Sunday, December 28, 2008
The Jazz have suffered so many injuries.
We’ve been ravaged by injury. Carlos Boozer has missed 20 games and counting. Deron Williams missed 13 games with an ankle sprain. Paul Millsap is out with a knee injury. Kirilenko has missed a few games here and there. Memo has missed 8 games, 3 recently with back spasms. Matt Harpring has missed 12 games with his ankle issues. And the unforgettable Jarron Collins has NOT even played a game yet this season (perhaps that’s a blessing).
We’re still in the playoff hunt.
Yes, I know… we’re currently resting outside of the playoff eight (sitting at #9). But, considering the players who’ve been out for us, it’s fantastic to see that we’re still playing above-.500-ball. Hopefully, time will heal our injuries and we’ll get back on the floor healthy soon.
Paul Millsap has nearly matched Boozer’s production as a starter.
It’s awful that big Paul had to suffer from the Jazz injury bug. He was on such a roll! Millsap racked up 15 double-doubles in a row until the Milwaukee game where he had 11 and 9, and suffered a hyper-extended knee. His averages were suberb!… 15 and 9.
Our wings are stepping up when we need them.
Perhaps this might be a good stretch to have our stars injured on the bench… it just may force some of our younger players to grow up and develop. In particular, Ronnie Brewer and CJ Miles have been forced to play more minutes and increase their production. The other night, while not having the option of going to Boozer, Okur or Millsap, Ronnie Brewer produced for a 23 point, 7 rebound night against Dallas and then backed that up with a 21 point, 7 rebound outing versus Houston. In similar fashion, CJ Miles scored 14 and 15 points respectively over those two nights.
Koufos enjoyed a break-out game & Fes has a pulse.
We’ve heard a lot of praise regarding Koufos and his work-ethic. It’s great to see that it’s paid off on the court. Koufos exploded the other night against Dallas, scoring 18 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. He’s proving that he could be the steal of the 2008 draft (when getting picked so late in the 1st Round), while providing some much needed quality minutes on the floor. His counterpart, Fes the giant, awoke this weekend. He shocked the very core of Jazz fans by playing extremely well (8 points, 4 rebounds & 3 blocks vs. Dallas; 12 points, 11 rebounds, & 3 blocks vs. Yao). One thing is for certain… he doesn’t lack for talent or size. It’s just a motivation & “mental makeup” question (if we could just work on this aspect…).
The Jazz remain competitive against the elite teams despite being short-handed.
We very easily could have won that game against Houston. Infact, we should have. If only Ronnie would have hit those foul shots… Regardless, we’re playing tough against the elite teams like Dallas and Houston without Boozer, Memo or Millsap in the line-up.
And I’m sayin’ a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The D News has Kevin O'Connor's response to Boozer's opt-out talk yesterday: "It's a little peculiar."
I find it strange though, for a few of reasons:
1. He's injured. Does he expect a raise when he hasn't played for 14 straight games?
2. Millsap is playing well. Could this be his way of saying, "Well, I'm just as important as Paul"?
3. It's December. These decisions usually don't happen until the end of the season. Like I said... perhaps it's just a no-brainer.
The good news is that we now know Boozer will be on the market during the summer of '09. The Jazz can now prepare for that absolute inevitability. The article gives a good explanation to the logjam of contracts and situations the Jazz will have to face in the offseason. Hopefully, this doesn't play out to be a distraction for the Jazz during this season. Because... we need to get back to our winning ways.
Despite Pasty Gangsta's lack of confidence, the Jazz stormed back last night to overcome a horrific start, and come out victorious against the Nets.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Of course, this decision is a long way off into the future. But, it's great to see Millsap playing so well in light of Boozer's absence. His 32 points and 10 rebounds against KG and the Celtics shows us that Millsap may be ready for a permanent resting place in the starting lineup.
Clearly, I think it's best to have both Boozer and Millsap healthy and contributing to the team. We'll have to hope that Boozer returns to the lineup soon. Because without him, the Jazz have been playing .500 ball (in 14 games, the Jazz are 7-7 without Boozer in the lineup). Get well soon, Carlos... And let's continue the great effort, Big Paul Millsap!
Here are some additional articles to think about... SLTrib by Gordon Monson and John Hollinger comments at ESPN.com.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The Jazz Dancers. Keep doing what your doing, ladies. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite see you very well from the 21st row, corner-aisle. Bad view... But,"Nice moves anyway..."
