Saturday, February 26, 2005

Jazz Win.....the 1st half. Celts take game 109-102

The Utah Jazz are very disjointed right now. There is no other way to look at it. The effort is there more times than not, but the lack of a consistent line-up mainly due to health issues, means this team just hasn't come together.

Things were going pretty well...for the first half. The Jazz enjoyed a 55-49 lead over Boston, and with all the jump shots you'd expect the likes of Pierce, Walker and Davis to jack-up in the 2nd half you could easily see this lead ballooning with easy lay-ups coming off the fast break. However, this season has been anything but predictable, but then again maybe something is predictable. Vanishing leads. The Celtics while still firing jumpers all over the court, also found their way into the lay too easily, too often and for too many easy shots. So many times have the Jazz had the lead going into the fourth quarter, only to see the lead disappear. The loss dropped the Jazz to 17-37 on the season, and marked the 10th time the led after three quarter of play.

There is a terrific detailed write-up of this game and pretty much everything concerning the Celtics on the Boston Celtics Blog.

Speaking of the Celtics, it is really hard to figure out where they are going. I think many people, myself included, tend to think Danny Ainge is a sharp guy who has a good chance at fixing things in Beantown. But, the trade to get back Antoinne Walker seems odd. At least in the short run, you bring back an erratic, selfish player, to a team that is trying to make a playoff run in the Eastern Conference. I wouldn't want this guy anywhere near my young players. He is often a poster-child for "things I don't want to see done" and I'd hate for some of his shot selection decisions to rub-off on any of those talented youngsters. Even in this victory against the Jazz, with the Celtics clinging to a 3 point lead, Walker hoisted a long three point attempt that missed and allowed the Jazz a lay-up on the other end to cut the lead to one, with 35 seconds left. It all worked out, because the Jazz had to foul and the Celts made all their free throws to widen the final score. In the long run, the Walker trade may have merit. The Celtics will have created salary cap room after this season is over and can use it to get someone who fits into their long-term plans better than Antoinne Walker and the departed Gary Payton. There is rumor that Payton will get waived by Atlanta and could end up back in Boston. If that works out the trade gets a hair better for the Celtics in the short run.

Positives in this game for the Jazz: Andrei Kirilenko scored 29 points and tried to assert himself. Perhaps over-asserted in the 4th quarter as he broke the offensive execution and went his own way a few times. However, for a team lacking stars and someone to step forward, I didn't see it as a complete negative. Another promising note, is Keith McLeod's attitude and the way he competes to the end. Still McLeod with 3 assists and 4 turnovers, still needs to execute the offense better and use his ability to break down a defense to create easy shots for this teammates. Offensively the Jazz were fine, but to allow the Celtics to come into the Delta Center and shoot 52% is hard to overcome.

Up Next: Jazz in Houston on Sunday, Feb 27th.

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