Grades by Jackson Rudd
First of all, our heartfelt condolences to Amare Stoudemire, who was away from the team grieving the death of his brother.
On the basketball court, it was a very frustrating game to watch. Once again unknown bench players had career games. This time it was Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak. Still, the Jazz only one more guy needed to step up and they would have been right back in the thick of things. Raja had his moment, but beyond that, no one was capable of carrying the team for a little run. Usually that would have been Earl Watson or Paul Millsap, but Earl’s ankle was obviously giving him problems and Paul Millsap was struggling through double teams all night.
It’s probably no surprise that the Jazz played poorly in New York. I’m sure everybody got invites to big Super Bowl parties plus the Ewing Theory was in full effect with the absence of Amare and the early exit of Carmelo Anthony.
|Paul Millsap, PF 29 MIN | 3-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | 0
Paul was getting a lot of respect from the Knicks, who had obviously made him first priority when prepping to defend the Jazz, but he didn’t offer much in the way of retaliation. Even with his bounty of offensive rebounds, he wasn’t able to convert and coughed up the ball down low several times. Committing five turnovers, shooting 30% from the field and fouling out is not exactly the kind of game we want NBA coaches to be looking at when they pick the All-Star reserves.
|Gordon Hayward, SG 34 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 14 PTS | 0
His line (14-4-4) was pretty solid but he could have been a difference-maker defensively and missed a couple of closeouts on Steve Novak’s barrage of 3-pointers that led to very unneeded losses of momentum. He was in active mode, though, and that’s a good sign. It’s easy to tell when Hayward is feeling good because of the way he moves without the ball.
|Al Jefferson, C 36 MIN | 9-20 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 22 PTS | +7
This was such a classic good stats/bad team game from Big Al. 22 points on 20 shots, no paint presence on defense, and not a lot of hustle on the boards. Still good to see him passing relatively well, but in games like this he doesn’t actually stimulate the offense. He just relieves it for stretches of isolated post moves.
|Raja Bell, SG 33 MIN | 4-7 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | +2
Raja provided efficient scoring, was responsible for none of the 20 Jazz turnovers, and hit back-to-back threes toward the end of the 3rd quarter to give the Jazz their best shot of the night. The game could have taken a much different turn if he was able to get the ball earlier in transition to get a chance at another 3 after he had made the previous two.
|Devin Harris, PG 30 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 9 PTS | 0
4 for 6 shooting is nice, but the Jazz really need more than 4 assists against 3 turnovers to get the half court sets heading in the right direction. It’s good to see that he is being so careful with his shot selection, but you can’t overstate what a big factor confidence (or lack thereof) is with him right now. After watching him hesitate for two full seconds before taking an open 3, it’s impossible to describe Harris’ current playing style without using the term ‘hesitance’ frequently.
|Earl Watson, PG 18 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -11
No points and no assists? I thought that strange ankle laser solved all of his problems? Kevin O’Connor to-do list: hire that LA doctor to make a portable variation Earl could use before each game. This was not the Earl Watson Jazz fans have been going crazy about.
|Josh Howard, SF 15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -13
It’s difficult to imagine someone approaching NBA games with more casualness than Josh Howard. When he is playing well, his laid-back playing style comes across as endearing, but when he’s dribbling off his own foot and taking 20-footers with 16 seconds left on the shot clock, it’s significantly less so.
|C.J. Miles, SF 14 MIN | 3-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS | -11
He made some impressive shots, but his shot selection was such that most of his shots would have had to be impressive to get in the hole. While no one on the Jazz is about to get high marks for defense after letting Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak (who are not the co-founders of a software company, as their names might suggest) put up 47 points from the field on 17-27 shooting, C.J still doesn’t seem to have any consistent feel for how refs call the game at the NBA level even in his 6th season.
|Derrick Favors, FC 19 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -11
As David Locke noted, Favors was struggling to score over 6’5″ and 6’6″ defenders. It didn’t help that he was settling for 10-footers instead of going to his increasingly effective post-move repertoire.
|Enes Kanter, F 12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -18
Possibly the worst game of his young career. Maybe it was the lights in New York, maybe he came down with something viral, or maybe it just wasn’t his day. Narrowly avoids the dreaded F by keeping it together with some decent help-side defense.