The In-house Jazz Dunk Team. Do these guys actually get paid to dunk? I believe that I could probably jump on a trampoline and fly around, doing acrobatic dunks too. No... actually not. But, I do remember playing dunk ball off a tramp in 6th grade. It was pretty fun. Please don't wave your arms in self-grandeur after performing an acrobatic flush. You're really not THAT good!
The KissCam, the FlexCam, & the DrummerCam. You take your pick. It's pure and utter joy. From the unassuming to the unexpectant or outrageous, the JumboTron Cam keeps the laughs a-coming. Just beware! The Cam will getcha, oh it'll getcha, if your not careful.
What's the fad?
The Pink Jazz Jerseys. I saw a lot of Kyle Korver "pink" jerseys being worn by the lovely ladies. What's not to like? He's got tremendous form on his 3-point jumper.
The retro Jazz logo, tight Stockton shorts, and shades of green and gold.
What rocks? A Jazz blowout over the Raptors last week and a Jazz victory over the Blazers. I'm currently 2-0 when attending Jazz basketball games.
What sucks? An Orlando Magic 28-7, 3rd quarter run resulting in a Jazz loss. Yuck! That sucks.
Brewer was noticably ailing during the Portland game on Thursday night. One could visibly tell that he was affected by the family news regarding his aunt. He didn't seem to be playing with his usual energy and enthusiasm.
We hope that Ronnie returns soon and might be able to overcome this sad and tragic time for his family.
The questions remains... who replaces Brewer in the starting line-up? Kirilenko? Korver? Almond? If I were making the decision, I'd play Morris Almond at the 2-guard, so as to keep the rotations the same. AK47 and KK26 seem to relish coming off the bench and bringing the instant offense and defensive spark. Let's keep it the same.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
You can expect the Jazz to lose at least one game of a back-to-back when they play two days in a row. They’ve been consistent in losing the 2nd game of the back-to-back this season. So far, the Jazz have played in 8 back-to-back games. On the first back-to-back set, the Jazz beat Sacramento, only to lose to Minnesota the next day. It has been consistently that way since… winning the first game and then losing the next day. Last weekend was no different. The Jazz walloped Toronto on Friday and then lost to Phoenix on Saturday. Hopefully, this won’t become a common trend for the Jazz as it has shown to be.
The Phoenix-Utah game was so close that both teams were tied after each period of the game. After the 1st quarter, the score was tied at 26. The halftime score was knotted up at 50. And finally, the 3rd quarter tally was tied at 78. The Suns were able to score 2 points more in the 4th to win the ballgame, 106-104. These teams are clearly evenly matched when they play each other. The Jazz won the first encounter against Phoenix 109-97.
Memo For 3!
Memo had an awesome game against the Raptors on Friday night. His offensive game showed up a-plenty for the Jazz. He was awesome, making circus shots, fade-aways and 3-pointers throughout. I believed that he needed to be singled out for his spectacular play on Friday. He put up a stat-line of 21 points and 5 rebounds. The next night against Shaq, Memo posted a solid 12 and 13. Hopefully, he can keep up his production as the season progresses.
14 In 12
Harpring surprisingly played against the Raptors and blew-up off the bench, scoring 14 points in 12 minutes. He was unbelievably productive. His staple, foul-line extended jumper, coming off the down-screen was automatic. For someone who has “harped” on Harpring in the past (like myself), I have to admit that on Friday, he was awesome!
10 In 6
Koufos scored 10 points in 6 minutes of garbage time. As mentioned by Pasty Gangster, Kosta was impressive. We might just have a terrific player on our hands.
Knowing Boozer’s history with injuries, his quad may take longer to heal than first expected. I’m not sure I really believe this report about Boozer's return. Let's hope it's true.
That’s how long Coach Sloan thought he’d be around the NBA as a coach. Instead, he’s the longest tenured head coach for one single organization (@ 20 years). ESPN.com reports…
Being the only TCG contributor living in the greater SLC valley, I feel like I have the responsibility to see more Jazz games (I watch a lot of games on KJZZ and Fox Utah). But on Friday night, I finally got my first chance to see the Jazz “live” this season against the Raptors. It took a friend (being rejected by 3 girls) to finally step up and ask me to go to the game. There’s nothing like a dude striking out 3-times in order to get the nod. Twas’ my good fortune. Go Jazz!
Next Up: @ Minnesota
Monday, December 8, 2008
- Kosta is for real. Did anyone catch the end of the Toronto game? Granted it was garbage time, but in six minutes of action he put in a few nice turnaround jumpers, grabbed some boards and threw one down. He finished with 10 points on 5-5 shooting and also hustled, which you know Jerry loves. He's still a rookie so he's going to have rough patches here and there, but watch out for him!
