16 April 2008

That did not go well

Is it possible to get absolutely destroyed more effectively than Utah was tonight?

I believe it is not.

The Spurs jumped out to a 10-point lead in about three minutes and never looked back, leading by as many as 30 before settling on a 109-80 margin of victory.

San Antonio shot 74% in the first half and led by 26 after two. They cooled off substantially afterwards, and ended up shooting a pathetic 59% for the night, 50% from the 3-point line.

The Jazz's lack of interior defense has never been so apparent. Time after time Tony Parker or Tim Duncan got into the lane for uncontested layups or dunks. Okur and Boozer spent most of their time watching this parade into the Jazz paint.

What I wouldn't give for a Kurt Thomas or Samuel Dalembert.

Factor two in the loss: fast-break points. The Jazz made no effort to get back on defense, especially in the first quarter. San Antonio racked up 12 fast-break points in the first 12 minutes of play.

Factor three: the Spurs defense was stifling. Boozer was rendered completely irrelevant by Duncan. Booz knows he can't take Duncan to the hoop, so he was left with taking contested jump shot after contested jump shot. In 26 minutes Boozer was 3-8 from the field, though he did manage to pull down 10 rebounds, mostly when the game was well out of hand. Every time a Jazz player even looked like they were going to the basket, the San Antonio defense collapsed that was the end of that.

Looks like the Spurs still own Utah.

What is it about being at home that transforms the Jazz into an entirely different team? I know homecourt is a real advantage, but the way it seems to affect Utah is just ridiculous.

April 5 win over the Spurs in Salt Lake:

Jazz hold the Spurs to 36% shooting and only 64 points.

April 17 loss to Spurs in San Antonio:

The Spurs shoot 73% in the first half for 65 points, effectively ending the game at that point. They score 109 on the night.

April 5:

The Jazz make 10 3-pointers, shooting 52% from behind the arc. San Antonio makes only two 3-pointers, good for 16%.

April 17:

Spurs make eight 3-pointers, shooting 50% from behind the arc. The Jazz make only two 3-pointers, good for 16%

Such disparity. These are the same two teams, right? Right?

Part of me wonders if Utah intentionally threw the game. Maybe Sloan and Larry Miller realized there was no way the team would beat the Spurs in the playoffs, and chose to face Houston without the homecourt advantage instead.

But I can't believe that. Sloan's personality strikes me as such that he is incapable of tanking a game. Also, after the way they beat San Antonio in Salt Lake two weeks ago, the Spurs weren't looking as invincible as they usually do.

The silver lining to this horrendus loss: now the Jazz will play Houston in the first round instead of San Antonio. I want no part of the Spurs in the playoffs. Here's hoping Phoenix's move to get past them (trading for Shaq) pays off.

In conclusion: ugh. So much for going into the playoffs on a high note.

1 comment:

The Village of Randomity said...

I loved the part where Duncan drove the ball the length of the court and finally got hacked about 3 feet from the basket. Awesome D.