(Photo by Colin E. Braley)

Utah Jazz: Silver Lining In Loss To Spurs

It’s never a good thing when your team loses, but the performance by the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs was actually a good sign if you are a Jazz fan. During the Lakers game on Tuesday night, the Jazz looked like a team that was mentally damaged, and they looked like they actually gave up hope midway through the game. This is something that is rare from the Jazz, who are known for their “never-say-die” attitude and their slew of comebacks. This caused the Jazz faithful to question their team, and it caused them to wonder if they had any heart left. Fortunately for the Jazz faithful, they found out that they did still have heart against the Spurs.

Despite falling behind the Spurs by 19 points with about 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Jazz battled back and had a legitimate chance to win the game down the stretch. Although the Jazz never actually got over the proverbial hump in their comeback attempt (came within 4), the fight that they showed was a very important thing to see. It’s one thing to get into a slump and start losing games, but it is another thing altogether when a team loses its heart and ability to fight back, especially when the heart is as enormous as it is with the Jazz.

The one performance that truly gave me a comforting feeling was that of Deron Williams. Williams has been recently criticized for his disconnect with head coach Jerry Sloan, and it seemed to be affecting his play on the court. However, last night he put on a memorable performance with 39 points and 9 assists; despite the fact that he had a bummed wrist. Watching Williams play like a superstar was great to see, and it reminded everybody why he is still regarded as the best point guard in the league.

Another performance that stuck out to me came from Al Jefferson who made his presence felt throughout the game. He had 22 points (10-15 from the field) and grabbed 9 rebounds. He also added 2 blocked shots to his well-rounded game. Jefferson was knocking down the midrange jumper, which is always a good thing for the offense. When your bigs can stretch the defense, it is usually going to lead to a bunch of easy points.

Finally I want to mention the performance of Jeremy Evans. I know that I have been saying this for most of the season, but this guy NEEDS to play more minutes. He is instant offense and instant energy. When the Jazz look listless, Sloan needs to realize that Evans is the guy that needs to come in the game and infuse the team. In just 8 minutes and 45 seconds in last night’s game, Jeremy Evans had a +/- of +13. Outside of Evans, only Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap had a positive +/- and they each had +2. If Sloan would just give this rookie the time he deserves, this team would be much closer to getting out of their funk.

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Millsap Watch

Paul Millsap had another sub-20-point performance as he only scored 8 points against the Spurs. That is 8 straight games that Millsap has scored below 20 points.

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Tags: Al Jefferson Deron Williams Gordon Hayward Jeremy Evans Jerry Sloan Paul Millsap San Antonio Spurs Utah Jazz

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