- I for one am going to be sad to see Millsap go back to the bench upon Boozer's return. 17 and 11 over the last few weeks. . .those are great numbers. I think we now officially have a logjam at power forward and that ain't a bad thing considering one of the guys has a foot out the door already.
- I don't think Korver or Almond are ever going to be great fits on the Jazz as the team is currently constituted. Even with all of the injuries, neither has really stepped up to the plate and there's a lot of competition already at those spots. Korver knocks down a few threes here and there and is nice to have around to finish off close games at the line, but he makes as much as Brewer and Miles combined and is half as valuable as either.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
"I just think," he said, "we have to continue to work at it, see how we come back, not have too many ice-pick wars in the locker room and out in the street, and we'll be fine."
Ice-Pick, the Villian...
Go Jazz! Win those Ice-Pick Wars!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Millsap in the starting lineup. Is this something we should get used to? We all know about the impending franchise decisions that need to be made at the end of the season…all regarding who we’d like to pay… Boozer or Millsap? Millsap hasn’t missed many games during his short career with the Jazz. He’s certainly a fan favorite and a Jazz work-ethic-aholic (similar to the Mailman). When he’s played in the starting lineup, Millsap has performed admirably. It is true however, that Boozer is plain and simply better, and will always be. Yet, it may not change the fact that the franchise might want to keep Millsap and pay him less (as comparative to Boozer). I guess we’ll have to worry about that decision when the season concludes. Things that make you go hmmm...
Kirilenko coming off the bench. AK provides a lot of energy and production while coming off the bench. This has turned out to be a brilliant decision. Kirilenko seems to be a totally different player this season compared to the last season. I really believe that it’s because he has a defined role and purpose coming off the bench. The M-Factory would agree with me... "Inner sense and a whole lotta class."
Jazz Inconsistency. How do we go from destroying the Sacramento Kings one night to being blasted by the New Jersey Nets the next? That just doesn’t seem to make sense. Aren’t both of these teams considered lower-level, bottom-of-the-basement performers? Neither team will sniff the playoffs. I have to attribute the Jazz inconsistency to injuries. We’ve had to utilize a vast array of players that probably wouldn’t normally see action (ie. Almond & Koufos).
It's those things that make you go hmmm, yeah!
Harpring Maligned. I think it’s probably best that the Jazz cut the cord with Matt Harpring. While I love his hustle, physical play and toughness (he defines what Jerry Sloan thinks is Jazz ball), he’s always injured. First, it was his knees, then ankle. Now it’s his back. Harpring just can’t get healthy (poor guy!)… He’d probably look better on the bench next to Phil Johnson and the Milkman, as a player/assistant coach. As the C+C said it... "You say to yourself: I'm gonna hit him with a brick"
Almond in a Jazz uniform. Why is he still with us? I recognize that our team is suffering through injuries and his contributions to the team have been helpful during this time… but… his contributions have been very minimal, and we’ve already decided NOT to extend his contract (via team option). Let’s trade him! We’re log-jammed at the wing positions. And with CJ Miles playing his best ball of his career, we already know who the future of our franchise is… Brewer and Miles. Case settled. Let’s trade him. I’d even take a future draft pick. Those things that make you go...
Fes. What else needs to be said? He should find a permanent apartment and resting place in Orem… make a few Boise All-Star Games for the Flash. I don’t believe that he’ll be successful in the NBA. "Just an example of how another brother can trample, Ruin your life..." It's those things that make you go hmm.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Jaron Collins is now considering surgery on his elbow after a massively terrifying golf cart accident this summer. The poor guy. Golf is for hard-core nut jobs, and he was sucked into a situation he never should have been in as a result of unprecedented peer pressure from his brother Jason. Regardless, if he is out at least 8 weeks, who will catch the starters' heat pads? Who will give chest bumps during player introductions?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Jazz are as beat up as they've ever been right now, which is a bit frightening because we're only 12 games into the season and just about everyone on the team is under 30. Our two best players are sidelined, Boozer with a quad strain that sounds suspiciously bad to me although Jazz brass are claiming he'll probably only miss a couple of games. On to the good news though: Harp is back at full force and we're playing in San Antonio tomorrow where we never have problems. With Matt playing 30+ minutes against the Spurs at the Alamodome, my prediction is a 25-point Jazz victory.
