Jazz 100 – Suns 88: The Elimination Game

April 24th, 2012 | by Evan Hall
Phoenix Suns 88 Final

Recap | Box Score

100 Utah Jazz
Paul Millsap, PF 41 MIN | 10-18 FG | 6-11 FT | 15 REB | 4 AST | 26 PTS | +21I’m giving all the players A+’s on this game because PLAYOFFS! But Millsap truly deserved his. For the first three quarters, Millsap quietly carried the team’s offense, and his three-point play in the fourth quarter was the dagger for the Suns’ playoff hopes.
DeMarre Carroll, F 19 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | +2More solid effort, and when Josh Howard came in for that stretch in the first half, I was legitimately sad to see Carroll go.
Al Jefferson, C 38 MIN | 8-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 16 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +15I always liked that Al Jefferson. He’s a fantastic player. But really, he came up in the biggest possible way at the biggest possible moment. Forgive me, Al. You truly are Big.
Devin Harris, PG 34 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | +16You may not see it in his stats, but Devin Harris wanted the playoffs more than any other player on the floor. He would not be denied. At the beginning of the season, I would not have believed that Harris was this team’s emotional engine. But he is, and a BMW engine at that.
Gordon Hayward, SG 42 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 11 PTS | +14Sweet mercy, the assists. Hayward and Harris have found a chemical balance as the starting backcourt. Harris is technically the point guard, but he often plays more like a 2, and Hayward is more than capable enough as a passer to play that role.
Josh Howard, SF 6 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -2I love all our players. Really. I do. He just needs some time to recuperate, and I’m not sure an elimination game like this was the proper setting for that. Still… PLAYOFFS!
Derrick Favors, FC 29 MIN | 5-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +15Mortals, behold the new Derrick Favors and tremble. His first half would make Tyson Chandler proud. Good news Jazz fans: We have a Rim Protector. Favors’ blocks on Gortat were so ruthlessly vicious that Gortat never recovered. Even on unchallenged lay-ups, Gortat couldn’t convert. He was trembling.
Alec Burks, G 11 MIN | 2-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -10Burks’ scoring boosts during the stretches where the offense was stalling were desperately needed. Don’t look now, but Alec Burks is slowly becoming a legitimate Microwave Man.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Things We Saw from Jackson Rudd: Playoffs! All of the ups and downs of the season are completely vindicated with Utah’s strong finish. Tonight marks the first time they are five games above .500 since they were 12-7 in January. The young team handled the huge game pretty much the way we hoped they would- they came out with a quick burst, ran out of adrenaline early, and then hung in there until they took control during the fourth quarter.
  2. The “big” lineup of Millsap-Favors-Jefferson is so good that it doesn’t even make sense. It has turned around every game that it has shown up in and tonight was no different. Devin Harris and Paul Millsap came back in when the Jazz were losing- they had built a double-digit lead within 8 minutes together on the floor. It might create some depth issues, but it seems like this should be our starting lineup against the Spurs. What do the Jazz have to lose?
  3. Great coaching from Ty Corbin tonight. He handled Josh Howard’s “comeback” in the best way possible and didn’t lose faith in Burks even when a couple of plays went against him. He kept Tinsley in just long enough to give Harris the rest he needed to finish strong even though Tinsley was getting torched.
  4. Amazing crowd tonight in the ESA. The fans were always there to pick up the Jazz during the dry spells. If this game was in Phoenix, we might have a very different outcome.
  5. The best thing that could have happened was Al Jefferson getting a big gash over his eye and then stitches mid-game. It gave the whole game a Willis Reed-lite sort of feel, especially when Big Al was taking over the game down the stretch.

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  1. Mike says:

    Will you talk to your buddies at ESPN to update DeMarre Carroll’s photo? It’s about time we have him in a Jazz uniform.

  2. CJinBrooklyn says:

    I don’t get to watch a lot of the games (East Coast), so I don’t fully understand why they wouldn’t go with the big Milsap at SF lineup every game. In the past I thought Paul was not happy about playing the 3, but this year he has a really effective jump shot and he seems to destroy other SFs. What’s the problem?

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