|Paul Millsap, PF41 MIN | 14-24 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 29 PTS | -3
Amazing again. Millsap is becoming a fixture and I hope he’s always a Jazzman.
|Gordon Hayward, SG20 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 2 PTS | -5
As I tweeted after the game, Hayward is going to have nightmares about getting the ball on the break with only a few seconds left and only Matt Barnes to beat, and not getting it done. There were several moments in the game when it looked like he was playing hot potato with the basketball and couldn’t get it out of his hands fast enough.
|Al Jefferson, C43 MIN | 5-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -5
A double double, but 5-17 shooting killed way too many possessions. The dreaded six-foot shot-put made its return, with very poor results. The worst was this post-game quote: “They defended me really good tonight and it got to the point where I didn’t want to take shots anymore and just get the ball to my teammates.”
|Raja Bell, SG33 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | -8
Rose to the occasion early in his matchup with old nemesis Kobe Bryant, scoring the first four Jazz points and getting under Kobe’s skin. Still, Bryant put up 40 points a night after scoring 48 and was equally energized by the matchup. To Raja’s credit, his tough defense was hampered by several tough calls that may or may not have been the remains of karmic payback for his brutal clothesline on Kobe from years ago.
Similar play from Raja against any other opponent probably would have been lock-down defense. I agree with his post-game comment: “If he’s going to take 31 shots to get 40, then that’s pretty much all you can do. Anyone shooting 31 shots should get 40.”
|Devin Harris, PG31 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 3 PTS | -14
Harris seemed poised to play tough early in the game, but seemed to disappear as the game went on.
|Earl Watson, PG22 MIN | 0-4 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 4 PTS | +11
Brought a nice change of pace to the game and continues to be one of the best back-up point guards in the league.
|Josh Howard, SF34 MIN | 6-14 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | 0
Howard continues to be the spark plug as well as the LOL-dribbler. I’m not sure I’ve seen a worse ball handler among players who are frequently handling the ball. Still, his crazy play seems to be the only thing that un-stagnates the Jeffersonian offense.
|C.J. Miles, SF16 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +7
CJ has been the invisible man lately.
|Derrick Favors, FC12 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | 0
Played tough defense and showed glimpses, but was overshadowed in key moments by Bynum and Gasol.
|Enes Kanter, F10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +2
Some story as Favors. Great to see the commitment to defense, but for all the talk about rebounding, four isn’t enough on a night that had a lot of misses.
[Update: Um, four rebounds in 10 minutes isn't bad at all. In my fevered post-game state I sometimes make horrible assessments.]
Four Things We Saw
- Mark Eaton, Dieter Uchtdorf, and Masha Kirilenko walked past the locker room after the game. I didn’t get a chance to talk to Masha, but the word on the street was that she was in town with friends and family for a vacation. Andrei is still in Russia.
- Derek Fisher had some interesting, thoughtful comments about his time in Utah and his relationship with Gail and the late Larry Miller after the game. 1320 KFAN’s @tonyparks1320 and KSL’s @jarommoore asked some good questions and got some nice answers. I’ll post the transcript and a link in a separate post.
- It was a gut-wrenching loss for the Jazz and their fans, but it’s nice to see how much progress the team has made since opening night against the Lakers.
- The annoying presence of five million Laker fans in the building created the weird effect of sounding like simultaneous home games.