The Jazz made me look really bad based on what transpired tonight against Golden State, and what I wrote about the team prior to the exciting 88-87 victory, their first road win of the season. ESPN.com and the Salt Lake Tribune have all of the details, but, first of all my sincere apologies to Raja Bell. No sooner than I blast him and say he may be done, he responds with his best game of the season both offensively, 9 PTS, and defensively forcing Monta Ellis into a crucial turnover and tough final shot that missed as the buzzer sounded.
At least 3 of the 4 young lottery picks made me look like I know something, as Gordon Hayward had his best game of the season with 18 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, and 2 STL. Derrick Favors had a double double with 12 PTS and 10 REB, and “The Big Turkey” aka Enes Kanter had another strong performance with 6 PTS and 7 REB in just 14 minutes on the court.
The Jazz starters actually got off to a great start, led of course by Raja Bell and a couple of Gordon Hayward 3′s, leading 18-to-6 midway through the 1st quarter. The Warriors rallied to lead by 1 at half and pushed the lead to 3 at the end of the 3rd. But the Jazz rallied and tied the game on an Al Jefferson jumper with 33 seconds left. Utah then got a break as Bell forced Ellis into a turnover as his bad pass was deflected by Devin Harris to a streaking Gordon Hayward who was fouled with 11 seconds left.
Hayward missed the 2nd free-throw giving Golden State a chance to win the game on the final possession, however Ellis held his dribble well outside the 3 point line until there was about 4 seconds left and Bell once again played solid D as Ellis missed a 10 foot runner as time expired.
Al Jefferson added 15 points on just 6-of 15 shooting from the floor and Devin Harris had a season high 8 assists. The game was very sloppy, particularly in the second half, as both teams looked fatigued having played the previous night. Ellis had 32 points to lead the Warriors but had a costly turnover and missed shot on the Warriors final 2 possessions.
One thing to watch is what happens with CJ Miles, who only played 4 minutes in the game, not getting off the bench in the 2nd half. He was 0-for-3 from the floor including 0-for-2 from the 3 point line. CJ’s career has been very inconsistent, and one has to wonder if playing 13 minutes combined in the last 2 games will force him to work harder in practice, or if he’ll pout and continue to see his playing time diminish in favor of Alec Burks.