Due to a little bit of failure-to-set-the-DVR-itis and a chronic case of League-pass-annoyingly-blacks-out-local-games-ia, I was unable to watch this game. I did, however, sit next to longtime Jazz assistant Gordon Chiesa, now a scout for the Memphis Grizzlies, at the Utah Flash game and asked his opinion on the Jazz as currently assembled. He was clearly impressed, and was emphatic that the Jazz are legitimate title contenders this year.
The story of the game was the strong performance from Paul Millsap. From the AP story:
Millsap hit 11 of 13 shots in a 24-point performance that led Utah past the New Orleans Hornets, 98-90 on Wednesday night for the Jazz’s 15th victory in 17 games.
“I’m trying to attack a little bit more. I think I was a little timid earlier in the season,” Millsap said. “I just felt comfortable out there and when you get that type of confidence, the rim looks real big.”
Millsap, a reserve, came in averaging 11.4 points but had scored 20 in his previous outing, a victory at Houston in the last game before the All-star break. Against the Hornets, he was opportunistic inside, hitting a couple putbacks and three layups. There was more to his game than that, though; he hit six jumpers from between 13 and 17 feet, earning 33:30 in playing time off the bench.
“When Paul is given a lot of minutes, he’s always produced,” said Jazz point guard Deron Williams, who had 16 points and 10 assists. “It’s on coach to find him some time to get him out there. If it’s Paul’s night, you’ve got to ride with him.”
Carlos Boozer scored six of his 16 points in the last 3:06, helping Utah pull away after a 3-pointer by New Orleans’ James Posey had tied it at 85. Boozer also had 15 rebounds, and Mehmet Okur added 10 points for the Jazz, who shot 54 percent (38 of 70).
Up next, the streaking Jazz head to the Bay Area for a matchup on Friday with the Bakersfield Jam North, AKA the Golden State Warriors.