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Written by Matthew Oliver | 02 April 2012

paul_millsap
(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Lately the crux of the fan base arguments surrounding the coaching prowess of Tyrone Corbin have focused on his rotations in late game situations, deficit situations and lead maintaining situations -- really all situations. There's been a sense of coaching malaise among the Jazz twitterati ever since the 4 OT loss in Atlanta more than a week ago. Losses to the Celtics, Kings and Clippers piled up in short order and left many unable to commit to either "team Playoffs" or "team Lottery" as far as their rooting predilections were concerned.

Much of the rotation frustration has centered around the absence of Jamaal Tinsley at point guard and the underwhelming play of the recently returned Earl Watson. An argument can be made that comparing the more recent play of Earl Watson to the play of Jamaal Tinsley during the long stretch of #playoffpush2012 is an apples and oranges proposition given the presence of Josh Howard as a starter and the benefits of having Gordon Hayward come off the bench. This is, as of now, a moot point because Devin Harris' ankle is the latest joint on a veteran Jazz guard to make up Ty Corbin's mind for him regarding rotations in the back court.

A demoralizing and sluggish start for the Jazz and over the top 3 point shooting from Wesley Matthews and Luke Babbitt left the Jazz hovering around the 10 point deficit mark for much of the first two quarters. Devin Harris severely tweaked his ankle with 2:30 left in the 2nd which sent him to the bench for the duration of the game. After a 3 game losing streak in which veteran point guard and Rucker Park notable, Jamaal Tinsley saw exactly no action, reliable #6 subbed in, shouldered 18 minutes, dished out 6 assists, made 2 steals (one of which assured the Jazz victory) and even snagged a rebound. From that point until 9:21 remained in the third the Jazz went on a 16-0 run.

The Jazz success during the trans-halftime run came from Jamaal Tinsley's cool demeanor running the point, but also from Ty Corbin's answer to Portland small ball. Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors handled the five and four while Paul Millsap moved to the three. LaMarcus Aldridge was rendered relatively ineffective by the switch and Joel Przybilla was demonstrably frustrated. Millsap, who had been missing in action in recent outings flourished at small forward dropping 31 points, snagging 11 rebounds and plain outhustling his counterparts on the Blazers. 

Wesley Matthews was a man on a mission against his former team posting a game high 33 points on 15-18 shooting with 5-6 of his shots falling from beyond the arc. While Aldridge seemed bafflingly ineffective late in the second and early in the third he nonetheless put up 27 points and secured seven rebounds. Portland suffered throughout the game from an excess of jump shooting and both Matthews and Aldridge left their teams worse when they went off the floor at -5 and -9 repectively while Millsap and Tinsley did the opposite at +15 and +13.

Portland kept close throughout the fourth quarter, finally taking the lead on a Matthews three ball that fell with 2:34 left in the fourth. Al Jefferson answered with a 10 footer and the Jazz took reclaimed the game from Portland after a Millsap dunk off an Alec Burks assist put them back up 98-97. Tinsley opened the game up with 26 seconds left when he picked off the inbounds pass from Nicolas Batum to a lackadaisical looking Raymond Felton and dished to Paul for another dunk. Hayward drew a foul on Raymond Felton with 5 seconds left, sank both free throws and clinched the game for Utah and kept them withing a game of the 8th seed in the Western Conference and withing two games of the 6th.

Final Score: Utah 102 - Portland 97

If the Playoffs Started today: Utah would be lottery bound.
playoffs



 

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Written by Spencer | 01 April 2012

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Written by Spencer | 29 March 2012

You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndybLarsen 

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Written by Alan Zaugg | 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.

Jefferson_Garnett

(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.

Garnett_CJ

AP Photo/Elise Amendola


Highlights:

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.

Hayward_Blockshot

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.

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Written by Mychal | 27 March 2012

In order for Kevin O'Connor to take me seriously, I decided to type this letter in Comic Sans

Dear Kevin O'Connor,

It's been a while since we've talked. Actually, we've never talked.  I've complained into the black abyss of twitter all season of your mind-numbing poor decisions hoping that somehow I channel the right tone of whining that telepathically sends a message to your no-comment brain.  If any of those reached you, I'd like to say I'm sorry.

