- San Antonio (56-26)
- Denver (54-28)
- Houston (52-30) Wins tiebreaker by beating Portland in their next head-to-head.
- Portland (52-30)
- Utah (51-31)
- New Orleans (50-32) Wins tiebreaker by beating Dallas one more time this year.
- Dallas (50-32)
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
- Mar. 31: @ Portland
- Apr. 2: @ Denver
- Apr. 3: Minnesota
- Apr. 5: @ New Orleans
- Apr. 8: @ Dallas
- Apr. 10: @ San Antonio
- Apr. 11: Golden State
- Apr. 13: L.A. Clippers
- Apr. 14: @ L.A. Lakers
That's six road games against playoff teams and three home games against lottery clubs. Any predictions on how those will turn out?
Steve Brown went up to the box seats where LDS Church President, Thomas S. Monson, was watching the game to interview the church leader. It was a typical Steve Brown train wreck interview, full of silly questions and Brown interrupting President Monson one word into his responses.
Surprisingly, Kirk never really meshed with the Jazz.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
- Miller the Son prefers suave leather jackets to beat-up green polo shirts. Nice! Score one for the new kid.
- According to Webster University Professor Patrick Rishe, professional sports teams are often handed down from generation to generation. Rishe went on to describe the Steinbrenner family as "kind of cantankerous." I couldn't find anything online about this, but I'm pretty sure Dr. Rishe won Webster's campuswide "Master of the Obvious" award last year, narrowly beating out Ron Boone (who was deemed such a great fit that he was considered despite having no connection to Webster).
- Greg Miller said in the interview that he's committed to keeping the Jazz in Utah as long as they're profitable. This is what's technically known in the PR business as "a TON of wiggle room." Perhaps I'm getting nostalgic for the old days already, but I preferred LHM's "The Jazz will stay in Utah as long as I'm alive," answer to that question. Score one for the old man.
- In a nice sidebar piece, Greg listed his favorite movies as "Brokeback Mountain" and "that one with that chick from Saved by the Bell where she dances around a lot on the pole". . . OK fine, that part isn't true.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
First, it was LeBron and his boys from the Cavs performing the photoshoot. And not to be outdone, Shaq came up with something (perhaps) even better, the bowling routine.
Personally, I'd have to admit that I probably enjoyed the photoshoot more than the bowling skit. However, the classic 'thing' with every Shaq intro-show is that he's always "the centerpiece" of the comedy act. He's the one that will always get the big laughs. It's the Shaq show! I don't think that the Big Cactus can be outdone in this regard. His personality measures up to be close the same size as his ego (and for that... he'll always be more likable and enjoyable than today's NBA villians, ie. Kobe).
My question is... when will the Jazz put together their own pre-game intro-skit? Can you imagine Jerry Sloan's reaction to it? I wonder what the Jazz would do? Something involving Kirilenko, Memo, Fes, Kosta, KK and Harp... with D-Will leading the way could be pretty entertaining & funny. How 'bout alpine skiing? Boy-band rock concert?... (with synchronized dance moves). Or the dance club-dance off?
The key to tonight's and Saturday's game will be the teams' benches. If Millsap, Korver, and Kirilenko can get theirs, the Jazz should win both games this week. That's because the Suns' bench (without Barbosa) is paper thin. Their bench studs are currently Jared Dudley, Goran Dragic (that's right, Goran Dragic of CutGoranDragic.com), and ex-Jazzman Louis Amundson. What's that? You don't remember the Louis Amundson era? That game was awesome!
Anyway, I'm not one to go calling games in March a "must win," but if the Jazz want any chance at homecourt in the playoffs, they need two games from the Suns this week.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Now, remember, the Rockets are playing without McGrady - which means that they are a good basketball team. With McGrady out, they run everything through Yao and let Scola and Artest clean up the boards. Since their guards suck, they have decided that they don't need them: they have been running a three forward lineup with either Kyle Lowry or Aaron Brooks at the point.
Lately, the Rockets have been doing things that the Jazz are seemingly powerless to accomplish, like winning in San Antonio. However, the Jazz seem to be in the Rockets' head, just like the Spurs are in ours. Much of that dominance is the result of matchups: when you are running Aaron Brooks against Deron, you are digging yourself a hole. And the Jazz, unlike a lot of teams, have the bigs to match up with Yao, Scola, and Artest.
Last thing to know about the Rockets: they have a small forward that was recently shot in the leg after smashing into a utility pole with his SUV. And it wasn't Ron Artest!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
To many, it’s known as “the shot”. Illinois made one of the most improbable comebacks –down nearly 15 points with 4 minutes to play- and beat Arizona to advance to the Final Four. Deron Williams was the superstar behind the comeback. His “shot” put his playing career on the proverbial “map”. And as we all know now, he's been making those caliber of shots ever since.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
P.S. How would you phoenetically spell the way Karl prounces the number 19. Nowuntane?
