29 December 2010

Jazz at Clippers, second half

(See first half commentary here.)

1. I think Jefferson heard me in my last post. Immediately comes out and hits a nice jumper. Now has 14 points on 6-10 shooting.

2. Griffin passes well, too. Drove baseline, drew a defender and zipped it to a cutting Jordan, who was fouled. I think Blake is a better rookie than Karl Malone was. Complete package and just terrifying.

3. Hayward just hit a nice 3-pointer after missing his previous four shots. I dunno... still don't see him sticking in the league.

4. Griffin with another fantastic pass in the paint. If he's going to be an elite passer in addition to what he already is? He's going to destroy the league.

5. Hayward hits another 3. Nice, high, arcing shot. I am motivating Jazz players left and right.

6. Just had a discussion with my in-laws about when Griffin will start getting superstar calls. I say soon, as in this season.

7. Jefferson hits another pretty turnaround one-hander from the baseline. I'm going to badmouth him more often.

8. Eric Gordon hits from long range from the corner. Only shooting 33% from there on the season, but he's definitely a shooter. Clippers have nice pieces. Did I already say that?

9. Jazz just had about four shots in a row blocked inside. Interior defense is another good piece.

10. Deron for three from a foot or so behind the line. Need more of that from him. 36% from there on the season. Gotta pick it up a bit.

11. Another block, this time on Memo's shot. That's two the Turk has had sent back already. I like it when he drives, but too often that leads to him getting embarrassed. No hops.

12. Hayward hits another jumper to give the Jazz a 76-70 lead. Boy, is he terrible.

13. Clipper offense looking disorganized. Jazz took the lead and L.A. seemed to fall apart. Coaching? Vinny Del Negro doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

14. For as well as Fes played in the first half, he's yet to make an appearance in the second, and there's only 44 seconds left in the third quarter. Jefferson hits what is basically a set shot to give the Jazz a 79-70 lead.

15. Memo misses a three from the corner, hustles to get his own board and banks it off the glass with three seconds left in the quarter. Jazz up 11.

16. Blake with only three points in the third quarter, all from the free throw line.

17. Eric Bledoe for three. Another shooter for the Clippers. Jazz only up four, 81-77.

18. Ronnie Price sneaks in for an offensive board amongst the trees, and puts a missed Memo shot back in. Dang.

19. Blake with a nice block on an attempted Price layup, Hayward cleans it up for two more. The rookie with another three two plays later. Coming out party for Gordon? 15 points on 5-10 shooting so far.

20. Clippers settling for a lot of long-range shots right now. Jazz pulling away as Jefferson hits another shot. Utah up 13. Jefferson scores another, with harm, next time down the court. 26 points for Al to go with nine rebounds. Jazz 93-79.

21. Griffin trying to bring the Clippers back on his own. Don't think it's going to happen.

22. Baron for three, cuts the lead to nine with 5:22 left. Enough time?

23. Nope. Jefferson with another shot.

24. Griffin with a jaw-dropping spin move into a pretty push shot. Cannot guard him one-on-one.

25. Millsap and Griffin get tangled up on a rebound and earn a double technical. I think that was a bit of a hasty call from the ref. They were about to get up and run back down the court after exchanging a couple shots. Let it go.

26. Gordon feeling it, hits another jumper off a pass from Jefferson. Can he do this consistently? Or is this a Clippers thing?

27. Millsap with a fadeaway jumper on the baseline over Griffin to give him 12 points and 9 boards. Amazing when that kind of performance is kind of an afterthought. Jazz looking good.

28. Griffin almost gets his head stuck in the rim on an alley-oop from Baron. What more can you say?

29. Jazz up 99-90 with 2:00 to play. Since young T-Mac is not in the arena, I'd say the lead is safe.

30. Jefferson swallows up a Griffin inside shot, sends Blake to the ground. Ballgame.

31. Jefferson with the dagger. Hits a fadeaway in the paint for his 31st point to push the lead to 11, 103-92.

32. Griffin hits a three with 12 seconds left. Nice wrist flick, nothing ugly about that. Meaningless shot, but still.

Ho hum, yet another come-from-behind win for the Jazz. They love doing this, and it worries me. If the habit continues into the playoffs, watch for an early exit.

Deron finished with a fairly pedestrian 16 and 7 with five turnovers.

Jefferson with 31 and 10, 59% from the field and perfect from the line.

Fesenko never got back on the floor after halftime. Kind of a disappointment.

A good road win against a recently surging Clippers team. Nice way to come back from a disappointing loss to the Blazers in Salt Lake earlier this week.

Are these running commentary posts any fun? Let me know if you want to see more.

Jazz at Clippers, first half

Watching the Jazz play the Other L.A. team right now. Boy, I miss watching Jazz games. When I decided to go without cable a few months ago, I knew not having sports would be rough, but I figured I could get by with the NBA League Pass and random websites of questionable legality. Turns out the situation has been great except that I can't get Jazz games on the League Pass and finding games on the internets has been a lot harder than I thought it'd be.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on the game as I watch at my in-laws'.

1. Fesenko! I have loved his potential since I saw him in the Rocky Mountain Revue a couple years ago. His quickness is nuts for how big he is, but he's struggled a lot learning the game and harnessing his abilities. This season hasn't really been any different from most of his career (translation: he sits on the bench), but for some reason, Sloan decided to give him some play tonight and he's been awesome.

Perfect from the field on three shots, a super impressive block on Blake Griffin (we'll get to him in a bit) and he's adjusted a few other shots. I hope he can pull it together. He's been the key to beating the Lakers for the last few seasons, in my opinion.

