The Jazz’ 94-82 loss to the Spurs Friday night was painful to watch. It wasn’t a horribly played game, necessarily, but it felt like the Jazz had opportunities to take the game over, but didn’t want to. I’m not doubting the team’s resolve to win, but I am disappointed in their inability to put a collective foot on the throat of their opponent… especially in Energy Solutions Arena. Good teams win at home. Really good teams win at home and on the road. If the Jazz want to continue to be taken seriously, they need to start finishing these types of games against good teams at home. Here are some overall thoughts on the game:
- The Jazz started slow. Again. It took over four minutes for the Jazz to score their first points. It’s starting to get frustrating to watch the Jazz starters start so slow. The running joke is that they need a warm up quarter to really get going, and that seems more and more to be the case. By the time the second half rolled around, the Jazz were right there with the Spurs… so what happens if they actually play a complete game?
- Someone on the Jazz, at some point, has GOT to box an opposing player out. It wasn’t the three pointers that killed the Jazz, and it wasn’t Tim Duncan (although he was great). It was Utah’s inability to stop the Spurs second chance point opportunities. This has been the most disturbing theme of the 2010-11 season.
- The second chance points aren’t due to a lack of effort. The Jazz have guys under the basket during the shot… but fundamentally they are making HUGE mental mistakes. The first thing you learn in team basketball is that when the shot goes up, you box out your man FIRST, THEN you go get the rebound. Unfortunately, it looks like the Jazz are looking to rebound first, so their men are left to wander free and grab errant rebounds. I don’t know how many times we’ve seen three or four Jazz jerseys under the basket, yet still seen an opposing team’s jersey fly in and take the offensive board.
- Parker’s ability to penetrate into the paint is impressive… and annoying.
- The Jazz keep giving games away. In the past two losses, I never felt like the Jazz were getting dominated, or that they couldn’t win. I have got the feeling that the effort isn’t always there to finish the game.
- The Spurs feel boring to watch because they aren’t all that flashy and they beat you by doing everything just a little better than you. It’s like playing your older brother in the backyard. Take a look at the following statistical categories:
- FG%: Spurs: 43.9% Jazz: 41.9%
- 3Pt%: Spurs: 25% Jazz: 21.4%
- Blocks: Spurs: 4 Jazz: 3
- Turnovers: Spurs: 13 Jazz: 14
- D-Reb: Spurs: 30 Jazz: 26
- Al Jefferson got schooled by Tim Duncan. Duncan may be getting old, but he is so fundamentally sound that you have to respect him wherever he is on the floor. The thing with Duncan is that his game is based on hours of honed practice and it’s turned him into a fundamentally sound machine. His game is not an athletic one, which means that he’ll have more longevity then a player that depends on pure athletics to get the job done.
- The Jazz have mental lapses on defense. It’s not like their defense is bad every time down the floor. It’s pretty good 80% of the time. It’s just that other 20% that ends up killing them. Help defense is the major problem, and when they play against penetrating guards, it really shows up. The bigs need to protect the paint better and work on their rotations.
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