For those who endured all four quarters of the Opening Night Debacle, I salute you. You showed more intestinal fortitude than most of the Jazz players in the 110-88 shellacking in Denver by the Nuggets.
In similar fashion to the infamous Phoenix game at the end of last season, the Jazz played their poorest when the emotion and hype were highest. From a fan perspective, it’s madding to watch lethargic play on opening night, hot on the heels of the best preseason in club history. I can only image what it feels like for the ownership group, knowing they have $187,680,671 committed in player salaries, only to watch Andrei Kirilenko, CJ Miles, Al Jefferson, and Kyrylo Fesenko combine for 10 points.
With AK alone, that’s $217,353.66 to score only two more points than I did. Those same two points were a downright bargain from CJ Miles – his point total only cost a paltry $45,121.95. Al Jefferson, for his part, pulled in $158,536.59 to go along with his 6 points and 7 rebounds.
To their credit, the Nuggets came to play on night when off-the-court trade rumors surrounding Carmelo Anthony seemed to overshadow the game. Melo’s quote was spot-on: “The fans, they want to see basketball,” Anthony said. “They don’t want drama. I don’t want drama.”
The only drama from Melo was a 23-point soliloquy as the Jazz opted to watch from the gallery.
Luckily for Utah, tonight’s home opener against the Phoenix Suns offers the chance to bounce back and re-discover the chemistry that fueled the strong preseason.
Notes: Our own Jeff Lind joined me on the ESPN Daily Dime Live chat Wednesday afternoon. You can check the transcript here.
High Notes | Low Notes
by Mychal Lowman
The Jazz should have had the clear advantage on the glass with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap and Nuggets playing without Kenyon Martin and the Birdman. Instead, Denver backup Sheldon Williams had 16 rebounds and Al Harrington had 7.
Points in the Paint
36 points in the paint for the Jazz won’t win many games. When the offense is humming it looks like a layup drill — easy baskets abound for everyone. On this night, the Jazz looked confused on offense and rarely made cuts made to the basket when someone was working in the post.
On the other side of the ball they allowed 42 points in the paint. Teams shouldn’t feel safe going to the basket with bigs like Jefferson, Fesenko, or Elson roaming the middle. Games that make fans miss Jarron Collins are an indictment on the current roster. Hard fouls, guys.
22 turnovers. The timing on the D-Will to Jefferson pick-and-roll was out of sync. Most of the team seemed surprised at the passes going their way.
Tweet of the game:
He didn’t have a dominant game or lead the Jazz to a comeback, but it was nice to see the same old Paul who doesn’t quit on a game no matter how dire the circumstances. Also of note, while everyone was picking up fouls in this game (seriously, the referees were giving out fouls like Oprah gives away cars), Millsap didn’t get called for one. I know it’s early but it could be possible that Millsap has finally earned respect from the officials in this league to not get called for phantom fouls.
He got most of his minutes in garbage time but the kid is fun to watch. His crazy jumping ability and hustle is making a splash like Millsap in his rookie year (if Millsap was forced on a diet consisting of only bread and water). Also, I think Golden Corral or Chuck-O-Rama needs to sponsor this kid. They could do a before and after picture like they do with Jared from Subway with inverted results
Just One Game