OK, I know we made something of a comeback and all, but forgive me if I don't have very many good things to say about this game. For about two-and-a-half quarters it was easily the worst effort of the season.
Jazz 96, Blazers 86
--The main culprit tonight was the horrible, HORRIBLE defense. They burned us inside. They burned us outside. They burned us off motion. They burned us one-on-one. They burned us in the halfcourt. They burned us in transition. Seriously, with a little rhyming we could make the Blazer version of Green Eggs and Ham:
We could not stop their pick and roll.
We could not stop a single soul.
Deep in the paint or from the arc
they would not, could not, miss the mark.
Long story short, everybody was equally culpable for letting the Jazz fire at a near-51% clip.
--You knew they were going to outrebound us, but they pasted us good. If not for that late run we might have gone down by 20 boards.
--Although we ended up shooting a respectable 46% from the field it was fool's gold. A lot of it happened after the game was all but decided. We tried to slow the game down but all we ended up doing many trips was shooting with 1-3 seconds left on the clock. And you know what kind of shots those were.
--Shooting 52% from the line didn't help.
--Once again it becomes apparent that we're lacking in the athleticism department. Not only were Boozer and Kirilenko tearing us new ones by bumping us around like pinballs, the entire Jazz squad was beating us down the court. Some of that may be effort, but some of that is because, although skilled, we're not quick at very many positions. And you know what? Soft and slow may be a good strategy for making your moves on a first date, but it's hard to win basketball games that way.
--Both Zach Randolph and Brandon Roy had good individual games, with Zach's particularly standing out statistically. It may be the best overall statistical game he's played all year. You knew after taking only 10 shots all last game he was going to get 10 up in the first quarter and he darn near did. Nevertheless it's hard to get excited about that kind of thing when the overall effort and results were so poor. And both Zach and Brandon had their share of poor moments on the other end of the floor.
--Speaking of bad moments on the other end, Jarrett Jack and Travis Outlaw were pretty brutal on defense again. You have to give those boys credit...when they blow a defensive assignment they blow it BIG.
--Nobody else had a game you'd want to mention. Part of that was their poor performance. Part of it was that it was just Zach's night to dominate the ball. Either way, it probably wouldn't have mattered.
--A little praise is warranted at least for being feisty enough to put up a fight.
--Carlos Boozer did a pretty credible defensive job on Zach at first. Then Zach started going inside and then he caught on fire and it was all done. Still, I liked Boozer's game and I'm impressed by the way he's developed.
--I can't see Andre Kirilenko now without thinking of his bargain with his wife. Sad...