- Lakers - 23 nationally televised games
- Suns - 22 nationally televised games
- Mavs - 18 nationally televised games
- Spurs - 16 nationally televised games
- Hornets - 12 nationally televised games
- Nuggets - 12 nationally televised games
- Rockets - 11 nationally televised games
- Blazers - 10 nationally televised games (did not make the playoffs last year)
- Jazz - 9 nationally televised games (once you subtract the November 12 game)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
· CJ Miles hit for 21 points on 9-13 shooting, his best performance of the season. He had 15 points in the first quarter alone. With some confidence and PT, perhaps he can give us consistent production.
· Boozer recorded his 6th double-double of the season. He tallied 21 points and 15 rebounds against the Suns.
· AK47 had a stellar night against the Suns, producing a stat-line of 19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 crucial blocks on Shaq during the 4th quarter rally.
· Brevin Knight led the charge with 12 points and 6 assists in only 21 minutes. He’s proving to be a key contributor off the bench for the Jazz.
· Collins played 13 minutes and had 2 fouls… nothing else. Lethal!
· The Jazz scored the most points in a game (109), so far, in this young season.
Monday, November 17, 2008
And what did Jarron have to say about his opportunity tonight? "If I can pick up some fouls against him, I will." I think that is a worthy goal. After all, picking up fouls is what wins ball games.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Deron Williams... sore ankle.
Mehmet Okur... attending his seriously ill father.
The Jazz are much maligned. Kirilenko can't even catch the basketball. Deron may have come back from injury too early (note... he won't play Saturday night versus Cleveland either). And Memo is, rightfully and respectfully, still visiting his father in Turkey.
Even when playing healthy during this road trip, the Jazz haven't performed all that well, losing to both the Knicks and the winless Wizards. Now we have to face serious injuries in addition to serious performance issues.
On the bright side, Kosta Koufos has played fantastic ball in recent games (in place of Memo). And both Ronnie Price and Brevin Knight have filled in ably at point guard when Deron has been out. With AK47 sitting the bench, Matt Harpring and possibly Morris Almond may finally get some minutes to play and perform. The good thing about the Jazz team is... its bench is incredibly deep and capable of filling needs, playing well and getting victories. We'll see if that will be the case tonight as the Jazz play the Bobcats on the road in Charlotte. Go Jazz!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"Jarron Collins was cited as an example. Elliott said Collins' off-season training largely consisted of distance running and yoga, which didn't correspond to his role with the Jazz, which is coming off the bench and playing for short stretches as a backup center.
By training this way, Collins' explosion off the ground suffered, Elliott found. In the context of a game, Collins would be far more likely to come down with a rebound, then go back up and have his shot blocked than convert the putback.
But Elliott said such weaknesses can be corrected quickly. Although Collins isn't about to have Brewer's hops, he could see gains of roughly 30 percent relatively quickly. Unfortunately, Collins was injured in a golf-cart accident and his work at P3 cut short."
As Jazz fans, we can only dream of what this season would be like had Collins not suffered his ill fated golf-cart accident. Can you imagine 30% more Collins? Absolutely unstoppable! Well, at least we know he's flexible and can run long distances.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In other related news, as predicted below, Kosta Koufos will make his 1st start for the Jazz at center. With Memo leaving the country to attend to a sick family member, Collins still nursing an elbow injury, and Fess renewing his visa in Canada, Kosta will get the start. Here's to hoping he plays well!
Monday, November 10, 2008
The article also notes that Fesenko is in Canada working on visa issues. And Collins, aside from not really being a center or a basketball player, is still hurt. So, who does that leave as the starting center in tomorrow's game against the 76ers? Maybe this guy:
That's right. The first round draft "steal" may be an NBA starter before he has posted a single point, rebound, assist, steal, or block in the NBA. Kosta's career stats to this point include zero points on 0-3 shooting and one personal foul in a little over six minutes of action.
Our starting lineup on Tuesday may be Boozer, Ronnie Price, Ronnie Brewer, CJ Miles, and Kosta. That's eastern conference lottery team quality. This road trip just got a whole lot more interesting.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
- The Jazz are blowing teams out of the water. Our scoring differential -- which the stats gurus at ESPN think is a better indication of future success than W-L record (for the record, I agree) -- is +8, which puts us at third in the league. Only Atlanta and the Lake Show are better. Sidenote: the Lakers are winning by an average of more than 22 points a game, including a 20-point blowout of an Artest/Yao/McGrady led Rockets team last night. The Lakers are really, really good this year. It's scary.
- Harpring and Collins, two rotation guys, are still injured. In my book this is an argument for keeping them out or at least drastically reducing their minutes when they come back. Brewer had a great game yesterday (seven steals!) and Millsap has been solid all year. Better to get those young, talented guys more reps than slash their minutes for Harp and Collins.