I'm sorry that I complained and mocked you about making the playoffs.  When you said the Jazz were not rebuilding and that they were to be contending for a playoff spot I openly mocked and laughed at you.  I also mocked gas attendants everywhere for influencing Greg, but that's for another apology letter.  Which I have already written and sent to 7-ELEVENs throughout the Salt Lake Valley.  I thought you were a giant joke and had been drinking the Kool-aid that Kahn was stirring.  I'm sorry.  You knew better.

I'm sorry I mocked you for trying to create a winning atmosphere for the young Jazz players.  I honestly thought you were trying to create the worst cesspool imaginable for growth and development.  I mocked you for allowing Tyrone to hire Sydney Lowe.  Wait, I'm not apologizing for that.  But I am apologizing for complaining that you didn't hire a big man coach.  You did.  But you hired him as a full-time starter and traded for him last year.  I had no idea Al Jefferson would be so instrumental in teaching the Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter footwork in the post and how to be a good teammate.  Every time I see them make a move in the post I can honestly say it came from Al Jefferson.  And as much as I thought you should have traded him away, I'm begging you not too because the Sydney Lowe "Big-Man in the Post" school is a sham.  

[SIDENOTE: Yes, I still think that hire was average at best.  But in case Sydney Lowe blows me out of the water I have enclosed the following apology:  
BLAH, BLAH BLAH, I'm sorry, King of all Big Man Post Move Monarchy, BLAH, BLAH, grovel, grovel.  Sincerely, My_Lo]
 
I'm sorry that I mocked you signing and encouraging Raja to play for many minutes a game....oh no...I can't, I just can't apologize for this.  

I'm sorry that I mocked the Josh Howard signing.  While he was a one man wrecking crew to his own fastbreak, he did bring toughness to the team.  He brought a certain edge to the Jazz team that it had been lacking.  He was willing to get in somebody's face.  He did have swag even if he had nothing to back it up.  Which was something Alec Burks could look up to.  If Alec Burks plays with the swag that Josh Howard has then Alec Burks has the potential to be very high good.  I commend you for that moneyball play.  I also apologize for every illegal drug joke I made with Howard.  No matter how ridiculously funny it was.  No matter how many thousands of retweets it got.  No matter how....okay, you get the point. 

I'm sorry that I openly mocked the signing of Jamaal Tinsley.  I think I could probably find a tweet of mine that says minutes after the Jazz signed Jamaal Tinsley that they were actively looking to bring Byron Russel out of retirement with his Shape-Ups.  Man was I ever wrong.  Jamaal brought a swag to the second unit that I have never seen.  He taught these guys the essence of street ball.  Basically that you don't back down.  You don't allow anyone to take anything from you and You. Don't. Back. Down. One. Inch.   He along with Earl Watson provide different support for the bench.  They're like two different Mio flavors.  You add them to the bench and the bench takes on a different flavor and a tasty bite.  I'm sorry.  He has been a great mentor, a great teammate, and a great inspiration to fans.  

I guess I'm sorry.  You knew what you were doing.  You knew what you were doing when you drafted Kanter.  You knew what you were doing when you signed a completely incohesive group of players that somehow complement each other.  You knew what you were doing when you DIDN'T trade anyone.  You knew what you were doing when you signed Demarre Carrol from off the streets.  You knew what you were doing when you made almost every move of this season.  So here I am left to grovel.  So I'm sorry.  You happy?  Just don't give me that smart-ass smirk when you know the whole picture and I don't.  I know you know it's going to work, just don't be so smarmy about it.  You don't have to rub it in my face all the time.  Geez. 

Sincerely,

@My_Lo 

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Written by Kyle Kirkham | 27 March 2012

POW

*This post doesn’t include any stats or insights from the Jazz/Nets game.

What a week for the Utah Jazz. It started off with a win vs the Thunder, then they beat the Kings on the road in the final seconds, followed that up with one of the most complete wins of the seasons as they whooped Denver, and capped it off with a 4 OT (Yes, FOUR OVERTIMES) loss to the Hawks. While the Hawks loss was just plain demoralizing (and ended our 6 game win streak) the Jazz had yet another really solid week.

