Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Game 3 Recap: Utah 89, LA Clippers 73

Game at a Glance:

The LA Clippers return home and return two star players to the active roster (Baron Davis and Marcus Camby) and hang tight for three quarters, only to allow Paul Millsap to outwork guys 4 inches taller than him and dominate the paint (he scored 15 points in a row for the Jazz in the 4th) while Carlos Boozer cheers from the bench. The Clippers went 9-20 from the free throw line while the Jazz made up for going 0-10 from three by going 25-31 from the line (despite Korver and Okur having 0-2 sequences from there early on). Jason Hart had a DNP-CD in Revenge Game #2.

Jazz Quartet -- Top Four Players of the Game:

Andrei Kirilenko Paul Millsap Mehmet Okur Carlos Boozer
AK was active on offense Hard work is often rewarded Memo got it going in the 2nd half Carlos with the quick spin to get free for two
Photographed by Andrew D. Bernstein for NBAE/Getty Images Photographed by Stephen Dunn for NBAE/Getty Images Photographed by Noah Graham NBAE/Getty Images Photographed by Stephen Dunn for NBAE/Getty Images
He locked down both Thornton & Mobley in the 2nd half *and* got a double double (15 points, 11 boards, 2 assists and 4 steals). Scored 15 points and grabbed 5 board in a row in the 4th quarter to finish with 24 and 9. Added 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. He let Andrei get a lot of his rebounds, and still has yet to hit a three; but his outside shot is getting better and scored 16 points (5/10 fg, 9 fta) Boozer didn't dominate, and did not have to. In less than 30 mins he got 13 points (6/10) and had 8 boards.

Digging Deeper:

Two new guys but still another loss for LAC The Utah Jazz can finally say that they've beaten a team at full strength -- even if it was the first time Baron Davis and Marcus Camby actually played with each other. [I'm completely avoiding the easy dig at the Clippers and questioning how much of a 'team' they really are if all they do is isolate a wing and have him go one on one all night long.] Through the first three quarters this game was a pain to watch. The first quarter featured an overmatched C.J. Miles being absolutely torched by Al Thornton. The sophomore took it to the 4th year player and scored three times on Ceejay in the first 2 minutes of the game. I don't want to be a dick here, well, maybe I do a little, but Morris Almond can get scored on just as easily . . . for those keeping score at home, Almond has played a little over 4 minutes this season and is shooting 67 fg%, and scored 5 points. CJ has played 44 minutes and shooting 33 fg% and scored 10 points. CJ also has one steal, 4 assists and 7 rebounds more than Almond . . . but he's played 11 times more minutes . . . I think Almond could pick up a steal and 4 assists in 40 minutes of action with the starters.

After Andrei came in the game Thornton only scored twice more the rest of the night. Mike Taylor got the start tonight for the Clippers while Jason Hart (who is having a hard time with the whole revenge game concept) got a DNP-CD. Baron Davis made an immediate impact in the game by hitting a three and pulling off one of those difficult DR.J flying out of bounds under the basket moves [see the move at 0:25 in this video if you don't know what I'm describing] that resulted in a nice pass to a cutting Camby. The Jazz starting guards were tepid in this game -- and made half of all their made field goals (2) in this quarter. The quarter ended 20-16 in favor of the home team.

Kirilenko is really taking command of this 2nd unit (that features Knight, Korver, Andrei (usually at the 2 on defense), Millsap and tonight Okur), and he is using his quicks to post up smaller guys and execute his patented alley-oop post up 180 layups while being fouled. Speaking of quicks, Millsap was using his face up / floor game to make some crazy layups and shots. You may remember that I suggested that Paul should use his speed and quickness more on offense . . . and he did tonight!

Utah's perimeter game hasn't been clicking (still looking for that first Money shot from Memo), and if the Jazz want to start beating good teams (instead of beating down on bad teams) then the offense needs to pick it up. What really saved us was our foul shooting (and the Clips bad luck there), you may also remember that we only beat the nuggets because of our foul shooting. So -- honestly -- we could be 1-2 right now if it wasn't for our luck at the stripe.

It's easy to fall in love with our defensive stats, but we've played some really bad teams,so there is no big secret WHY we've held teams to 82 ppg. It's because we played the Clippers twice and Denver without 'Melo. If we can keep teams under 90 after our brutal Eastern trip later this month then I'll be happily surprised. Almost as surprised as I was to see Korver miss two free throws in a row like he did right after hitting three in a row early on in this game. Korver did manage to net 7 points, grab 5 boards and steal the ball 3 times . . . had he made a few of this threes he easily would have been part of the Jazz Quartet up there.

Next Game: Wednesday November 5th, 2008 -- Portland @ Utah, 9:00 pm.