Few things about tonight’s Jazz
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on December 29, 2008
Sixers meet the Jazz tonight (btw check SLC dunk), and apparently Utah will be again without Okur, Boozer AND Millsap, meaning the three top scorers.
Nothing to be happy for, anyway, because yesterday I’ve watched their 120-115 double OT loss to the Houston Rockets and they are the same tough team that traditionally loves to destroy us, and that won 17 of the last 19 matchups at Salt Lake City.
Few observations after that exciting game, that I enjoyed from tip off to the final horn.
The Jazz are still a very deep team, that will use nine men to keep the intensity high and play hard nosed basketball for 48 minutes – and even more if necessary.
Just as you would expect from a team coached by Jerry Sloan, they never give up, reguardless of what the scoreboard tells. Rockets had a 16 point lead and were up basically the whole game, but had Brewer made both free throws with 8 seconds left in the first OT, they would have probably lost the game.
If you laughed this summer hearing the names Kosta Koufos and Kyrylo Fesenko as part of their roster, you better stop it immediately, because these two guys can ball.
Apart from Fesenko’s terribly ukrainian looking-face, and his awful shooting form (a couple of memorable bricks from the line), he’s more than a big body to throw out there. He’s athletic, can run, jump, dunk, block shots, BOARD. He played some stretches of outstanding defense vs Yao Ming who, as you might know, is NOT Sam Dalembert.
Koufos is another european seven footer, who will turn 20 next February (!), and had a career game just three days ago vs Dallas (18 and 8, with 8/11). The greek center played well last night vs Rockets, showing also some mid range touch, and despite some predictable foul troubles, having to keep Yao. He fouled out but in only 20 minutes of action managed to put up 14 and 4, with 6/9 from the field and a presence in the paint.
You should know the rest of the band pretty well: lefthanded swingman CJ Miles is continuing in his progresses and nearly doubled his offensive production (10 PPG versus 5 of last year). He’s now a legit starter in the League, he’s clearly more confident in his shot (3/3 from downtown last night), having career numbers in FG%, 3 PT % and FT %.
Ronnie Brewer is no more a suprise, after last breakout season. He’s not a great outside shooter, but does everything pretty well. He reminds me a little bit of John “Summer League” Salmons as a Sixer. Brewer plays at 100%, plays smart and will rarely force a thing or take a bad decision (probably he fears Sloan’s reaction…). Nice player indeed.
Speaking of former Sixers, Matt Harpring is always there, another perfect fit for Sloan’s system. Not to mention Sixers4guidos’ and everyone’s favorite Kyle Korver (in the picture, few days after last December’s trade), earning his paycheck with the killer outside shooting.
Korver actually looked much improved as a passer, last night he dished out six assists (!), a couple of them really tough, in a crowded paint, or after being double teamed: it’s something we didn’t see often during his days in Philadelphia. He stole something from Deron Williams probably. Well done my dude.
So expect your usual fight in Salt Lake City, with nine-ten possessed Jazz players on the court and a roaring crowd all around, ready to jump on us.
BONUS FEATURES: Ryan from Hoops Addict has a post with the Carnival of the NBA #62, including a collection of the best NBA blog stories of 2008.
There you’ll find a link to a S4G post of this summer with an interesting provocation: “do you guys regret having signed Brand?” is basically asking Ryan. Personally no, it’s clear things aren’t working well, but I liked the move at that time and I would have done the same.
And since it’s Christmas time (well, already past, but anyway…), I would like to share with all S4G readers, especially the non-american ones, the true story of Philly fans booing Santa Klaus, courtesy of Ronnie Polaneczky from Philly.com. It happened just 40 years ago (December 1968), and it always crack me up. The legend of Philly fans was built on that day.