With Deron Williams watching the game from the bench in a suit and a brace on his injured wrist, the Jazz took advantage of a tired Memphis team playing on the second night of a back-to-back. When it was all over, the Jazz picked up a 23-point win that included no-look, backdoor, baseline passes from Andrei Kirilenko to Ronnie Brewer and the NBA debut of D-League call-up Sundiata Gaines.
“When you pass the ball, and share, you get a lot of easy baskets. I thought our guys did a great job doing that tonight,” said Utah coach Jerry Sloan after the Jazz set a season-high with 39 assists and shot 56.8 percent from the field.
After all the dreary days during the three-game losing streak, the lethargic Grizz were just what the doctor ordered for the Jazz. All the pessimism and poor play disappeared in a blur of fast break layups and three point baskets. CJ Miles had 15 points in the first quarter alone.
Of note on the evening were Jazz owner Greg Miller’s comments in an interview played at halftime, in response to a question from Craig Bolerjack about whether he has a timetable for when he’d like to see things turn around: “I’d like to start winning tonight. And I’d like to start winning on the road Friday night. And then I want to continue those winning ways. As for player trades, those will happen when the right opportunities present themselves…we’re not just going to trade for the sake of a trade. What if we trade and get worse? We’ll trade if it makes the team better.”
The best story was the play of Sundiata Gaines in his NBA debut, just a few days removed from beating the Utah Flash while playing for the Idaho Stampede. He picked the perfect night to arrive, with Deron Williams out and Ronnie Price wearing a huge bandage on his injured shoulder. It’s not fair to compare, but our boy DJ did:
Mo Almond in his entire rookie year: 13pts, 3reb, 2ast in 39 minutes… Gaines today: 3pts, 5ast in 20 minutes.