Well, the Utah Jazz have done it again! They have been on a roll lately, as they have won 6 straight games, and 8 in a row at EnergySolutions Arena. Utah is getting contributions from just about everybody on the team, and they can get a fantastic performance out of anyone on any given night.
One guy who is really high on my list right now is Andrei Kirilenko, especially when Utah plays on their home court. He always seems to come up with a momentum-shifting play that truly changes the course of the game, and that usually gets the home crowd loud and involved. Once that happens, the opposition can pretty much pack things up. My favorite play, of course, is the patented “Kirilenko steal and score,” which I am starting to see at least once a game. In tonight’s version of the play, AK got fouled as he made the layup, which really had the crowd buzzing.
Following that play, Wesley Matthews had a fast-break “And 1″ of his own that put some great separation between the Jazz and the Mavs. From that point on, the Mavs were basically done.
Some other guys who definitely deserve some mention from this game are Deron Williams, Paul Millsap, and C.J. Miles.
Deron Williams returned with a beautiful performance for Utah, as he had 18 points, 15 assists, and 7 rebounds. He made his presence felt in all aspects of the game, and he was involved on a great hustle play, as well as a superb thread-the-needle pass, which I will be dreaming about tonight.
Paul Millsap once again had a solid performance filling in for the injured Carlos Boozer. Millsap finished the game with 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Millsap also led the Jazz in minutes played with nearly 41 minutes of game action.
C.J. Miles brought some much-needed energy off of the bench for the Jazz, as he put in 17 points and grabbed 5 rebounds (3 offensive). Miles was a large part of Utah’s success, and it was wonderful to see him attack the basket a lot more than he usually would. He did settle for a few 3’s in my opinion, but overall he played the kind of game that the Jazz really needed him to. They were desperate for another scoring option outside of Millsap and Williams, and Miles was the guy who provided it.
Another shout out has to go out to the Jazz defense as a whole, as they held Dirk Nowitzki to under 30 points. Now I understand that shooting 11-18 is a very good shooting night for Dirk, but outside of the third quarter, where he scored 14 points, he was held in check. At a point in the third, it looked like Dirk might go off on the Jazz, but the Jazz handled him well from there on out, as he was held to just 2 points in the fourth quarter on no field goals.
It just seems like the Jazz have become a team that opponents can’t hang with once the fourth quarter comes around. The Jazz seem to play better when the pressure is on, and the intensity is up. All of the loose balls and hustle plays went in favor of the Jazz, and it is the reason why they were able to beat the Mavs 104-92, and win their 10th game out of their last 11 overall. The Utah Jazz have truly become a legitimate contender in the Western Conference and a force to be reckoned with.
– Carlos Boozer said he is targeting Saturday as his return game.
– The Jazz own the largest active winning streak in the Western Conference (6).
– Dirk Nowitzki did not attempt a shot in the fourth quarter.
– The Jazz took the season series from the Mavs, 2-1.
– Jason Terry was 0-6 in the second half when guarded by Wesley Matthews.
– Brandon Roy will not be playing against the Jazz on Wednesday night.
– Deron Williams is keeping the beard!