2. Jefferson is a disappointment. I've been following box scores, and his 47% shooting is definitely a concern, but I hadn't been able to see how tentative he is until tonight. He takes too long in the post and relies too heavily on his little jump hook. I thought coming to Utah and playing with an actual point guard would help his game, but he's recessed. And as I typed that, he hit his third shot in a row. Hmm.

3. Blake Griffin in a beast. I know, he's the worst-kept secret in the NBA right now, but holy moley. Big, strong, quick, fearless and can jump out of the gym. He reminds me of Dwight Howard with much better footwork and understanding of how to score. He's a special, special player. Scoring 21 and pulling down 12 a game in what is essentially his rookie season? He'll be a great one for years to come.

4. And then there's DeAndre Jordan. Another guy on the Clips who can sky and throw it down. He just caught a lob from Baron Davis about a foot above the rim, two feet out and jammed it home with two hands.

5. Al-Farouq Aminu hit three shots in a row from deep at one point. Maybe after the first one, Jazz defenders, you should cover him a little more closely, eh? But not, the next two shots were completely uncontested. Shooting 46% from 3 in his first season. Do some homework, Utah.

6. Memo looked good in limited minutes in the first half. Wish he could play halfway decent defense, but it is not to be. I'm reading Bill Simmons' Book of Basketball right now, and he makes it a big point to discuss a player's impact on the defensive end when evaluating their impact on the league. Okur needs to be a 25+ points per game scorer to really make me feel like he's making up for his complete lack of effort on the other side of the floor.

7. Deron didn't seem very involved in the first half. But after checking the box score, he's got 10 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Maybe my expectations are too high.

8 The Clippers have some good pieces. If old man Baron Davis can play well, this is a potentially scary team down the road, if not this season.

Other random thoughts as I wait for the second half to begin.

-Watching the Lakers self-destruct against the Spurs last night was very fun to watch. Call me a hater, but every time Kobe goes into "I am awesome" mode, shoots 30 times, misses 22 of them and the Lakers lose badly it makes me happy.

-Boozer playing well for the Bulls. Paired with a good-to-great defensive center in Noah, that's a fantastic situation for him.

Second half comments next.

17 December 2010

Multi-topic post for the week

This week has been insane. And the craziness is not over yet. Long story short, my family has two weddings and a funeral, as well as Christmas, over the next two weeks.

So here are my thoughts on a variety of topics.

1. I care very, very little about BYU's bowl game tomorrow. I can't even tell you the name of it off the top of my head, though I do know they're playing UTEP and the game will be held in Albuquerque. How will Heaps look? That's pretty much all I care about.

2. The Obama Tax Compromise Bill (or whatever it's called) passed. Far as I can tell, lots of conservatives are mad, and lots of liberals are mad. In my opinion, that means it must be fairly good.

3. Seems those interested in running for president from the right wing in 2012 are starting to poke around. If the Republicans nominate Palin, I am done with them forever. In all honesty, no one I've seen interests me much at all. Maybe someone will come out of nowhere like Obama did in 2006.

4. The Heat are starting to figure things out. I knew their less-than-stellar start was no indication they'd fail all season. Mike Miller's return will be huge.

5. I was feeling great about the Jazz until tonight, when they got blitzed by 30 points in New Orleans. Outside shooting is definitely a concern, as CJ Miles is inconsistent, Raja is consistently mediocre (36% from downtown this season) and Hayward is not an NBA player. Another area of concern is that Al Jefferson is shooting 46% on the season when his career FG% is 50%. I hope he figures out what's wrong soon.

6. BYU basketball is fun to watch. I've caught a few games already this season, and their defense is absolutely stifling. I'd hate playing against these guys... there's just no room to do anything. Against Hawaii, the Warriors resorted to driving wildly into the lane and throwing the ball at the hoop as soon as any contact was made. That was their entire offense for minutes at a time. Jimmer is a stud.

No promises I'll be able to blog any more this week, or next week, for that matter. This might have to be a "see you after New Year's" kinda thing. I'll keep you updated.

11 December 2010

Ugly choke job followed by more choking

I know this is late, but gack the loss two weeks ago got to me.

Could BYU have done any more to give away that game?

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Cougars led 13-0, Utah's offense couldn't do anything and while the lead felt tenuous, it would take a lot of work for the Utes to come out ahead in the end.

Which they did.

The reasons why have been hashed out by many writers by now, and I can't shake the feeling that the Cougars put a bow on this game and gifted it to the Utes. A shanked punt goes off a BYU special teams player. As a BYU corner is being tackled after an interception, then having the ball ripped out somewhere in there and turning it over.

And then topping it all off by completely failing to block a Ute coming off the edge on the potentially game-winning field goal.

Just overall a gross way to lose.

The silver lining is that Jake Heaps' performance was better than any of Max Hall's three career games against Utah. The final drive where he was left with third and long more than once and made a play anyway was very encouraging.

A lot has been said for Anae's play calling, and while I'm not entirely convinced he's terrible, he does have some pretty predictable tendencies. Running it up the gut when you're down one with time running out and deep in your own territory is never smart.

Regardless, we put another chapter in the amazing story of BYU vs. Utah in the books. Here's hoping it can continue even with Utah in the PAC-Whatever and BYU independent in football.

Our winner for the 2010 Guess the Holy War Score 2010 Extravaganza was Steven, who submitted a score of 24-17, BYU. He got Utah's score exactly correct, and was just a touchdown and a two-point conversion away from getting BYU's. His guess that Heaps would pass for 200 yards was also darn close to Jake's actual stat of 228 yards.

So the Amazon.com gift card is his, and has been sent. Congrats!

I'll get back onto the blogging horse pretty soon. Expect a few rants on the NBA, politics and the weather over the next week or so.