Now, before you tell me that the Jazz are only a game and a half out of third place in the West, take a look at what looms on the horizon. On Friday the Jazz take on a suprisingly effective Thunder team in Oklahoma (spoilter alert: this will not be an easy game). Then, next week, a home game against the Rockets (take that one to the bank), followed by a home and away series with the Suns (both games should end up in the 130s). Following the Shaq double play, we get a freebie with the Knicks at home. Overall, I feel comfortable predicting a 4-1 record for the rest of March.
But then comes April. And April is a bitch. Six road games against Western Conference playoff teams (Portland, Denver, New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio, Lakers) mixed in with three home games against cupcakes (Minnesota, Clippers, Warriors). Oh, by the way, guess how many road wins the Jazz currently own against teams with winning records: ONE! The Jazz continue to be a terrible road team. Thus, barring any shockers, we're looking at a 3-6 record in April.
Bottom line: I don't see the Jazz having home court in the first round. And, unless we get a dream matchup (read: Rockets) that will mean a quick vacation.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
The Salt Lake Tribune offered up this glimpse into the jetset lifestyle of Jarron Collins, friend of the stars who doesn't hurt you on the court. Please Jarron, tell us more about having "a romantic encounter with a woman."
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Where has Ronnie gone? I, for one, don't understand why Brevin Knight is getting all the backup PG minutes and Price has been relegated to the end of the bench, only to emerge in mop-up duty. Price is bigger, more athletic, a better shooter and a better defender. And he has the potential to improve with experience. Knight isn't bad. He doesn't hurt us, but he also does help us. He has trouble with bigger guards and can't shoot. He distributes well but doesn't provide much of a spark because he can't score. Price has the potential to guve us a real lift off the bench and I'd like to see us give him a chance to do so as we make our push to the playoffs.
Plus, maybe we'll get to see more highlights like this dunk over Boozer.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The 2005 NBA draft was a turning point for the post Stockton-Malone Jazz. Before the Jazz drafted Deron Williams with the third overall pick, few would have thought that John Stockton's replacement (not counting Carlos Arroyo) would be such a, uh-hm, decorated individual. And even more baffling, that someone with tattoos could actually be a good guy! Those of you who watch NBA drafts religiously (like the Guru and I), may remember that Stu Scott predicted that Deron would be a great locker room presence. After asking the standard questions of the young draftee, the always intelligible Mr. Scott finished the interview thusly:
Mike, seven tattoos on this man, still, character ---- all the time, character.
Deron, predictably, had absolutely nothing to say in response. And so, without further ado, let's discuss those seven points of character.
1. The Panther: Deron's most prominent tattoo is that of the Panther on his right arm. I don't know what the panther tattoo means to him personally, but I hate to break the news that it means a lot to other NBA ballers as well. In fact, multiple NBA players, from crappy players to future HOFers have the exact same thing (see, Iverson's right forearm). In fact, the ferocious panther design is so popular that it spans across sports. Other athlete/heartthrobs - like Soccer players/Calvin Klein models - like showing off a little panther art for the ladies.2. The Bicep Initials: On his right arm, Deron has his intials, DMW. (The M stands for Michael). Those also happen to be his daughter's initials, although it's unclear which came first - the tat or the tot (Golden Griff will love that one). On his left arm he sports his mom's initials, DES. Sweet kid.
3. D-Will: You have to love a tattoo of your own nickname in flames. It's like when Karl had that "The mailman" tattoo or when Ricky Green had that "Fastest of Them All" tattoo. Those were something. Not all NBA players opt for the nickname tattoo, of course. Tim Duncan, for instance, passed up on the "Timmy D" tattoo, for the infinitely cooler clown tattoo.
4. Christian Symbols: In keeping with NBA rules, Deron has a token christian tattoo. He has a cross with a rose and angel wings on his left arm (just below all of the beautiful imagery of the picture on the right).
5. Texas Made: As if it weren't enough that Boozer's tattoos are an homage to the Bulls' 1998 championship, Deron gives a shout-out to the Mavs/Spurs/Rockets every time he takes the floor. I would point out that Deron is actually "West Virginia Made." Of course, being accurate in this case would make a really lame tattoo even lamer.
6. His Daughter's Birth Date: Apparently, Deron has the date his daughter was born tattooed on his chest. Really? Is it in long form with gothic script, like, "The First Day of October in the Year of Our Lord, Two-Thousand and Two," or is it just "10-1-02." Either way, it screams I-ran-out-of-ideas.