Devin Harris

Last Week’s Line: 13.3 points (40%), 7.3 assists (1.8 TO’s), 2.3 rebounds

Devin has continued to play great. He didn’t have the best week in shooting, but he has done a much better job at scoring within the offense and controlling the tempo. The best part of Harris’s week was obviously his playmaking, which hasn’t been that good this year. He led the team in assists and had an assist to turnover ratio of 4.1:1. Devin will have to keep this play up in the team’s push towards the playoffs.


CJ Miles

Last Week’s Line:  10.5 points (46%), 4 rebounds, 2.3 assists (1.3 TO’s)

Thanks to Howard’s season ending injury Miles has been inserted into the starting lineup; where he hasn’t done that bad of a job. Now he hasn’t been great either, but I do think that starter CJ is > bench CJ. His stat line looks pretty mediocre, but that’s not where he recent improvements show up. Miles has been playing much better defense lately, and has been just more active overall. He definitely deserves some credit for the poor performances of Kobe and Durant. Like I said, he isn’t playing great, but we don’t need that, just some consistency 


Gordon Hayward

Last Week’s Line: 15.8 points (40%), 7.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists (2.5 TO’s), 1.8 steals, 1.8 blocks

Hayward quietly had himself one of the best weeks of his season. Sure his shooting may have been CJ like, but he was still able to score nearly 16 points a game thanks to his ability to get to the free throw line, which he did 28 times last week (7 times a game!). And it just gets better from there. Hayward was third on the team in rebounding, second in assists, second in blocks (paging Sam Mitchell), and first in steals, Andrei who? Without Gordon the Jazz don’t win the Kings game, and don’t have a chance vs Atlanta.

 

Paul Millsap

Last Week’s Line: 17.3 points (53%), 7.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists (1.8 TO’s), 1.3 steals, 1 block

Millsap played last week to the level that he actually is; if that makes sense. He didn’t play really bad, but he didn’t play unbelievably either. Paul has shown that he is an above average power forward despite having less tools than most. You’ve heard this a thousand times, but what Millsap doesn’t have in height and length he makes up for in hustles and hard work, his progression throughout his career is a testament to this. My question is, has he peaked yet? Millsap literally has improved his game every single year, can he add more to his game next year?



Al Jefferson

Last Week’s Line: 23.3 points (57%), 9.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists (1 TO), 2.3 blocks

Big Al had another really solid week. Not only did he average a near 20 and 10, he also shot a scorching 57% from the field to go along with a couple assists and a few blocks, that’s awesome. Jefferson struggles to get to the free throw line, so it is extremely important for him to shoot a good percentage for him to be an efficient scorer, he did that this week. Unfortunately Al wasn’t nearly as good on the defensive side of the ball. Now of course you are going to be frustrated watching Jefferson playing defense when you compare it the defense of someone like Favors, who simply has the physical tools need to dominate. But it’s the effort that makes me cringe. Al doesn’t always give up on defense, but when he does it is simply disheartening. The jogging on fast breaks, the standing around, that’s what kills me. Now let me note that I think Jefferson has made some pretty big strides this year defensively, he’s actually some really good defensive games, just not as much lately.



Jamaal Tinsley 

Last Week’s Line: 6 points (41%), 4.8 assists (1.3 TO’s), 1.8 rebounds

Every additional game Tinsley plays, the smarter KOC looks for picking up the veteran point guard. He does a fantastic job at running the second unit, and continued to do that last week. One of my favorite things about Tinsley was the fact that he was ready when his name was called upon, despite playing very little in the first half of the season. The only problem with Tinsley’s play is that it means we will, and are already seeing less of Earl Watson, who was taken out of the main rotation after a sprained ankle. As Earl gets completely healthy it will be interesting to see who is set as the primary backup.



Alec Burks

Last Week’s Line: 8.8 points (37%), 3.3 rebounds, 1 assist (.8 TO) (21.5 minutes)

With Howard out, and Bell not playing (whether it’s injury or internal issues…) Burks has become our primary wing off the bench. Alec started the week slow, scoring just 10 points in his first two games, but then stepped it up the next two giving the Jazz 25 points in just 40 minutes. I know it hasn’t been long, but I think he is already ready to be the primary scorer off the bench, he’s that talented. We could know this by the end of next week.