- D Will is still out and will be for at least the next four games. We probably win in New York with him. . . it will be nice to have him back at the point soon!
- The elite teams in the West aren't looking super elite this year. Besides the frightening signs out of LA, no team in the conference other than the Jazz has sprinted out of the gates. Phoenix is 5-2 but it looks like Nash has lost a step. The Rockets are 4-3. Chris Paul and Co. are a respectable but not earth-shattering 4-2 and their wins have been fairly close. Finally, the hated Spurs are 1-4 and Tony Parker is out for at least a month. Say good night, San Antonio!
11/11 @PHI 7:00pm
Thursday, November 6, 2008
More Millsap: The Sap has been phenomenal for the Jazz to begin the year. His 24-point, 9 rebound-outing vs. the Clippers on Monday was sensational. I believe Millsap will get more PT as the year progresses.
6th Man Flourishing: Kirilenko has been awesome as the team’s Sixth man. His numbers, and production are currently ‘up’ from a season ago, averaging 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.25 steals and 1.5 blocks. This is the spot where he belongs.
Boooozer: The Booz has played well for the Jazz. He’s averaging 20.8 points and 10 rebounds per game. Boozer, Millsap and Kirilenko have garnered extended playing time on the floor together. It has proven to be a lethal combination.
The Right Knight: Brevin Knight fits into the Jazz scheme perfectly. He runs the team impressively and gets the ball into the right spots. He has the right blend of pass-first mentality, player set-up ability and good assist-to-turnover ratio.
Unselfishness: This might be the best passing team in the NBA. The Jazz know how to share the ball and distribute to the open man. Kirilenko leads the charge, oftentimes passing up shots he ought to take. Brewer has been an incredible passer. He understands his limitations and gets the ball to the right players.
What I’d like to see…
CJ Rising: CJ Miles hasn’t played particularly well as a starter. He’s only played an average of 15 minutes per game. I think it’s tough for him to get into a groove when he’s considered the 4th option on the 1st unit. He’s usually replaced quickly by Kirilenko at the 1st quarter-midpoint mark. Regardless, he’s getting his opportunity.
Steady Price: I believe Ronnie Price is getting better as a point guard in the Jazz system. His numbers aren’t overwhelming, but his assist rate has improved dramatically. He does a better job of staying under control and finding the right teammates for easy buckets.
Brew Crew: I believe Brewer deserves more playing time. He’s been sensational on the floor when he’s gotten minutes. I’d like to see his minutes elevated to 30 per game.
DWill @ 100%: Let’s not risk bringing Deron back too soon. We ought to make sure that he’s 100% ready before he returns to the floor. Why risk the possibility of increased injury when our team is playing so well? His time off allows our back-up point guards to receive additional seasoning and playing time.
Vet Relaxation: While I hope that both Harpring and Collins get well, I don’t think we have any use for them on this team. Our positions are set: CJ starts, Kirilenko plays 6th man, Korver comes off the bench, Brewer plays more minutes, Boozer, Millsap & Memo fill the post. We could certainly use another post presence inside. Would anyone bite on a trade for Almond, Harpring or Collins? Probably not.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Unfortunately, I am not as pleased to welcome Billups to the mile-high city. As a Jazz fan, I do not like this trade. Billups is 1) from Denver (which may give him incentive to take this seriously), 2) he is bigger and stronger than AI, 3) he is a better leader than AI, and 4) he is much more of a team player than AI, which translates into better looks for Melo. But even more importantly, this Nuggets shake-up cannot hurt the team, since it sucked pretty bad as is.
Friday, October 31, 2008
This morning, the Jazz announced that they would not pick up the option on Morris Almond, the sharp-shooting guard drafted by the Jazz in the first round of the 2007 draft.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Jazz tipoff 2008-2009 at home against the Nuggets at the old Energy Solutions Thunder Palace. It looks as if Deron will not play tonight (smart move), but that doesn't mean that our starting point guard won't be the best point guard on the floor. Don't forget that the Nuggets start the cagey veteran Anthony "I remember President" Carter. The big change for the Nuggets from last year is the loss of Camby and Najera. But they aren't completely lacking for interior defenders. They have this guy!
That's right, the Birdman is back! After being kicked out of the NBA for drug use, he's back. And what better team to join for a repeat drug offender than your 2008 Denver Nuggets.
If you can't tell, I'm not real high on the Nuggets this year. Last year the Nuggets were an abysmal defensive team that missed the playoffs by one game. This year, they'll be an even worse defensive team that will miss the playoffs by more than one game. Without Camby and Najera, they are a threat to give up 160 on any given night. The Jazz win tonight, even without Deron.