7. NO GUTS, NO GLORY: Finally, his most recent and eye-scorching additions. He didn't have the Guts/Glory tattoos in college, so he may have inked them in Utah, which is a shame. You'd think we could do better than that. Those two lines in gothic font on his triceps rank among some of the worst tattoos in the NBA. Personally, if I'm getting those tattoos, and I'm an NBA player, I would get them upside down so they can only be read by a defender when I'm rising to shoot over them. Then, after I score, I could yell "NO GUTS, NO GLORY" and waive a hand in front of my face as if I can't feel it. That would be cool and intimidating, right?
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of the NBA Draft. It’s one of the highlights that I look forward to during the offseason. It combines the two sports that I enjoy and follow religiously (college hoops and the NBA). With March Madness upon us -and discovering which teams and players will be playing in the upcoming NCAA tournament- Now is the time we get to witness the college stars of today performing on the biggest stage… and then hoping and imagining that one day, their splendid basketball careers will continue with the Utah Jazz.
Monday, March 9, 2009
It's hard to complain during an 11 game win streak, but did you see Jarron Collins's line against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday: 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 1 turnover and three fouls in five minutes of play. Even worse than what Collins did on the court was who he kept off it. Once again Kosta Koufos registered a DNP - Coach's Decision, his ninth DNP in a row. Koufos has the potential to be a major contributor for the Jazz down the road, but that is not the only reason I wish Jerry would play him instead of Collins.
On November 11, 2008, I attended the Jazz victory over the 76ers in Philadelphia. Because Okur was out and Fesenko was resloving a visa issue in Canada, Koufos started and played 20 minutes. He finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, a steal and two blocks. And beyond his stat line, he was active, running the floor on offense and altering shots on defense. I left the game convinced that Koufos was already better than Collins and I still feel that way today. We need a back up center for the playoffs and that center should be Koufos. So let's stop throwing away those five minutes we keep giving to Collins and get Koufos in the game. Koufos's energy and play will help us now and the experience he gains will pay dividends in the future.
Update: We may get to see the return of Kosta sooner than expected. Ross Siler is reporting this morning that Collins may be out tonight with a stomach virus.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Sounds like a catchy 80's band name doesn't it? Good guess. But the name really comes from Shaquille O'Neal's recent description of the team the Jazz play this afternoon: the Toronto Raptors. After a February 27th Suns' victory over the Raptors, O'Neal compared the Raptor's best player Chris Bosh to 90's drag queen RuPaul. The Raptors have responded to O'Neal's criticism by ... losing their last three games. That's one way to silence your critics. The Raptors losing streak currently sits at four games and they are going to have their hands full with our red hot Jazz.
One thing the Raptors do have going for them is a great blog. Check out this excellent post breaking down today's match up.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
One of the best parts of beating the Nuggets is listening to their post-game excuses. They have to be one of the whiniest teams in the league and Coach Karl leads the way. Here is what he had to say about the Nuggets 97-91 loss to the Jazz:
“The frustration of them getting the whistle is really hard sometimes to overcome in this building.”
J. R. Smith’s post game comments were even more pathetic.
"They came out in the third quarter and [the officials] started blowing the whistle. They got every call. They got to the free-throw line. That's what opened it up."
Even Chauncey Billups, Mr. Big Shot, got in on the action, before catching himself and giving the Jazz a little credit.
"... In the third quarter, they scored most of their points from the free-throw line. It's kind of weird how that happens. But you have to give them credit. They attacked."
At the All-star break the Nuggets looked like they were going to be tough to catch. But Coach Karl and his guys have now lost five straight road games. Let’s hope they have a lot more excuses to make before the season is over.
Friday, March 6, 2009
- The Jazz are a bunch of cheap shot artists
- The Jazz learned all they know about playing dirty from Jerry Sloan.
- Matt Harpring, in particular, is a criminal who should not be let in the same building as upstanding citizens like JR Smith, Carmelo Anthony or Kenyon Martin
DWill “the Franchise” vs. Chauncey Ba-Ba-Ba-Billups!
Denver getting Chauncey was a downright steal. He’s completely changed the fortunes of that team. DWill, for the Jazz, is the engine that runs the good-ship Utah. This is a classic match-up of top-tier ball-controllers. Let’s see who wins the time of possession. I believe that it was Chauncey Billups who got the All-Star nod over DWill. No?! It’s time for revenge!
AK47 Defending Carmelo
There’s no other defender that gets under Crymelo’s skin other than Andrei Kirilenko. AK always forces CA into taking tough, contested shots. Let’s see if Andrei can cause another Crymelo-fest tonight.
