Friday, November 09, 2007

Sweet Music by Ronnie, Milsap

The second year of an NBA career often produces what is called the "sophomore slump" in many players. Fortunately for the Jazz, their two sophomores, Ronnie Brewer and Paul Milsap, led Utah to an exciting 103-101 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night.

Brewer and Milsap are off to great starts in their second seasons, quickly dispelling the notion of a sophomore slump. Brewer is perhaps the biggest surprise and after 5 games is averaging 16 points per game, shooting 60% from the field, and contributing big on defense with just over 3 steals per game. Quite the contrast to his rookie season when he only appeared in 56 games and scored just over 4 points per game. For Milsap, it was a career high in scoring with 24 points, raising his season average to over 11 per game (compared to 5.9 in his rookie year).

You have to credit the Cavaliers for hanging around and staying in the game. You can't argue with the fact that they just didn't play their best game. They were out-shot, out-rebounded, and out hustled for most of the night. However some big shots down the stretch from the perimeter kept them in the game. When Lebron hit a huge 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to tie the game, it seemed like the Cavs where going to win a game they had no business winning. Then a quick inbounds pass caught the Cavs defense relaxing, and Deron Williams drove the length of the court for the winning lay-up with just over one second remaining.

Related Reading: A pretty good Cleveland Cavaliers blog can be found at the MVN.

Quick Shots:
  • While Brewer and Milsap stole the show, Boozer and Williams still put up some good numbers. Boozer produced 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Williams posted 15 points and 12 assists. To be fair Williams did have 8 turnovers as he seemed a little out of sync at times and forced a few bad passes.
  • One myth is melting away - and that is that old school Jerry Sloan doesn't play young guys. Milsap and Brewer are both making major contributions in their second year, and you have to credit Sloan for building maturity beyond their years in Boozer and Williams. Maybe a more accurate statement is that Sloan doesn't play young players - if they aren't good enough yet.
  • At 3-2, the Jazz are off to a solid start. Given that all 5 games have been against NBA playoff teams from last year.
  • The Jazz entered this game leading the NBA in scoring with an average of 113 points per game. It's a wonder what playing the defenseless Golden St. Warriors two times can do for you.
Up Next: The Jazz travel to Seattle Friday night for their first view of top rookie Kevin Durant. To learn more about the Sonics, read one of the best NBA blogs on the web: SuperSonicSoul - where you'll find some great stats and writing. The Sonics may stink, but this blog does not!

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