Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Jazz Update: Nets, Bobcats, and some quick shots

Just when you think the Jazz have come around the corner or are at least getting close, they get ran over by a big truck that stops all forward progress. Then they try to get up and dust themselves off, only to have a little kid on a scooter mow them down. The Jazz played pretty well in Minnesota last Friday. They lost the game in ugly fashion at the end of the game, but in all honestly a young team playing on the road often falls apart. That hurt, but its been the last two games that have caused the pain.

The Cast, staring as the 'Big Truck': The New Jersey Nets

Trying to rebound from the Timberwolves game, the Jazz hosted the Nets on Saturday night. The Nets are under .500 and looked on paper like a team the Jazz should beat at home. However, the Nets had won 2 in a row and 5 of 7 coming in to Salt Lake City, and they featured a line-up with a healthy Jason Kidd and Vince Carter. Still even with that build-up, I don't think Jazz expected a big truck with New Jersey across the front, to completely run them over. The Nets routed Utah 99-82, in a game that was only that close because the Jazz ended the game on a bit of a run. How dominant was New Jersey? The Nets led by 24 after 3 quarters and they beat the Jazz in statistical categories of: FG%, 3PT FG, FT Made, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks, turnovers, and they committed fewer fouls. Ouch!

And in the role of 'little kid on a scooter': The Charlotte Bobcats

So after the big truck ran them over, the Jazz had the perfect remedy scheduled. A home game against the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, who had only won one road game on the season. To make it even better, the Bobcats number one draft pick, Emeka Okafor was injured for the game. Despite an 11 point lead in the fourth quarter, things went haywire, and the Bobcats led by castoffs like Brevin Knight and Gerald Wallace surged past the Jazz enroute to a 109-105 win. For the Jazz, Andrei Kirilenko did about everything humanly possible to push the Jazz to victory. He finished with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 blocks, and setup both Carlos Boozer and Gordan Giricek for potential winning baskets with in the last minute. How bad did this game hurt? The Bobcats clearly won the game on hustle and heart. Notice, no mention of talent. At least known talent. I challenge anyone reading this to name another Bobcat player not mentioned in this article. Can't do it can you? (click here for their roster). Double Ouch!

Closing with some Quick Shots:
  • For a team that was always healthy and predictable for so many years, this year's Jazz are more like the anti-Jazz. Hurt and erratic.
  • The Jazz are now the only team to lose at home to both New Orleans and Charlotte.
  • The Jazz are also the only team to beat Phoenix, Seattle and San Antonio.
  • Despite being a losing team, the Jazz feature one of those NBA players worth paying to watch in Andrei Kirilenko.
  • Flip-flop. The first game between the two teams this year was a nearly identical score 107-105 (Jazz win). In that one, the Jazz came from 20 points down to get the win.
  • The Jazz are now 9-13 at home.
  • Speaking of losing. I find it surprising that Denver, Utah, Portland, Indiana and every team in the Atlantic division all have losing records.
  • Did anyone else just notice that San Antonio is not in Utah's division?
  • Want to stump someone in Jazz Trivia? How many years has it been since the Jazz have won less than last season's 42 games? They might go back to the early eighties to start their guessing. The Jazz were 41-41 in 1984-85, and 30-52 in 1982-83 which was the last time they failed to reach .500. However, the answer: In 1998-99 season the Jazz went 37-13 in a strike shortened season.


Nels said...

Kareem Rush, Primoz Brezec, Jason Hart, and Steve Smith.

That only leaves 5 more (and 2 on the IL). Do I get a prize?

AndyinUtah said...

Shep, you are amazing. Actually I think you may have an illness. I of course respect that fully.