08 April 2008

Jazz looking okay

For better or for worse, Chris Paul and Deron Williams will be compared for the rest of eternity.

Ever since the Jazz took Paul over Deron in the 2005 draft, when Paul was widely considered the better of the two, Deron's had to prove Utah didn't make a huge mistake.

In their first two seasons, neither had much of an edge. Deron broke out a bit later, but he was on the bench most of his first season, unlike Paul, who was starting almost from day one.

Last year, Deron led his team to the Western Conference Finals, while Paul sat at home. Deron's dominance in the playoffs persuaded many that he had gained an advantage over Paul. However, this year, Paul's been absolutely brilliant this season, leading New Orleans to the best record in the West, while averaging 21 points, 12 assists, and almost three steals a game.

Deron's doing well, averaging 19, 10 and a steal a game, while shooting better than Paul, 51% to 49%. But the Jazz are losing to bad teams and have only the 5th best record in the West, which means he doesn't get MVP talk like Paul does. And rightly so.

But head-to-head, Deron is looking very good against CP3.

Tonight's game against the Hornets in New Orleans was big. I was concerned that the Jazz would drop another one on the road.

But once again, Deron's Jazz got the best of Paul's Hornets. Neither Deron nor Paul shot well, as each shot 2-11 from the field for an impressive four points apiece. Deron, however, dished out 16 assists, while Paul recorded 9.

It was an ugly, low-scoring affair, but as a Jazz fan, I'll take the 77-66 win.

Deron is now 8-2 against Paul in his career.

For the first time in Jazz history, Utah held two consecutive opponents under 70 points, and did it on the road. The Jazz beat San Antonio last Saturday, 90-64.

General consensus is that if the Jazz want homecourt advantage in the playoffs, they need to perform very well over the last six games of the season, starting with the San Antonio game. So far, so good.

The Jazz play @Dallas, Denver, Houston, and @San Antonio again to round out the 82-game season. Normally, this schedule would be cause for concern, but this version of the Jazz I'm not too worried. These guys love dropping games against the Knicks, Heat, and Timberwolves of the world.

The most frustrating thing is that if Utah had just beated the above (horrible) teams, they'd be sitting in first place in the West with 60 wins.

Seriously, what team does that? Who plays poorly against poor teams and great against great teams?

But in the long run, I'd rather have the Jazz play to the level of their competition. That means they'll show up against the Rockets, Suns, or Lakers of the league in the playoffs. And that means another impressive run in May and (maybe) into June.


The Village of Randomity said...

I believe you meant "beaten" the aforementioned teams but I agree with you, this means they will come to play against everyone that they play against in the playoffs.

Filbert Karo said...

That game was really low scoring