Sunday, November 9, 2008

Game 5 Recap: Utah 104, Oklahoma City 97

Game at a Glance:

The Jazz win despite repeatedly not taking the Thunder for real. The Jazz did not think much of the Thunder to start the game, and Jerry Sloan had to call a time out in the 1st quarter with the score 0 - 8 in favor of the road team. The Jazz plowed their way to a 58 - 29 half time lead (a 20+ - 2 run after that time out). After the half the Jazz started to turn the ball over and miss foul shots -- eventually the Thunder got back in it; then the Jazz finished them off. The game was not as close as the score indicated, it's quite easy to beat a team when only four guys show up (Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Desmond Mason and Earl Watson) -- and those guys were hardly impact players. Jerry Sloan won his 1000th game with the Utah Jazz franchise, apparently, that's kind of a big thing.

[ Yahoo! Game Recap --'s boxscore --'s game highlights -- NBA TV Post-Game Interview with Jerry Sloan ]

Jazz Quartet -- Top Four Players of the Game:

Andrei Kirilenko Brevin Knight Carlos Boozer Kyle Korver
AK continues to do everything for the Jazz Brevin Knight had 11 assists off the bench and was a ballhawk on defense as usual Boozer had his dunks, but was also looking to pass tonight Kyle Korver can dunk
Photographed by Melissa Majchrzak for NBAE/Getty Photographed by Melissa Majchrzak for NBAE/Getty Photographed by Melissa Majchrzak for NBAE/Getty Photographed by Melissa Majchrzak for NBAE/Getty

AK had a double double (16 and 12) tonight and added 2 assists and 2 blocks. He would have had more assists but Paul Millsap mishandled some easy ones. In my opinion he kind of started to 'force' things on offense after Desmond Mason started to score on the other end of the court -- with varied rates of success.

Brev' continues his solid play off the bench, he had 11 assists in 28 minutes of action last night. His jumper was off (1-4), but he made his free throws. He added 3 steals and had some really good outlet pass/assists to guys who were streaking. (Not in that Will Ferrell / Old School type of way though)

Carlos gets robbed of a double double for the nth game in a row, finishing with 21, 9, 5 assists and a steal and block each. He seems to really feast on bad teams, and continues to do so this season. He was looking to pass more and was robbed of a few assists because of the long arm deflections of the Thunder.

Kyle Korver had a game fit for his name. He shot 5-7 from the floor, and would have gone 4-5 from three on top of his made three had the threes not been negated by mental mistakes like guys getting caught for three in the key. He ended up with 13 points (5-7, 1-2, 2-3), 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal off the bench.

Hon. Mention: This could be renamed the "Ronnie Brewer Award" if this keeps up. Ronnie gets just edged out by Korver tonight. Brewer had 2 more assists, but Korver had 2 more points while shooting 4 less times. Kyle also had a steal, and Brewer did not. Also, Korver had 3 other three pointers robbed from him tonight because of Millsap fouls or turn overs. (Three in the key, etc) When Deron comes back expect Ronnie to be in the Jazz Quartet quite a bit as the season goes on . . . but if Ronnie keeps getting edged out, I may retroactively change it to Jazz Quintet. (something I wouldn't want to do)

Digging Deeper:

This game was not close, what kept it close was a combination of the Thunder's lack of respect for the unsaid rules (scoring the ball on what should have been the last possession of the game, etc), their tenacity in the passing lanes (they got a lot of deflections and 10 steals), and their never say die attitude. They were down big at half, but stormed back to cut it to 15 going into the 4th quarter. The game did not look close, but the Thunder never gave up. So they get props from me. Early on it looked like our benchwarmers (Morris Almond, Kyrylo Fesenko and Kosta Koufos) may get some extended burn in this game, but they did not even get off the bench.

Kevin Durant only really scored on open jumpers . . . methinks that he's going to fit that Rashard Lewis mold in a few years if he doesn't diversify his game. He did have this nasty cross over that planted CJ on his butt, as Durant threw it down. Durant's team mates Desmond Mason and Earl Watson started cookin' in the 3rd quarter, when their team made their run, but the Jazz just got a lot of easy buckets down the stretch.

The Jazz did miss 10 free throws in the game, and were very sloppy in the 2nd half. Carlos Boozer had 6 turn overs and Paul Millsap had 5. A 16 rebound to 11 turn over ratio from your power forwards isn't going to get it done against teams with better bigs. (No disrespect intended to Johan Petro and Nick Collison, starters who ended the game with 8 points and 8 rebounds combined for Oklahoma City.)

Winning 5 games in a row is pretty special, starting the season undefeated is also pretty special -- doing both with our best player out is really special. Sloan has been going 9 deep all season long, and our bench has been producing: 42 points, 25 rebounds, 15 assists, 6 steals and 3 blocks last night. That's a key component of how the Jazz have been winning games. Credit goes to Jerry Sloan for picking up the 1k wins in SLC. He has to be doing something right to win all those games -- it's not like he just had Jordan, Shaq and Kobe get him all those wins.

Next Game: Friday November 9th, 2008 -- Utah Jazz @ New York Knicks [3:00 PM EST]