The results are in...guess who's #1?

The results of LA Ball Talks team blog contest are in. And once again, Jazz fans have made it clear that True Blue Jazz is their favorite Jazz blog on the Internet. Thanks to all who voted. Stay tuned because we have big big BIG news on the way....Prepare for Jazz heaven.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

4.29.08 Jazz @ Rockets - Game 5

I thought about all the thinga I hate about Tracy McGrady and decided this picture pretty much sums it up. Dear Jazz, let's not de-flower him this season. Let someone else have the honors.
(Thanks to Scott on our Live Blog for giving the link)


I conceded this game in the 2nd quarter and started writing this recap just as the 3rd quarter came to an end.

Tell me if this looks familiar:

"I'm not blaming the refs per se. The Jazz knew they wouldn't get any calls. They knew that the word "charge" is no longer in the rules unless Rockets is on offense.

Let me get this straight... if Matt Harpring tries to rebound, it's a foul. Even if he has position and his hand on the ball? On the flip side, Scola can push someone in the back... step on them... kick the ball out of bounds on his own... and it's a foul on the Jazz!?!? Screw that noise."


I figure why try and complain about the officiating when The Dream Shake has already done it for me. Those are the exact words (replacing team and players names...and an F bomb) used by The Dream Shake after Game 4. Interesting how they fit into this game perfectly. But they complain that they got hosed in Game 4. So what exactly happened in Game 5? Yeah, you guessed it. Jazz got hosed.

That was hands down the poorest performance I've seen by the Jazz in a post season game. I would have bet my soon to be born children that D-Will was going to come out like a banshee. Instead he decided to go 5-11 and 6 assists. You showed them Deron. I'm sure the state of Texas interrupted normal programming for a public service announcement on how to say your name.
Excuse me for a moment while I look at the box score to find a way I can spin this positively....

...well the 9 bench points from the entire Jazz bench was a great performance except for the fact that Bobby Jackson got that by himself. Um...the Jazz shot 36% from the field. Hey, that's better than 30% right? The Jazz scored 69 points. That's kind of cool. That's it, that's all I could find.

22-36-56. Represents two things (1) the average measurements of the average woman from Houston (I just threw up in my mouth) and (2) it was the Jazz shooting percentages from the 3 pt line, FG, and free throw line in game 5.
There is absolutely nothing positive that came from tonight's game. The Houston defense was jaw dropping. I have not seen the "potent" Jazz offense get torn apart like that this entire season. Simply put, the Jazz lost this game and Houston won it without a fight.
Sweet picture of Deron right here... Too bad it ended with him getting blocked by Mutumbo, the loose ball picked up by Boozer who passes it off Okur's back followed by Harpring picking up the ball and dribbling twice before Alston stole it and gave it to McGrady who was fouled on a 3 point shot resulting in a 4 point play. That's kind of how the entire game went.

All I can say is that the Jazz have to win game 6. There is no question about it. By the way, I am watching the post game press conference and McGrady just said "MY team did well". This guy is an All-Star Flip Flopper, he puts John Kerry to shame.
Does it get any better than this picture? Yes, if McTeary had a single tear rolling down his cheek like last year. The tears will come in game 6 Treysee, they will come.

Final Score: Jazz 69, Rockets 85
Jazz Links:
Rockets Links:




BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, April 28, 2008

What's My Name?

Just when I thought I could not despise T-Mac anymore than I already do, I hear this:

"After the Jazz won game 4 to put the Rockets backs squarely to the wall, Mr. 4th Quarter (T-Mac), said in the post game press conference that he couldn’t remember how to pronounce D-Will’s name. “Is it Der-ron...Deron..What is it..”, Mr. 4th quarter proclaimed." (Source: http://www.1280kzn.com/)


Tracy, please! What are you doing? Is it not bad enough that you are one game away of losing, yet another, first round match up? Now you go and try to insult D-Will. You know his name Mc-Teary. You know it and I know it. We were there last year when he beat you in Game 7. And if your memory cannot go back that far, certainly you can remember this:



Sit down T-Mac. I'm not saying this series is in the bag. It's the Jazz, anything can happen. But when you are down 3-1 to a team that has shut you down, the last thing you want to do is light a fire under the one player that has dominated every game. Who knows though, us Jazz fans may thank you for it. Let's just wait and see.

Booner

Saturday, April 26, 2008

4.26.08 Jazz vs. Rockets Game 4 - Live Blog @ The Dream Shake

What up Jazz fans. The Dream Shake is going a LIVE BLOG of tonight's game. Let's all stop by and show up in force. Let them feel the wrath of My Utah Jazz!