Derrick Favors

Last Week’s Line: 11.3 points (63%), 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, .8 steals (22 minutes)

Favors had yet another really good week. Not only did he put up a great line, but he did it in a very small amount of time. I’ll make this simple, translate Derrick’s stats from last week and you get 18.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks, that’s really good. But he isn’t just putting up good numbers, he is really impacting games. Almost every time Favors steps on the floor, he brings the defense to another level, then uses his strength and athleticism on the other end to force the other team into fouling. Right now his only issue is staying on the floor, and in this case it’s not something he can control.

 

Enes Kanter

Last Week’s Line: 1.8 minutes (50%), 1.8 rebounds (10.8 minutes)

Kanter has hit a rookie wall, as some would call it. He spent most of his playing time (which wasn’t much) on the floor making little impact. He took 4 shots the entire week, and even his rebounding is down. This isn’t fun to watch, especially when you factor in the fact that he was a top 3 pick. I probably say this every week, but we need to patient with him; it could be a while before he fully develops. Anyways, hopefully the Turk bounces back this week.



DeMarre Carroll

Last Week’s Line: 4.8 points (42%), 1.5 rebounds (11.8 minutes)

Carroll has gone from last man on the roster to second wing off the bench. He still doesn’t get loads of time, but I am really liking what I am seeing. DeMarre may not have a whole loaded with talent, but his hustle alone allows him to see time on the floor. He played almost no time prior to last week, but came in to average about 5 points, get multiple hustle plays, and has even hit some pretty big shots. Carroll will likely never be a top 5 player on a team, but he is still an awesome guy to have jump off the bench and make plays.

Not often will your team beat a contendor, win on a last second shot, crush a divisional rival, and lose in quadrupal OT all within 7 days, so lets just say I had a fun time picking this week's winner.


Player of the Week: Week 13

HaywardPOW13
Gordon Hayward is tired. He's also the Player of the Week. (Photo via AP)

Gordon Hayward: 15.8 points (40%), 7.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists (2.5 TO’s), 1.8 steals, 1.8 blocks


Runner up: Al Jefferson


Special Mention: Devin Harris, Paul Millsap


Players who didn’t play (very much): Jeremy Evans, Earl Watson, Josh Howard, Raja Bell

T
hanks to @sproul13 for weekly stats

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Written by Clint Peterson | 26 March 2012

Stock_92_TUJB
From 1992 Nike Barcelona Olympics Dream Team commercial promo

He's 50 today. And the wiry frame that belies an underlying strength and toughness still looks like it could set a screen that would make Blake Griffin think twice about plowing into the paint past him. 

John Stockton left it all out there every night, going so hard he often would blow out the sidewall of his shoe. "Sometimes even more than one pair a game," sculptor of the John Stockton and Karl Malone statues, Brian Challis told me, "That's something we wanted to convey when building the mold, all that energy. [Larry H. Miller] and I wanted people to see that about John."

Stock_foot_TUJBWhen next you visit EnergySolutions Arena walk around and take a closer look at that planted right foot on the Stockton statue and you'll see that it appears as if all the energy pushed down into that pivot point is indeed about to burst even the metal seams of his shoe.

The photo to the right was the model for Challis for that particular part of the anatomical work, in addition to several others and Stockton himself, who was very patient about the measuring process of every inch of his body, cracking wise occasionally as Brian worked. 

Stockton has an underrated wit, one that he let loose during his Hall of Fame induction speech a couple of years ago (that you can watch over at SaltCityHoops, along with a few other awe inspiring throwback vids of Stock). Nearly always unassuming, rarely noticed in public, one of the most Stockton things ever has to be this short story of a Stockton sighting at the statues from 2010.Stock_foot_closeup

"Call TMZ? Who's the man in the minivan?

True story here: While walking to my car after the Jazz-Nets snoozer Saturday night at about 11:35, a bunch of pre-teen girls and a small boy flew out of a silver minivan parked by EnergySolutions Arena. The group of gigglers raced over to the John Stockton statue, laughing, posing, goofing off and climbing all over the bronzed Hall-of-Famer as a woman with long, blond hair took pictures. While passing the impromptu photo shoot, I glanced inside of the minivan and almost started giggling with the girls. Sitting in the driver's seat of the vehicle with "Dealer" license plates? The statue's doppleganger a.k.a. the real John Stockton. And though I only saw the back of her head, I'm pretty sure the stylish blonde was Nada Stockton and not Britney Spears. The Jazz legend, by the way, did not get out and climb on his statue or on Karl Malone's. Go ahead. Try to top that star-sighting story."

