Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Jazz Nearly Clipped, but escape 87-86

The Utah Jazz won their second straight game. It's been since January 10th and 12th that the Jazz had won two in a row. A more staggering figure, is the fact that the Jazz are going for their 3rd straight win Wednesday against Atlanta, and that is something the Jazz haven't done since the first 3 games of the season.

The game against the LA Clippers counts as a win. It dropped the Clippers to 1-27 in the Delta Center. However, Bobby Simmons rushed a layup that missed as the final buzzer sounded that could have given LA a big win. The Jazz were clinging to a one point lead, when Keith McLeod missed two free throws after making his first 12 on the night. Despite having a foul to give, and thereby stop the Clippers, the Jazz allowed them to nearly win it at the buzzer. You could look at this game and say the Jazz nearly lost. The truth is, the Jazz made several key plays and free throws in the fourth quarter that created the win. Did it nearly go away? Sure, but that fact has to be credited to the Clippers for scrapping throughout the game and then making two long difficult jumpers in the waning seconds of the game.

Things to note:
  • Keith McLeod is looking more and more like a young player that could develop into something good. He posted a career high 18 points to go with 8 assists and 12-14 free throws. You could hear it in Jazz assistant coach Phil Johnson's voice, how much they like the effort this kids is bringing. Watch for a profile on McLeod to come in the next few days.
  • Rookie Kris Humphries posted a career high 12 rebounds, including 5 on the offensive end. In his last game, he posted 6 offensive rebounds. Kris is showing that he is grasping some concepts that will get him more playing time.
  • Elton Brand posted only 10 points on the night, on 4-13 shooting. Maggette scored 16 points, but only took 8 shots from the field. Brand and Maggette are two players the Jazz tried hard to sign a year ago, only to have offer sheets matched by the Clippers. They both have immense talent and would benefit by having a point guard to get them the ball.
  • Congrats to Jerry Sloan who moved into 7th place all time on the NBA's all time win list, with victory #936. Jerry will keep moving up, as Bill Fitch and Red Auerbach can both be passed with another 6-7 wins.
  • Matt Harpring tweaked his knee and the final outlook isn't known. Its sounding like a sprain that could put him day to day, which would be good knews given the rampant injury issues for the Jazz this year. Carlos Boozer remains out for the Jazz, who are hopeful he'll return any day.
  • The Jazz and Clippers combined to attempt only 8 three point FGs, making 4, which is a rarity in today's game.
  • In a post game locker room interview, Corey Maggette responding to some of the issues the Jazz have faced this year, commented, "The Jazz have no real go-to guy....". A pretty fair assessment, as the Jazz have filled the roster with a bunch of good players, but are waiting for one to step up. When healthy, you can see Boozer taking a stab at it, and day by day, young Keith McLeod seems more comfortable creating under pressure.
Up next, those mighty Atlanta Hawks. If you want to get a peak at a Hawks blog ahead of time, go here.

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