Live Blog

Jazz-Rockets Game 4 Preview

Dear Carlos, We miss you. Please come home. Love, My Utah Jazz

Below is the link to ESPN's preview of tonight's game. I would write my own preview/prediction but predicting game three was the last one you will see from me. Besides, I cannot write too much about the Jazz without going into f-bomb mode. What they did to me and my family the other night damn-near ruined me. Due to a minor case of tourette's, I twitch quite a bit as it is, but you should see me when I start stressing out. Not good at all. You come within a foot of me.... you are going to get hurt.



So, enough of that. Here's the preview from ESPN's Scout's Inc. Click here for the series page.



Again, this is not my prediction. I am staying as far away from predictions as possible. All I am going to say is, if we can get even, semi productive minutes from Memo, Korver, and Milsap, I like our chances. Let's do this Jazz. It's time to make teams fear the ESA again!



Booner





Friday, April 25, 2008

4.24.08 Jazz vs. Rockets vs. NBA whistles

Ok. The Rockets won that game fair and square. That game is exactly what playoff basketball is all about. We held a Live Blog last night and all I can say is welcome to the roller coaster, it you want to see the high's and low's of that game, simply read back through the live blog. Luckily, Lee (UofTOrange) from The Dream Shake was there to keep us in line. He was like the one chick who shows up to prevent an all out sausage fest. Thanks for coming Lee and being a class act. He didn't throw it in our face at all when the game was over. At one point he mentioned how he had just folded his '95 Rockets World Champions T-Shirt and how he would need it for game 7...when he typed that, I started to get nervous.

What if this series goes 7? Danger.

I'm not saying it will, and in fact, I don't think it will get past 6. I think we see the home teams win from this point on. But still...what if it goes to game 7. I don't think my blood pressure could handle that.

I know the vast majority of NBA fans hate the Jazz. I could care less. I don't really see what there is to hate, but I completely understand the hating. But I don't hate the Rockets. I might hate Houston, but I don't hate the Rockets. In fact, they are a great team to watch. No real superstars (McTeary has proven that), just a bunch of role players. They remind me a lot of the Pistons team that won a few years ago. Everyone in a Rockets jersey wants to win and works hard (minus Bobby Jackson, who just doesn't seem to fit for me). IF for some reason the Jazz blow this series, I want to see Houston go far...very far. Up to this point, their fans have been great in the blog world. That was just a quick though. Alright, enough of the Rockets love.

Here are my thoughts on why the Rockets won this game.

-The Rockets played excellent defense on the Pick-and-Roll. This is the bread and butter of the Jazz. Without it, their offense can get very stagnant and they start settling for jump shots. The Rockets have played it incredibly well.

-Alston was incredible. He provided energy that the Rockets have not seen up to this point in the series. He seemed to spread the floor well and know exactly where he wanted his teammates to be. Big help for the Rockets.

-Luis Landry (a morphisys of Luis Scola and Carl Landry as per Dream Shake). Landry loses a tooth, grabs 7 offensive rebounds, and makes the game winning block, followed by the game winning save. Scola didn't shoot particularly well from the floor, but goes 8-10 from the line. Sign up the Booze Hound to attend his summer camp so he can learn to perform like that.

Now for the Jazz side of things.

-Where is Carlos Boozer? Put out a freaking Amber Alert for our "All-Star". Don't be leaving comments saying how he went 15 and 13. That doesn't cut it. He is being guarded by Rookies for the most part. Destroy them. Take them the hole. Punish them. Boozer MUST show up for the Jazz to win this series. He dominated in this series last year. Without Yao, there is no excuse to be just as dominate this year

-Shooting. Memo 3-13. AK 2-7. Sap 0-2. Korver 2-5. Four key players all in the dumper. Now for the real glaring state. Free throws: Jazz go 20-33. That's 60.6%. Pathetic. This was the downfall.

-Jazz get out rebounded and allow Houston to grab 16 offensive rebounds. They also had only 20 assists. Notice that when the Jazz were pushing their offense and had a pace of 122 they were getting assists in the 30's. Jazz must share the ball, they are NOT a 1-on-1 team.

Those are my first instincts. I'm sure some people saw it differently.

The one thing that I really like was the maturity of Deron Williams. D-Will played 43 minutes and didn't once complain of being tired. Didn't complain that he was playing against a well rested Alston. Didn't complain that his teammates aren't shooters. Didn't complain about any flops. Didn't complain about his legs. Didn't complain that he HAD to take the last shot. The guy is a stud and T-Mac needs to take some notes on how to be a leader.