-Jody Genessey, Deseret News 

Stockton's shoe mold at the foundry, photo by Scott Frederick
Stock_mold_foot_TUJB
John Stockton was always one of those guys you'd be proud to be able to say you'd chatted with, shook hands with. I waited over 20 years for my shot to do so, wasting none of it when I finally got it. It was at the Grand Re-Opening of Stockton Honda in Draper, Utah. Knowing Stockton was notoriously difficult to get an autograph out of I had no intention of missing out on this chance.

As my turn came to meet and greet the man, myth, and legend, I took my old "Heart & Soul" Malone and Stockton poster out of it's frame from under the glass for him to sign as he manned the proper Sharpie. Stock froze in mid-preparation for the signature as I shook his hand and proclaimed, "John Stockton! My second-favorite player ever!"

He looked me straight in the eye and belted out, "Second -favorite?!" Stock_statue_foot

"Yeah," I says, "Don't tell Karl he's third..." soliciting a hearty belly-laugh from Stock. 

As we stepped over to the photo shoot backdrop he had to know, "So, who's first?"

"Wilt, because he's the reason I discovered the game."

"Hard to argue that," John replied.

Stockton can still frequently be seen up Spokane way, doing a little molding of his own on the up-and-comers at NCAA basketball mainstay Gonzaga where son David attends and plays for the Bulldogs. I can just picture him in practice, still driving knees and elbows hard into the young studs, toughening them up for the next level they hope to reach.

Here's to you, semicentenary John Stockton. Happy Born Day. Never change.

John Stockton's record-tying 24 playoff assists in a game

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Written by Spencer | 26 March 2012

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Written by Jacob Jeppsen | 25 March 2012

Where to begin?  It all began a long time ago, in a land far, far away…  

Ok, so it wasn’t so long ago.  But it felt like it.  And Atlanta is kind of on the other side of the country.  So, I’m sticking to it.  And in this far away land, The Utah Jazz began a road trip the way no team wants to kick off a road trip:  Playing an extra 20 minutes by way of FOUR overtimes, only to come away with a loss.  And plenty of questions will linger after this one, as Utah saw its six game winning streak finally come to a halt.

Tired Hayward is tired. 
Tired Gordon Hayward is tired. Photo courtesy of AP Photo/David Goldman 

Credit to the team, however, for fighting back after the halftime break after a putrid first half.  The staunch Utah defense that shut down the likes of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant had zero answers for Joe Johnson and Josh Smith early on.  Johnson was unstoppable in the first quarter to the tune of 18 points on 8-8 shooting from the field.  Utah kept pace with Atlanta for a while, but the Hawks opened up a 55-38 lead just before halftime.

And just like that, this game had “that” feel to it.  A lazy Sunday afternoon.  Little, if any, execution on both ends of the floor.  The propensity for four players to sit and watch while one player went isolation.  Basically – major let down.  Hardly surprising, though, as Atlanta has always been a tough road win for the Jazz, regardless of which day of the week it’s played on.

With the deficit at 55-40 coming out of the break, Utah responded.  Fueled by an outburst of team play and sharing the ball, Utah cut into the lead with an 11-0 run.  Then, came another 13-2 run.  And just like that, Utah had the lead.  Leading the charge was recent birthday boy, Gordon Hayward.  Hayward took Utah in a different direction than it had been going all first half, by distributing the ball and creating chances for others.  His early second half aggression rubbed off onto the team, as the Jazz scored 34 points on 11 assists – nearly TRIPLING their first half effort of just four assists (Harris with 4, Hayward and Millsap each with 3, Miles with 1).

