15 April 2008

Step One, complete

It wasn't pretty, but the Jazz beat Houston last night, 105-96.

Houston started the game shooting 1-8, and the Jazz weren't doing that much better. It appeared the teams were on their way to a classic 74-82 game from 1998, heyday of the Knicks and Pistons grab-them-if-you-can't-stop-them defense.

In fact, it never seemed that either team really got on track, but at halftime, the Jazz somehow had 56 points. Some of that probably had to do with the balanced scoring Utah got. Six players scored in double figures, and Millsap had nine points.

The Jazz also shot three for 16 from the 3-point line.

Oh, and they ended up holding their seventh-straight opponent to 100 points or lower.

So a win's a win. And now, with a victory in San Antonio tomorrow night (Step Two), the Jazz can secure the three seed in the playoffs and earn homecourt advantage in the first round, which would most likely be against the Spurs.

Oh, and Utah hasn't won in San Antonio since Feb. 28, 1999. That was so long ago NBA.com doesn't have a record of the game.

In 1999? John and Karl were still going strong.

Olden Polynice started 79 games.

Adam Keefe was Sloan's garbage guy.

Howard Eisley was the backup point guard.

Not one of the players on that roster is on the Jazz today.

Deron Williams is 0-6 in his career in San Antonio. Boozer has never won there, even when he was playing for the Cavs. Suffice it to say there's a bit of a mental block for these guys when it comes to winning in Alamo City.

Now, the Spurs aren't getting any younger (Duncan 10 seasons, Brent Barry 12 seasons, Bowen 11, Finley 12, Horry 15, Damon Stoudamire 12, Kurt Thomas 12, Jacque Vaughn 10). San Antonio also has to deal with Sixth Man of the Year Manu Ginobili's groin injury, which kept him from playing against the Kings last night. If he's out tomorrow, that gives the Jazz a big advantage.

The Spurs are not invincible.

Winning on Wednesday, even against an injured and possibly resting Spurs team, will give the Jazz a solid boost going into the playoffs. I like the idea of breaking the losing streak on the last day of the season.

It's a tough road to the Finals in the West, but I think the Jazz can get there. Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap are playing very well, and with the addition of Kyle Korver, this team is a lot better than the 2007 playoffs version.

Not to mention how Derek Fisher's move to L.A. was addition by subtraction.

This Jazz team is deep. Deron will dominate in the postseason again. Booz and Okur will score, and if they can play defense like they did against Houston last season in the first round, good things will happen.

I can't wait.


The Village of Randomity said...

All I have to say is, "Go Jazz go." Hopefully that will be enough to motivate them to do amazing in the playoffs.

The Village of Randomity said...

Oh and I like the picture of the battle between Brian Grant and Olden Polynice. Classic.