The fact that this year has been a bad year for Jazz fans should be undisputed. The team came into the year with an All-Star point guard, a Hall of Fame coach and postseason aspirations (this writer predicted 50 wins). The year is going to end with more questions (Millsap or Favors? Is Corbin a good coach? Can Gordon Hayward be a productive NBA player?) than answers. This season has been a huge disappointment.
Before we completely move on from the year and focus on the draft, I wanted to look back on those few games that brought some level of joy and satisfaction to this Jazz fan. Below are the top 5 games from the 2010-2011 season:
5. January 14th: Jazz 121 – Cavs 99
- At the time: This game looked like a really good team beating up on a really bad team. It was a fun game with many highlight worthy plays and left the Jazz 14 games above .500 and tied with the Thunder for 1st place in the Northwest division. The description at the beginning of the AP recap sums up the state of the Jazz after that game:
- In retrospect: This game was the pinnacle of the Jazz season as the Jazz never again were 14 games above .500. Since the game the Jazz have won close to 1 out of every 4th game. It turned out to be the beginning of the end.
4. February 25th: Jazz 95 – Pacers 84
- At the time: This was the first game for the Jazz with Devin Harris and Derrick Favors, and also the first win since Jerry Sloan retired. Harris and Favors did enough in the game to provide Jazz fans hope that the trade wasn’t going to be a bust. At five games over .500 the Jazz still were in playoff contention and the thought was that the team still had enough talent to sneak into the postseason.
- In retrospect: This game was just a minor break in the losing streak as the Jazz lost the next 3 games and continued on with their downward decent. The Jazz didn’t become a playoff team and Favors/Harris have only had average production for the team.
3. April 5th: Jazz 86 – Lakers 85
- At the time: The Jazz broke a 16 straight game losing streak to the Lakers at the Staples Center, and Hayward gave us something to believe in. The game didn’t matter for the Jazz in terms of making the playoffs, but for a meaningless game (for the Jazz at least) it was very satisfying.
- In retrospect: Nothing has changed from the above considering the game only happened a week ago.
2. February 4th: Jazz 113 – Nuggets 106
- At the time: Here is the my fellow Salt City Hoops writer Jeff Lind after the Nuggets win: “Wow. I almost forgot what it felt like to go into a good team’s house and win. Turns out it feels pretty amazing.” Lind has some other good points from the game that left the Jazz a half game ahead of the Nuggets in the standings.
- In retrospect: This was the last good win of the Deron Williams/Jerry Sloan era and ended up being one of the last games of the Carmelo Anthony era in Denver. In less than a week after the game, Jerry Sloan retired and the season as we had known it completely changed. What looked like a statement game (Jazz > Nuggets) ended up not meaning anything for either team. The Jazz went 8-22 after the game, and the Nuggets went 21-10.
1. November 9th: Jazz 116 – Heat 114
- At the time: It was only the 7th game of what everyone thought would be a unique season as the Jazz tried to replace Boozer, Brewer and Korver’s production, while incorporating Jefferson, Bell and Hayward. This game had the dual benefit of giving Jazz fans hope, while also providing a glimpse into the talent of Paul Millsap. It really was a miracle, when you consider some of the facts from the game. One of the more amazing facts is that Millsap had more 3s in 28 seconds then he did in the previous 4 years combined. If you ever want to show someone a crazy end to a game, then send them this link from the play by play of the 4th quarter. For me, it was just one of those games that epitomizes why I enjoy sports. Here are some thoughts about the game for those interested:
- The Undervalued Paul Millsap
- Jazz 116 Heat 114: THE GREATEST GAME IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE
- Morning After Drill: From Here We Go Sublime
- Jazz, Pacers score improbable offensive feats – John Hollinger
- In retrospect: The game was the definition of an outlier. The Jazz won a game that they shouldn’t have and the Heat lost a game they should have won. It was an amazing game on its own, and one that I will watch again if it ever is replayed on ESPN Classic or NBA TV, but over the course of an 82 game season it wasn’t a representative sample of anything. The Jazz weren’t better than the Heat. Millsap didn’t become a 3 point shooter. The game was a fun win that Jazz fans should remember because of its absurdity.