This carried on into the final 12:00 – Utah grabbing 17 more points on five assists early in the 4th.  And as the Jazz had a lead of 91-87 with about seven minutes left, something happened.  Rather, something stopped happening.  The Jazz scored 7 more points the rest of the way – on ZERO assists – essentially deferring to iso-ball and free throws.  Friday’s “ShareFest” of 32 assists against the Enver Nuggets (“D” purposely left off there) seems like a distant, wonderful memory.  The Jazz strayed from their sharing ways late in this game to force overtime.  Little did we know:  It wouldn’t be the only one.

half.  All signs pointed to victory, as Utah’s fresh legs and recent winning ways couldn’t be overlooked.  Only problem?  Nobody could hit a shot.  And that included both sides. In fact, the Jazz and Hawks combined for the second fewest combined points in an overtime with a whopping four (statistic courtesy of Brian Smith, @tribjazz).  Devin Harris, who had struggled mightily all game, had a chance for the walk off win with a three.  Unfortunately, it didn’t fall.  On to the second overtime.

Again, Utah had a chance to walk away with a win on the final shot.  Again, Devin Harris was the one with the ball in his hands for the winner.  He had a decent look at a shot, but couldn’t get his 20-footer to fall.  Again, on to yet another overtime.

At this point, Ty Corbin had made no substitutions and guys were looking pretty worn.  Jazz Twitterverse exploded as Utah’s same starting five that had played both overtimes in their entirety took the floor to begin the third extra period.  The question of “No subs?” flooded my timeline as I’m sure it did many others’ as well.  In particular, Derrick Favors had had a fantastic outing in front of his hometown.  Josh Smith had fouled out and Millsap was 1-3 in the first two overtimes and looked gassed.  Why not give Favors a shot to corral Atlanta’s penetration offense?  As Millsap went 0-3 in the third overtime, including another missed walk off game-winner for the Jazz, this question would loom large going into the fourth overtime.

Would Ty make some substitutions and try to win with fresh legs over a tired Hawks team playing a quadruple overtime game on the tail end of a back to back to back?  Seems logical, or at least not beyond reason, right?  As the fourth overtime tipped off, Utah would field its same starting five.  Hindsight is always 20/20, but the calls for substitutions in 2OT and 3OT didn’t go unnoticed, and Coach Corbin’s reasoning for sticking with a worn group certainly warrants asking the question:  Why didn’t we try to run this tired Hawks team out of the building late with our youth?  Atlanta got off to a hot start in the fourth overtime, ripping off five quick points, sealing Utah’s fate.  Al Jefferson, who led Utah with 28 points in 52 grueling minutes, fouled out first.  Paul Millsap and C.J. Miles would also foul out, paving the way for Favors and Alec Burks to pull off a miracle.  Sadly, the damage was done and that miracle will have to come another day.  Utah’s winning streak ends at 6, as the Hawks won 139-133.

Notes:

A poor shooting night overall saw some truly sad performances:

  • Devin Harris went 4-18, including 0-7 3P
  • Gordon Hayward shot 4-15 FG, but made up for it with 10-11 from the free throw line
  • Paul Millsap – while not awful – went 10-25, but again, struggled late going just 1-6 in overtime periods
  • The team shot 38.9% FG (49-126), and only Derrick Favors (4-6)  and C.J. Miles (7-14) shot at 50% or higher

Interesting disparity in minutes between starters and bench, considering the total amount of minutes available in the game (48 regulation minutes, 20 overtime minutes).  Again, this at least warrants the questioning of Coach Corbin.  Given that Utah plays tomorrow at New Jersey, we may see the starters’ minutes peeled back a bit to make way for fresher legs…just saying.

  • Starters:  Hayward (57), Harris (55), Millsap (52), Jefferson (51), Miles (50)
  • Bench:  Burks (21), Favors (19), Tinsley (13), Kanter and Carroll (11)

While I’m typically of the camp that thinks it’s better to try and understand the why behind Utah’s player/coaching decisions rather than be the one who knows how to fix their problems, this minute distribution really confuses me.  I’m sure there are explanations aplenty, and they probably make sense.  But after expending so much energy at the front end of a vital road trip, grabbing the win tonight in my mind was a must.  Now, Utah runs the risk of laying an egg against New Jersey (which would hurt tremendously) and running into a tough team in Boston.  Only the coach knows, but the questions could come fast and furious if Utah happens to stumble hard over the next few days.

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Written by Spencer | 24 March 2012

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