Booz & Sap Versus Nene’, Petro and the Birdman?
Wow. We ought to dominate the paint tonight! And if we don’t, that’ll be the story of the game.
Brewer And J.R.
Both players are on the up-swing. Each possesses a certain degree of athleticism and pizzazz. Smith could probably be considered more of a tumult rather than pizzazz. He’s got a nice jumper… but he’s terribly out-of-control.
Memo is in a category ‘all to himself’. He can’t be stopped. Who’s going to guard him? I don’t think Denver has a match-up for him. He’ll run circles around the Denver big-guys… casting away three-pointers at will. If he’s “On”… look-out!
Here's to the Jazz in a homecourt-laden beatdown tonight!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
I can think of a lot of things that Carlos Boozer does better than Greg Ostertag. One of those things is selecting bodyart. No cartoon cavemen for this power forward, just good old-fashioned christian imagery. And a ferociously awesome grizzly bear.
Boozer claims that at age 17 he saw Dennis Rodman on TV and was inspired to get his first tattoo. If you do the math, that was in 1998. In that year, Rodman was playing for the Bulls and they were on their way to their third straight championship against.... Well, let's just say that Boozer has never been accused of being a Jazz "lifer."
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
First things first: the Jazz have the Rockets at home tonight and the Nuggets at home on Friday. Those are no-brainer must-wins. The Jazz are currently in the seventh spot in the West. Beating the Nuggets and Rockets won't necessarily move us up any higher, but beating them both puts us one half game out of the third spot. Beating good Western teams at home is a must, because we don't beat them on the road.
Speaking of the road, after two games at home, the Jazz head on a five-game jaunt out east. The trip includes three playoff teams (Atlanta, Orlando, Miami) and two lottery teams (Indiana and Toronto). None of those teams are world-beaters, but the Jazz can lose to absolutely anyone on the road (see, Wizards, Washington). I believe that the Jazz can earn at least a winning record, and ideally four wins on that trip. If the Jazz can do that, they are in a great position to make a nice run in the brutal last stretch of the season. However, if they limp home with a 2-3 or 1-4 record from the East, Kirilenko can start making his family vacation plans early.
Monday, March 2, 2009
2. With our team now healthy, we can finally play to our potential. We have options in our line-up to go big, small, fast, athletic, or grind-it-out.
3. Boozer’s gradually getting his “groove” back. While he isn’t scoring a lot of points, he’s starting to hit the glass.
4. The Money-man, Memo Okur, is lighting the nets on fire. He’s picked up the slack when the Boozer was out-of-action. Over the course of January and February (27 games), Memo has scored over 20 points on 17 different occasions.
5. Kyle Korver, the heart-throb, has come out of his shooting slump. Thank goodness!... because he was downright terrible for a while.
6. DWill hit a season best 20 assists versus the Warriors. If Deron is distributing the ball like that, without “needing” to score, then I believe we’re in good shape. We have scoring options to spare.
7. Brewer’s putting up some mighty fine-looking numbers (averaging 20 ppg over his last 5 games).
8. Jarron Collins doesn’t play anymore.
9. The Jazz (37-23) are sitting in the 7-spot in the race for seeding in the Western Conference Playoffs. We’re nipping at New Orleans (36-22), Portland (37-22) and Houston (38-22). Even Denver isn’t too far off (39-21). It’s not out of the question that the Jazz could surge towards 3rd place and win the Division. Marc Stein has us ranked 7th in the NBA in his power rankings.
10. Personally, I’d like to avoid LA at all cost (and I don’t mean the Clippers). I think placing 2nd, 3rd or 6th would be good for us… Let’s keep the streak alive!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I couldn't pass up a good chess pun. But seriously, Ronnie Brewer played a great game last night against the Kings. He finished with a career high 26 points and played the entire second half. Brewer has increased his scoring average this season by almost two points - from 12 to 14 points a game - but his increased offensive productivity is not the only way he is helping the Jazz. The last two seasons, the Jazz were routinely torched by high scoring shooting guards. Players like Micheal Redd, Ray Allen, Gilbert Arenas and, especially, Kobe Bryant regularly erupted for high scoring nights against the Jazz. This season, Brewer seems to have finally harnessed his impressive athletic ability and channeled it into becoming a top notch defender and the Jazz have largely kept opposing shooting guards in check. Brewer is playing better defense and forcing his man to work harder to defend him. Let's hope he can keep it up, as the Jazz are going to need strong play from Brewer on both sides of the court if we want a shot at knocking off Kobe and the Lakers or Manu and the Spurs in the playoffs.