obviously off as he shot a stunning 18% for the series (and 8% from 3), but he also seemed to be less aggressive. After a solid game one, where he made it to the line 12 times (making all 12) he finished the series only taking 4 more free throws. Was Hayward just tired, did he zone out, or did the Spurs just stop him? I don’t know. Thankfully I do know this won’t rest easy in his mind, and he’ll be back looking for redemption next season.
Playoff Line: 12 points (37%), 11 rebounds, .5 assists (2.3 TO’s), 2.5 blocks
Millsap really, REALLY, struggles against the Spurs. He did this series, he did this year, and he has struggled vs them nearly his whole career. I decided to look into the numbers on this on basketball-referance.com, and it didn’t take long for this to be confirmed. Millsap shot just 39.5% vs them this season, and it turns out he only has a lower career points per game vs two other teams (9.5 vs the Spurs, 9.3 Kings, 8.6 Wizards). Maybe this is just because the Spurs are the Spurs. They take away strengths and force your weaknesses. Regardless, the Jazz just aren’t going to win many games when Millsap plays like he did.
Playoff Line: 18.3 points (53%), 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists (1.3 TO’s), 1.3 steals
I’ll be honest, when I was looking up the stats I was a bit surprised to see that Jefferson led the team in FG%. Offensively he really didn’t have that bad of a series. While he did just go to the line 4 times in 4 games (making just 1) he still shot 53% from the field. When it comes to offensive efficiency, Al really had only one terrible game (game 2) where he averaged .64 points per possession. He was alright in game 1 (.94) and great in games 3 and 4 (1.05, 1.24). It was defensively where Jefferson had a hard time. Jefferson can’t guard the pick and roll, and the Spurs exposed it like we knew they would. It can also be really disheartening when a player gives up on a fast break, something I saw Al do multiple times. That being said, Al just isn’t a good defensive player. I don’t think it’s fair at all to put this sweep on him, I think we got sort of what we expected on both ends of the floor.
Playoff Line: 3.8 points (25%), 3 assists (1.5 TO’s), .8 rebounds
Unfortunately Tinsley wasn’t able to run the bench like he did to finish off the season, but to his credit they did play better than the starters for the most part (Oddly enough, he did have the worst +/- off the bench). It’s still hard to judge him by his numbers, because he never really puts up great ones. Sort of an in-between series for him.
Playoff Line: 6.5 points (25%), 2.3 rebounds, .8 assists (0 TO’s) (15.5 minutes)
Burks was another who simply couldn’t find his shot vs the Spurs. Alec shot just 25% overall and went 0 of 8 in game 4. His jumpers weren’t falling and he simply could finish like he did for the majority of the regular season. Thankfully he still made it to the line, where he went 12 of 14 (86%). One thing I saw mentioned multiple times was that despite being a rookie, he didn’t seem to play as if he was affected by the pressure of the playoffs. It’s too bad we can’t say that about the whole team.
Playoff Line: 11.8 points (42%), 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.3 steals (29 minutes)
Derrick Favors was great vs the Spurs, and was one of the only bright spots in the whole series. While he wasn’t perfect offensively, he was a BEAST defensively. It’s amazing how much better the Jazz are with him on the floor. Is it a coincidence that the Spurs 5th worst offensive game of the year (according to Locke) is the same game that Favors plays 37 minutes? I don’t think so. It’s also no coincidence that Favors had the second best [average] +/- throughout the series at -.3 (Only Kanter was higher, at +.8). I noticed this especially in game 4, but the Spurs were much more hesitant around the rim when Favors was in protecting it. He is putting fear into his opponents’ heads, and is learning how to shut people down. If you’re not on the Favors’ bandwagon yet, hop on quick, because it’s about to take off.
Playoff Line: 3.5 points (44%), 4 rebounds (10.8 minutes)
Kanter didn’t get very much burn in the playoffs, but he still made the most of what he got. He was two points away from a double-double in game two and if you run his numbers this series per 36 minutes you get 11.7 points and 13.3 boards, which isn’t bad at all.
Playoff Line: 4.8 points (47%), 3 rebounds
I brought this up a few weeks ago, but could DeMarre Carroll be the wing version of Ronnie Price? He has the hustle, the energy, the defense, but what really made me think of the comparison was how he was playing at the end of game 4. The Jazz were down big, the game seemed to be over. And when it looked like nobody would step up, Carroll did. He laid everything on the line and sparked a run that nearly won us the game. Something I remember Ronnie Price doing a time or two vs the Lakers. I can’t begin to tell how much I love it when a player, who may not be extremely talented, lays it all on the line, gives it everything he’s got. Those are the type of players I don’t forget. It was great to hear that he’ll most likely be in a Jazz uni next season.
Players who didn’t play (very much): Jeremy Evans, Blake Ahearn, CJ Miles,, Raja Bell
I don’t think there will be many surprises with my final decision of the year.
Player of the Playoffs
The future, Ladies and Gentlemen. (Photo via Tom Smart, Deseret News)
Derrick Favors: 11.8 points (42%), 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.3 steals (29 minutes)
Runner up: DeMarre Carroll
Special Mentions : ehh.
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