Well, the Jazz-Hornets game wasn’t exactly what I expected, but the outcome sounds just about right (A Jazz victory in a close game). Utah won its second consecutive road game on back-to-back nights for the first time since 2008, and they look poised to do some serious damage in the Western Conference by the time this season is over. They are closing out games late, they are getting contributions from different players on any given night, and they have the proper leadership with a top-notch point guard and one of the best head coaches in the game today.
Specifically against New Orleans, the Jazz came out slowly, as they ended the first quarter trailing by 6 points. In that first quarter, Darren Collison, Chris Paul‘s fill-in, torched the Jazz for 9 points. Coming into the game, I thought that he would be the guy that Utah would take advantage of, especially with the way Deron Williams defended Aaron Brooks the night before. Collison, though, was not having any of it. In fact, Collison led the Hornets, along with Peja Stojakovic, with 24 points, while also adding 9 dimes.
Collison’s counterpart, D-Will, had a good game, as he recorded a double-double (16 pts and 10 asts). It was a good game, but it was not a great game. With Williams having the opportunity to go against CP3’s backup, I expected Williams to come out looking to attack. That was not the case, as Williams only attempted 9 shots throughout the game. However, even though Williams did not have a prolific offensive performance, the Jazz still found a way to leave New Orleans with a 98-90 victory.
You might ask, “How did they accomplish that?”
You don’t need to look any further than Paul Millsap and Carlos Boozer.
Paul Millsap led the Jazz in scoring, as he put up a much-needed 24 points (11-13 from the field) in 33 minutes. In addition, ‘Sap grabbed 8 boards, had 3 pilfers, and swatted 3 shots. When you talk about an efficient game, those are the kinds of numbers you are talking about. Not to mention, he was their savior off of the bench, particularly in the first half, when he scored 16 points.
Utah’s “other” power forward, Carlos Boozer, also played well, although he was not as efficient (7-15 from the field) as ‘Sap was. However, unlike ‘Sap, Boozer did record a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds. One of those rebounds was a huge offensive rebound after an Anderi Kirilenko missed free-throw with 2 minutes left in regulation, and the Jazz clinging to a slim 3-point lead. Shortly thereafter, Boozer was fouled, and he connected on a pair of free-throws that gave the Jazz a 5-point lead and eventually the win. Another reason why Boozer was so important in this game was because of his defense on David West, who had just 5 points on 2 for 9 shooting. Yes, West only played 26 minutes because of foul trouble, but when he was in the game, he was simply ineffective.
Overall, when I look at this game, I see a well-balanced performance by a Utah Jazz team that could have mailed it in on the back-end of a back-to-back. They got the contributions that they so desperately needed from everyone, and when it was all added up in the end, it was enough to hold off the pesky Hornets in New Orleans. I don’t know where they got the inspiration to pull this one out, but wherever it came from, I hope they can find it again some time down the road.
In their next game, the Utah Jazz will head to Oakland to face the Golden State Warriors from Oracle Arena on Friday night.
– The Jazz shot 54.3% from the field.
– The Jazz outscored the Hornets in each of the last 3 quarters.
– The Jazz have evened their road record to 12-12.
– After the game, Jazz players complained about the basketball that was used during the game.
– Quiet game for AK, as he only had 8 points (3 for 6 from the field). He did have 3 blocks, though.
– The Jazz have won all but one game where they wear the green uniforms this season.
– For some post-game quotes, click here.