What the heck!!! Ok I’m going to need my heart medicine for the rest of the season because the Jazz are going to give me a heart attack! I can’t take all this up and down up and down up and down up and down up and down.
Before the Houston game last night Utah was entrenched in the number two hole in the west, focused on capturing homecourt throughout the playoffs, well at least til the conference finals, and now Utah is in 5th again, losing homecourt for the first round of the playoffs.
Wow, they go from number 2 to number 5. Thats how tight the west is right now.
Utah knew they needed last nights game, they needed a win badly to keep pace with Dallas, Denver, and Phoenix who are all a half game ahead of the Jazz.
This is the way its going to be for the last week of the season. Up and down up and down up and down. If you like drama then following the West this season must be like a dream come true, unless you are one of the players of course.
Every loss, every win changes the landscape of the West’s playoff picture, you know the saying, clear as mud, thats the outlook for the west.
What happened last night though? The Rockets aren’t even a playoff team, victory should have been theirs, especially considering how valuable each and every win is.
Well, realistically the Rockets are a tough matchup for anybody. They aren’t a big team, Scola is their biggest guy at 6’10” and he plays a lot smaller. The Rockets like to push the tempo as often as they can against anybody, against a team that played the night before in an Overtime thriller like the Jazz, they are running every chance they get.
Utah was obviously tired last night, they had to fly 1200 miles to Houston right after the Thunder game and didn’t get in until 3 am. They had to be tired.
One way you can tell a team is tired is to look at their shot selection and the results. Utah went 3 of 15 from long range, thats only 20% for you math illiterate. This can mean one of two things, one they just sucked last night and missed shots, the other, they didn’t have their legs under them and couldnt hit, becuase they had to be tired.
Ever try launching a 26 foot shot after playing 2 or 3 pickup games?
Oh wait, that happens every time I shoot a 26 footer. No really, if you play basketball you get it, you use your legs to shoot the ball, jump shooters get alot of momentum from their legs and how much lift they get. The Jazz had no lift last night and it showed.
The Rockets tried to run the Jazz out of the building in the first quarter jumping to a 33 to 22 lead and it never got close after that. Aaron Brooks and newcomer Kevin Martin each scored 28 points. The Rockets also had their legs, as evidenced by their 52% shooting night from 3 point land. Aaron Brooks alone made 5 three pointers himself. That kid is good.
Deron Williams had a tough matchup guarding Brooks all night, chasing him around screens, trying to stay in front when he drove the hoop, Brooks has a non stop engine and he’s fast, D-WIll has been known to struggle against smaller faster guards and it showed last night. D-Will even struggled on the Offensive end, going 3 for 9 and finishing with only 12 points and 7 assists, a far cry from his career high 42 against the Thunder.
I’m not worried though, and neither should Jazz fans. Utah is the second best team in the West, I’ve been saying it for months now and finally the National Media is starting to pay attention. Not going to name any names but the four letter sports network we all love has shown love to everyone besides the Jazz for most the year. Its only been recently that we get any pub on the national spotlight and it’s about time.
Utah is going to make noise in this seasons playoffs you watch! Utah is the best passing team in the league, leading the NBA in Assts/game at over 25 and they lead the league in FG% as well. Two key factors in playoff basketball, unselfish play and good shooting. Utah can do both. We may have missed it against the Rockets but hey, everyone loses sometimes, and back to backs are hard, I’m willing to cut this team a break.
The Jazz have to figure out a way to give D-WIll some help on the defensive end however becuase once the playoffs start Utah can’t allow Deron Williams to be a liability on the floor, especially against all the great guards out west that we might see in the Playoffss, Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, and Jason Kidd. Tough Tough matchups.
First things first however, the Jazz need to win out to have any hope of locking up the 2 seed.Utah has three games left, the last one on the 14th against Phoenix, which could be the game that decides the final seeding in the playoffs, and guess what folks, its on the second night of a back to back, lets hope the Jazz have their legs this time.
Danny Shapiro is the NBA Director of Content for sportstalkbuzz.com. He lives in Salt Lake City Utah and has followed the Jazz for over 10 years. He’s a diehard Lakers fan and isn’t afraid to tell everyone how much better Kobe is than Lebron. You can also follow Danny on Twitter at DanShap@twitter.com or Facebook under Danny Shapiro. Also, Danny is a competitive Fantasy Sports Manager and loves to answer Fantasy Sports questions. If you would like to reach Danny with your questions you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Written by Danny Shapiro
Danny Shapiro is 26 years old, married and a father to 2 boys, who he hopes one day to play MLB and support him and his wife in their old age. Danny's second love, mistress even, is sports and Danny is living his dream of being a sports writer right now, thanks to Prosportsblogging.com.