PS. I hated the white t-shirts for the fans. What happened to True Blue? Bad marketing for the Jazz I believe.

Links:

The Dream Shake
Biased Fan (sweet new look)
Frank Layden Admirers
ESpukeN
AOL Fanhouse (Matt at HP)
Hardwood Paroxysm
Ball Don't Lie


Thursday, April 24, 2008

**Live Blog** Jazz vs. Rockets - Game 3

Keep it PG-13. Go Jazz!

Playoff Rountable: My Utah Jazz vs. The Dream Shake; Hosted by Matt at Hardwood Paroxysm



Just a bunch of homers talking about Game 3. Check it out.

Thanks to Matt at HP for moderating.

4.24.08 Jazz vs. Rockets **LIVE BLOG*** 8:30 pm MST

What up everyone. We will be hosting another LIVE BLOG tonight as the Jazz look to continue their sweep of the Houston McTeary's. Here is the info on tonight's game:
Game will be on TNT and KJZZ
8:30 pm MST
9:30 pm CST for you Rockets fans



Live Blog will start right around game time. Rockets fans are invited as well. Remember to keep it PG-13.

See you all tonight!

Prediction: Jazz 114, Rockets 98

Game 3 Preview - Utah Jazz & Houston Rockets vs. The FLDS

Nothing like a little religious excitement to amp up a game that quite frankly needs a little drama involved. I am curious to see how many of the wives actually show up to protest. I also want to know why it is only the wives that are coming, where are the so called men in this situation?

Sorry for the 20 seconds of politics, lets get onto the real game tonight (assuming that the Jazz and Rockets don't decide to cancel the game as the lawyer for the FLDS is demanding). I think that the Jazz need to come out tonight like wild dogs and get the crowd whipped up into a frenzy. I am fully expecting a 35 point first quarter with 75% shooting. I hope that the crowd can take this game to a new level and cement our reputation as the best home court advantage in the league. I better be able to hear the "Tracy's Tired" chants on TV. If any of the readers are going to the game I would love to get a first hand account of the atmosphere tomorrow morning.

I hope that the Jazz don't take this game too lightly and lean on the home court advantage. This is a very important game, a loss tonight sends the series back to Houston and that is not acceptable. The Jazz can not let the Rockets gain any momentum or think that they have a chance to win this. Tonight is the night to deliver the knock out blow and kill any thoughts of a come back. In my opinion, here is what needs to happen for the Jazz to put this series away.

1 - Boozer needs to stay out of foul trouble and be a stud. Something like 25 and 12 should do it.
2 - Brewer, AK, Harpring and Korver need to get up in Tracy's face and be very physical. Between the 4 of them we have 24 fouls to give and they should try using all of them all. Tracy is not a very good free throw shooter so lets make him think twice about trying to get to the rim.
3 - Up the tempo. the Jazz need to get this game going early and don't take their foot off the pedal. We average 106 points per game during the season, lets see if we can get there tonight.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

4.21.08 Jazz @ Rockets (McTeary Remix)

I wasn't sure how I would react to this game when it was all over.

ESPN RECAP

1st Half: McTeary was unstoppable. The guy was truly playing suffocating defense. I felt like maybe he had it in him to step up to the plate and carry this team. Between him and Scola, I felt like they were walking all over the Jazz.

Where did Boozer go? I know he was saddled with foul trouble, but here is how I see it. Don't call a guy for a defensive foul unless he is actually trying to pay defense. All Booze Hound does is stand in front of the guy and wave his arms around (probably saying Booga booga under his breath). The opposing player then does what is called a FAKE to the right, and then redirects himself to the LEFT. He then gets an uncontested layup and Boozer tries to slap the ball out of his hands as a last resort, but instead leaves a massive welt on the opposing players wrist.

This is not defense. So why can you call it a defensive foul? Boozer is a turn table.

It was nice to see Memo get some of his mojo back for this game. He needs to be firing on all cylinders when we face the Lakers.

The first half was filled with Jazz jump shots and we're lucky we hit enough of them to keep a small lead going into half.

2nd Half: I completely expected McTeary to come out and drop 30 in the second half. I thought just maybe he had an ounce of leadership and heart in him to come out and give the fans what they are paying for. Not so much. The guy is a ghost in the second half. If you think we hate McTeary right now? Check out what The Dream Shake had to say. I rest my case.



