Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wounded Jazz beat the Kings on the road

Hey all . . . posts have been slow lately as I try to a) re-organize and b) back up my work these past few weeks. [Not just blog stuff, but all my files] I'm almost all done, but don't worry, I'm still watching every game and taking down notes. December started off with a win for the Jazz on the road in the usually (just not this season) difficult to win in Arco Arena. The Kings aren't perfectly healthy right now, but it's not like they are missing two Olympians or anything like that. (For those keeping score at home, yes, Utah is in that situation right now)

Anyway, it was a close game much of the second half, with the Kings making it an 8 point game a few times. Spencer Hawes (14 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals) was a major catalyst for the Kings. Brad Miller (18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks) was out Memo-ing Memo with outside shots and their wings were working hard all game long. Kevin Martin played in his first game in a while, and came off the bench to punch in 33 minutes of action. He was having his way against our defense when out of desperation Sloan had to substitute in Morris Almond. Martin would still end up scoring 22 points, but most of that would come at the line (he was not sent there often by Morris), otherwise he had a forgettable 6-16 shooting night. Almond did well enough on defense -- fighting through screens and hounding his man without being called for fouls -- to earn some time on the court that normally would have gone to the starting wingmen.

Martin tries to bait a ref with this forward flop, but Almond was no where near [Photographed by Rocky Widner for NBAE / Getty Images]

Almond (who would end up playing all of the 4th quarter, most of it with fellow bench player Kyle Korver) finished the game with 12 points (5-9 shooting, 1-2 from three, 1-1 from the free throw line), 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist and 1 steal. It's very easy to conclude that this was his best game of the season, and perhaps his best game ever in the NBA. Good for him. He contributed to the Jazz win, and was instrumental on defense. So he gets mention here, even though this is not the official game recap.

Here Kevin Martin took a wild drive and propelled himself forward (attempted flop) late in the 4th quarter trying to force the ref to call a foul -- but Morris Almond moved out of the way so Martin ended up taking an awkward shot that missed badly.

I may appear to be an Almond sympathizer, in that I am unlike many other Jazz fans who are quite hostile and outright wishing that Almond does poorly.

Nov 29 2008 [Melissa Majchrzak NBAE Getty] Morris Almond isn't as bad as you want him to be

I like Morris, I think that he can be a solid pro. There's no playing time right now for him, but that doesn't mean that we should be rooting for him do play poorly. He's young, and apparently capable of working hard. I don't quite get why we should be automatically hostile towards this guy. No one said that he was NBA ready on defense when he was drafted -- he has a lot to work on. I just think that if given the chance he can do well. After all, this was his first game playing with Deron Williams, it's no surprise that Deron was able to find another guy who can finish a play on offense, and score the ball. It's pretty much what I said all along, when he's the only guy who can do anything, all of his faults are magnified -- when he's the 3rd or 4th option on a team, he can do some good things when he's being passed the ball where he can do something with it. (Seriously, I'd take getting passes from Deron Williams over passes from Kevin Kruger any day . . .) He's not a perfect player, and we can clearly see that he's incapable of making those Brewer type of passes, but if this last game is any indication, then he is making strides to improve. And he gets props for that from me.

Photographed by Melissa Majchrzak for NBAE / Getty Images