IT’S NOT OVER!
That’s what I said after regulation.
IT’S STILL NOT OVER!
That’s what I said after the first OT.
IT’S STILL VERY MUCH NOT OVER!
That’s what I said after second OT.
IT’S STILL DEFINITELY VERY MUCH NOT OVER!
That’s what I said at the end of the Jazz’s 123-121 victory against Dallas Monday night.
And you know what? It’s not over – that Jazz season that is. At least not tonight. Wednesday, maybe. Friday … perhaps. But not tonight.
Utah pushed and clawed its way to a stunning, and slightly bewildering win – for every terrific shot made, a stupid play followed. At that I say this: Coach Corbin rocks during the game with his spot on substitutions and effective play calling, but in crunch time the man doesn’t have it.
Take, for example, the moment when, boasting a five point lead with a minute to go, Utah gave Jason Terry a wide open 3-pointer which Mr. Clutch easily sunk. Later, after two Gordy free throws gave the Jazz an 87-83 advantage, Utah’s defense again gave up not one, but two friggin 3-pointers – swished in by Vince “Has Been” Carter, no less.
What. The. Hell?
When will the Jazz learn to respect the 3-point shot? For the love of all that is holy, those wide open looks nearly cost Utah the game – and they were made because Corbin and co. were concentrating all of their efforts on making sure Dirk didn’t get a layup. Come on, guys! I respect that you eventually won the game, but those were some stupid plays. A better defensive set up would’ve nixed the whole triple OT all together …
But man, what a game.
Those two quick threes gave the Mavs an 89-97 edge with eight seconds left on the clock. Gordy drove to the hoop, threw up a wild WTF shot and was subsequently bailed out by Milsap’s follow-up power jam.
Dirk missed a long jumper on the next possession and BOOM – horrific thoughts of that 4OT loss begin to wade across my mind.
Utah goes down 94-90, but then engages on a 10-2 run to retake the lead.
Dallas clawed back into it with some pesky free throw shooting, and then Dirk dropped another long bomb (dodging Jazz defenders left and right in the process) to tie the game at 105.
Hayward missed another layup as clock expired, and Big Al’s put back was no good.
This one was much tighter. The Jazz could only manage a two point lead before finding themselves trailing 111-109 with 22-seconds to go. Big Al (the only player on the court willing to shoot) then made a high arcing jumper that again tied the game (and made the entire Mavs bench – and some Jazz fans – groan in pathetic agony).
Terry thankfully missed his ensuing shot, Big Al pulled down one of his 26 rebounds on the night (nope, that’s not a typo), but Utah allegedly turned the ball over on the next play (actually, Milsap got tripped by Delonte West – or someone), which required an entire five minutes for the officials to sort out incorrectly.
On the other end, Dirk turned the ball over and Sap, feeling the heat, clanked a 50-footer off the back iron. (This play was great, by the way. If that shot had dropped, I’m pretty sure every fan in Energy Solutions Arena would’ve stormed the gates and later burned down SLC.)
The game was tied 115-115 and then Devin Harris (looking slightly befuddled) tossed up an incredible 3-point bucket and then exploded out of sheer excitement. Big Al followed with a deuce of his own – five point lead in the Jazz’s favor.
Of course, any team that plays against us automatically hits EVERY FREAKING SHOT they toss up. And so West threw a 3-pointer over the back of his head, whilst blind folded, wearing hand cuffs, and covered with every member of the Jazz team (including the bench), that closed the gap back to two.
The refs (for the first time ever) rewarded Sap on the other end with a pair of free throws, which the big guy split (three point game), possibly setting up another OT. But Terry missed a long shot (which Tinsley unwisely attempted to recover), and then Dirk missed a 3-pointer of his own – Game. Set. Match.
I tell you what, the Jazz don’t like to make things easy do they?
No matter. A wins a win. And Utah deserved to win this game, just like they deserved to win against Memphis and New Orleans. Luckily, luck just happened to luck by their lucky side for a lucky change.
Jefferson was the man tonight. I felt like he only forced one or two shots down the stretch (including one that he made over Mahinmi whilst falling back), and did an impeccable job when his team needed him most. I mean, wow. His rebounds alone are astonishing, but to add 28 (important) points and two (extremely important) blocked shots into that mix … wow. What’s better, he didn’t play tepid, either; rarely relying on that odd-looking putt shot of his, but instead utilizing his killer jumper. He certainly drew a lot of respect from me.
Sap had a frustrating game, going something like 0-for-7 in the first half, and doing little to stop Dirk (but who can, really) … But he stepped up and hit a few timely J’s, and made up for some odd maneuvers (driving to the lane in second OT with 20 seconds left on the shot clock was kinda silly) with his killer combo of grit, muscle and a lotta hustle. He scored 16 points, dished out six assists and did what he could on Dirk (who again scorched the Jazz with 40).
Gordy played tremendous ball (24 points, five assists), and I really like that the Jazz brass give him opportunities to win the ball game. Those shots will eventually drop; the kid has a lot of fight in him.
And of course Carroll once again came in and showed why I sometimes call Kevin O a friggin genius. Where’d this guy come from? He dropped 15 points and dished out six assists. At one point, Tinsley and Harris ran the floor together, but Corbin wisely dropped the former and unleashed Carroll through most of the extended play.
Our bench kinda sucked, again. Favors, Kanter, Burks, and co. seem to have channeled their energy into the starters as they were outscored 51-17. Ouch. Of course, 27 of those points belong to Jason Terry and Vince Carter – and they’re not scrubs.
OK, so now that I’ve rambled on and on about everyone and everything, what does this win mean?
Absolutely nothing if the Jazz don’t win Wednesday.
Utah sits half a game behind Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot … Suddenly, that game next Tuesday against the Suns looks like the game of year.
I have no idea what’s going to happen.
But at least it’s not over. Yet.