Monday, November 3, 2008

Game 2 Recap: Utah 101, LA Clippers 79; Game 3 Preview: Utah @ LA Clippers

Game at a Glance:

Things did not go so well for Jason Hart and the LA Clippers last game . . . they were really tired, having played in an overtime game the night before, and while they held it together for one solid half of basketball (tied at halftime 48 all), they got rolled in the 2nd half by a Jazz team that ended up setting a franchise record for fewest turn overs -- ever.

Jazz Quartet -- Top Four Players of the Game:

Andrei Kirilenko Ronnie Brewer Brevin Knight Carlos Boozer
AK continues to play amazingly Brewer may be a MIP candidate, without actually showing a great improvmenet in MPG Knight was instrumental in the 3rd Boozer is in a class all by himself so far this season
11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals off the bench in 31 minutes of action. 16 points (6-10 shooting, 5 FTA), added 3 rebounds, 2 steals and a block in 26 mins. 8 points (4-6), 6 assists and 1 steal with zero turn overs and keyed the 3rd quarter run. Another 25 and 10 game, shot 12-18 from the field and added 3 assists in 31 minutes. 

Digging Deeper:

Obviously the game would have been much more different had Baron Davis and Deron Williams actually played . . . but instead we had the Cuttino Mobley (20 points, 3 rebounds) and Tim Thomas (16 points, 7 rebounds) express vs. the Ronnie Brewer (16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) and Carlos Boozer (25 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists) show. It was not too hard to figure out which side won based on those stats. Even the Jason Hart/Brevin Knight under card was very one-sided: Hart started the game but did not finish, and had a grand total of 2 points (1-4 fg), 2 assists, and 1 rebound. Knight came off the bench and had 8 points (4-6 fg), 6 assists and a steal.

Taylor is making Hart the 3rd string guy for the 4th year in a row

The big surprise was Mike Taylor, a rookie PG for the Clippers who ended up playing 33 minutes and finished with 13 points and 4 assists. On TV it looked like he was a giant compared to Brevin Knight, and his long arms and quick first step were a major component of his success against the Jazz on Saturday night.

A second, smaller surprise was that in garbage time Jazz fans got to see Morris Almond, Kyrylo Fesenko and Kosta Koufos all play at the same time in an NBA game -- which may be an event that may never happen again...

Almond looked good with his shooting stroke; Koufos looked like a rookie who was immediately attacked on offense and defense by Kaman, who scored on him and blocked his shot; Fesenko did much more in less time than Koufos, getting a steal, a rebound and a nice dunk.

Before we pat ourselves on the back for winning another game without Deron Williams (and Jerry Sloan, Matt Harpring and Jarron Collins) let's point to the fact that this was a Clippers team that doesn't know each other, whose best players are injured and played an overtime game the night before. Also we were at home . . . where we seem to play pretty well at.

Game 3 Preview:

We get the other end of the home and home series tonight with a game in LA this time around. I do not know the status of Davis and Camby, aside from that they are listed as Day-to-Day. Having one of those two back, in addition to playing at home, may be just enough to push the Clippers over the top. The close proximity of these two games only compounds the problems the Clippers displayed on Saturday -- they may go absolutely nuts on defense trying to pressure the ball tonight. Heck, even their coach hinted at it:

"We let them be too relaxed with the basketball and they made some easy plays," (LA Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy, 2008 via ESPN.COM)

On the flipside, Brevin Knight sites the running game as the primary reason why a) it was easy for him to play well, and b) the lack of defensive pressure. (If you run, then the other team can't dig in on defense)

"If we can stay up-tempo it makes it a lot easier for me, and in the half-court the Coaches are doing a great job keeping me in plays that I know pretty well, and the guys are really working with me and hanging in with me." (Brevin Knight, 2008 via 1320 KFAN.COM)

If you combine the two you pretty much spell disaster a game that should have a lot more turn overs in it than 24 total. These are the types of road games that good teams win though . . . and with Boozer averaging 25 and 10, Memo averaging a double double, Ronnie Brewer scoring 16 ppg off of 58 fg% and Andrei coming off the bench to average 14 ppg, 8 rpg, 4 apg, 3 bpg and 2 spg the Jazz should win -- regardless of where the game is being played.

The game is tonight @ 10:30 pm EST time in LA -- for those that care. Go Jazz Go!