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The Jazz Rocky Mountain Review squad won these last two games coming from behind both times. Is this because the starters for the Jazz are that much worse than the other guys? I don't really know. The Iran game was filled with a very great, festive atmosphere that is more akin to other International sporting events than a summer league game. I was surprised at the strong showing by Iranian fans, and had no clue that there were so many Persians in Utah . . . then again, they are pretty much an invisible minority.
Their national team really brought it strong early, and had hot shooting to thank for. They were much quicker than the Jazz and their starting center (Hamed Ehadadi) was straight up 'housing' anyone that defended him. Eventually Fesenko got fed up and had to start blocking his shot. Thankfully he was not a major concern for the Jazz in the 2nd half as Morris Almond injured him in the 2nd quarter. USA! USA! USA!
The game was a celebration of sport, and the Jazz fans (usually called mean names by players of other teams) were very classy and the Iranians threw roses into the crowd after the game. Somewhere dark and evil, David Stern smiled -- the seeds for a globalized NBA were being planted that evening in Utah.
As for the other game, the game last night vs. the New Jersey Nets was very entertaining -- but mostly for basketball reasons. Early on Jaycee Carroll (who has some Utah roots) was playing like Leon in Above the Rim, just shooting everything and being unstoppable. Thankfully, Carroll has no defense to speak of, and when it counted our guards Tyrone Brazelton and Morris Almond were just too much for the one man show. The Jazz were down by 14 but scraped their way back and won it thanks to the stellar play of Brazelton, Rickey Paulding and others. The Nets have a lot of talent on their squad (at least on paper), but Brook Lopez (#10 draft pick, 2008), Sean Williams (#17 draft pick, 2007), Chris Douglas-Roberts (1st rounder on some mock drafts, 2008) and crew did not do much.
The game was tight in the 4th quarter, and the Jazz were able to pull it out, winning by 8.
W5 (5 factors that influenced the two wins):
- Who: Morris Almond -- he has been the only guy on the team that has shown that he has a solid future as an NBA player, this may be his last off-season playing Summer League
- What: Game of Destiny -- the Game of Destiny is basically the best a player will ever play, it's a single game that vastly outstrips their true playing ability. It's a maximal score, and not a typical one . . . it's a Game of Destiny. Kevin Lyde had one against Iran (6 pts, 14 rbs, 2 ast., 1 stl.), and Tyrone Brazelton had one against the Nets (16 pts, 7-9 shooting, 4 ast., 1 stl. -- all the money baskets down the stretch going 1 vs. 5)
- Where: The Paint -- over the last two games the Jazz have gone for 34 and 32 points here, and that accounts for 40% of the scoring. Is this a high number or a low number? It's the largest slice of the pie (FT is 25% of our points the last two games, and 35% have been points outside of the paint), and as a result, the only place this team is consistently scoring in.
- Why: The Playbook -- The coaches Ty Corbin and Scott Layden are reading directly from the script that Jerry Sloan, Phil Johnson and the rest of the Jazz Brass hand down to them. Every play attempts to dump the ball inside and go from there. This has been effective with Fess (1st play or so of the game he backed in on Lopez and scored on him), but less so with other guys. The desire is to get points in the paint, and not take jumpers. Part of this is the playbook, the other part is the talent level. This isn't a RMR team that includes Deron Williams, CJ Miles and other shooters . . . the only real NBA player right now is Almond, and his 17 ppg cannot off set the fact that no one else is really an outside threat. (Save, perhaps, Korolev or Paulding)
- How: Bench Play -- 13 guys have played in at least 3 games (out of 4 so far) for the Jazz, and they continue to go deep into the bench every game. This makes some guys have less than stellar stats, but the talent level drop off does not appear to be so huge -- and when the other team's bench comes into the game against ours, the Jazz bench goes on a run or two. If it was not for them, the Jazz would be 0 - 4 right now.
Here is the official boxscore for the game vs. Iran, the game vs. the Nets, and the combined stats for the first four games (scroll to the last page on these sheets for the most updated info on the Jazz). I want to talk about the stats in a later post, so I won't get too into it. Quickly though, in the last two games: Almond has 34 points and 0 assists; Fesenko has 5 combined blocks and steals in 30 mins of action; Kosta has gone 5 - 15 and continues to get lauded in the press for his solid play. He's 19, sure, but he's also trying to play in the NBA. Let's not bring age into it and talk performance.
What's next? The Atlanta Hawks, RMR Gm. 4 on Thursday!