Morning After Drill: Everything is Everything

February 5th, 2011 | by Jeff Lind

Wow. I almost forgot what it felt like to go into a good team’s house and win. Turns out it feels pretty amazing. Here are a few thoughts after last night’s game.

  • I like aggressive Deron. Seeing him push the ball up the court and keep the offense running seemed like a major lift. The rest of the team responded well and played harder on defense, cut faster on offense, and just played all around more aggressively. It seems more and more clear… as Deron go, the Jazz go.
  • The Jazz actually played defense. Yes, they fouled early and often, but I’d rather see aggressive defense out of the gate that results in fouls than no defense. That aggressive D turned into smart D though, and the Jazz ended up with some pretty key stops down the stretch that helped them maintain their lead. I was pretty impressed with the rotations, and hustle from everyone.
  • The Jazz felt like they were in control throughout that game. No come from behind antics. No heaves at the end of a wasted shot clock. They felt powerful, and they won every quarter but the first (and they only lost the first quarter by one point).
  • How awesome was it to see Deron go after JR Smith after his flagrant 2 on Bell? For such a moody guy, you rarely see that kind of emotion from Deron on the court. No hesitation, no wondering what the league would do… Williams saw his guy go down hard, and he went after Smith for it. I love the leadership he showed at that point, and throughout the night.
  • Jefferson was a beast last night. A BEAST. 28 points (12/20), 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Wow. He had some tough shots too… fall away jumpers, double teams, and face-up jump shots over defenders. Jefferson also played hard on defense, had a key block against Anthony, and took a few nasty charges. Pretty cool to see.
  • It was great to watch the Jazz shoot well from the free throw line (17/18). Refreshing.
  • The players complemented each other. Don’t know if it was AK being out, CJ being on, or Evans being up, but they were feeling it together.
  • Tough night for Hayward. He was a foul away from everybody and had absolutely no shot. I mean, you have to give the guy a bit of a break since he was playing against Anthony, but he REALLY looked out of his league.
  • Speaking of Anthony, that was the quietest 31 points I’ve seen in a long time. I was pretty shocked when I saw the final box score. Melo seemed like he was getting blocked, or forced into a tough jumper every time down the floor.
  • Raja. Where have you been?

Great night… it feels like good things are on their way for the Jazz. Tonight’s another big test, and it’ll be interesting to see how the team responds to last night’s solid play.

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  1. Kevin Malphurs says:

    Completely agree with your points. It was one of the more satisfying wins all year. I will look past the fact that Hayward looked like a boy among men and focus on the positives. Jefferson was like you wrote “a beast.” It was great seeing his post offense and he even came up with a few key defensive plays. Williams did what he always does, which made a huge difference compared to the last four games. And then there is Evans. Wow. I mean he played only 11 minutes, but those were some meaningful 11 minutes. I love watching him run around the court, blocking shots and dunking the ball. It is almost like watching an NBA Jam player in a regular basketball game.

  2. Bobby Smith says:

    Hayward was set up to fail by Sloan. Sloan knew Hayward wouldn’t cut Anthony any slack. Sloan knows the ref bias toward rookies, so there was no way Hayward could come out on that one. None of the other Jazz got in Anthony’s face the way Hayward did. He challenged Anthony for position on the floor and got his hand right into the shot.

    Again Sloan knew what Hayward would do because Hayward is trying to please Sloan and Sloan harps on defense despite most of the Jazz players not doing much on defense.

    Hayward had been playing well and Sloan wanted to send him a message and frustrate him. Every time Sloan says anything nice about Hayward to the press, the next game or two Sloan sets him up.

    In the Rockets game Hayward was 4 for 4 and being aggressive on the offense. Sloan played him 5 minutes in the first quarter and 5 minutes in the 3rd quarter and that was it. That’s not starter minutes. Sloan left Hayward sitting while poorly playing Miles and Bell cost the Jazz a 1 point loss.

    There seems to be an agenda going on with Hayward and Sloan that’s hard to figure out. The last time Hayward started to produce consistently, Sloan did the same thing. He cut his playing time, put him in when he was likely to fail because of the time on the clock and generally set him back. Sloan allows Miles and other Jazz players to make the same mistakes constantly over and over with no penalty.

    Another thing that is interesting is when the plays with Watson at the point, he touches the ball more frequently in scoring position. When Williams is in, Hayward gets an occasional touch but generally out of scoring position so he has to pass, and he when he gets a touch, it’s only once in any offensive sequence. If the same strategy was used with other Jazz players, they wouldn’t be effective on offense.

    It’s got to be hard for Hayward to handle the jerking around he’s been getting from the refs and Sloan.

  3. Jeff Lind says:

    Great points Bobby. I’m a huge Hayward supporter, and it’s true that Sloan didn’t give him much opportunity to be successful. I can’t decide if he’s giving him an education in hard knocks to make him a better player, or if he’s just jerking him around. I’d like to think the former, but the more games I see like last night’s make me feel like it’s the latter.

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