Where did he go? Nachos? Churro? $9 beer? The guys just disappeared. I saw a guy wearing number 1 on the court, but McTeary was nowhere to be found. What a sad excuse for a superstar. ESPN makes him out to be a hero for 0:38 each night during SportsCenter, but they never mention how he has ZERO leadership skills and is a complete waste of talent.

A few thoughts on the "no calls" and the "flops".

The hit by Brooks that sent D-Will to the floor was a foul. It was a horrible call. Luckily, God recognized it and punished the Rockets by allowing them to miss the WIDE OPEN three that came as a result of the "no call".

The phantom foul by Scola....was a random call. I know Jazz fans might hate me, but how do they make that call with less than a minute left? All I can say is nice work by AK, he won us the game. Even AK admitted that he flopped 50% on that call.

From DesNews:

The Jazz had Kirilenko to thank for his work on Houston's preceding possession, which ended with a foul on Rockets forward Luis Scola which negated a 3-pointer from guard Bobby Jackson that would have tied the game at 85.

"It wasn't that huge (of a) foul, but Scola is holding me. I created a little bit more than it looks, but it was foul," Kirilenko said. "Let's say 50-50, but it was foul. In this situation, that's the right call. Because I was trying to get to McGrady in the corner, and Scola was just holding me."

Rockets coach Adelman, to say the least, was a bit miffed.
"Trying to get me fined," he said when asked about the play. "You can't say anything. You can't. All I can say is, you look at that play and ... he (Scola) put his hand on Kirilenko's shoulder.
"Kirilenko fell back like a truck just hit him, and you're going to make that call at that time of this game with just six seconds before Luis went to the basket and he got hammered? — I have a really hard time with that."



Oh well. Jazz win. This series is over.

Final Score: Jazz 90, Rockets 84

Let us know if anyone is interested in doing a Live Blog for Thursday's Game.

Really funny recap from Frank Layden Admirers...classic.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Is it AK or is Tracy just a girl?

I feel bad for the fans in Houston, McGrady was flat out killing it for 3 quarters and then he put a dress on for the 4th. 2 games in a row now with no field goals in crunch is not going to get it done. Can we quit calling this guy a superstar now? I need to give a ton of credit to AK here as well. AK was smothering him for the last 6 minutes of the game and that was the best performance I have seen from him defensively all year. In fact, AK was the X-factor for the Jazz all night. It seemed like when ever the Jazz needed a big play he was involved somehow with a rebound, steal, block or deflection. Have you ever seen a better game while only scoring 3 points? How SWEEP it is!!

The Utah Jazz Marketing Machine at Work

I dont know if anyone has meandered over to the Jazz's home page at http://www.utahjazz.com/, but I highly recommend it. I got the chills watching the intro, one might even say that I had spiritual experience watching it. (Que the Elders nodding in unison and thinking this guy is golden.)

For tonight's game I wonder if the Rockets have anything left to give? That loss was pretty demoralizing for them. Their star player is making excuses and they are all hoping and praying that a guy that goes by "Skip to my Lou" can pull a Willis Reed and make a difference in the series after being down with an injury. I am sorry guys, but if you think Rafer Alston is going to make a difference in this series then I have some nice beach front property in Salt Lake for you to look at. There is a reason that the Jazz tanked (at least that is what we are calling it now) so badly against the Spurs in the last game of the season. We own you at every position and most importantly between the ears. You know it and we know it so lets just get this series over with and move onto bigger and better things.

Three predictions for you:

1 - The Jazz get another double digit victory tonight.
2 - Tracy McGrady cry's and blames the ball boys for not passing him the ball correctly in warm-ups.
3 - The Jazz sweep the series on Saturday night at home.

And last, but not least here is a song to chear you up Rockets Fan - http://1280thezone.com/images/uploads/audio/RocketsFan2008.mp3

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hopefully Mcgrady is o.k.

Mcgrady is a medical miracle. How is it that he can be in so much pain and drop to his knees. Not even being able to walk in some cases. And the very next play get the ball and he is at 100 %. Earlier in the game it looked as if he lost his eye site then once again he was at full strength. I think he realizes he need to fake some sort of injury after the beating the Jazz will put on them.
Mcgrady is over rated and always will be. I wish E.S.P.N would realize the rockets aren't as good as the announcer's think they are. Hey E.S.P.N, Is it really that hard to get a girl announcer to sound like a girl. Instead of Barry White.
I still hate every Texas team. They are all a bunch of flopping cry babies.
The only good thing to come out of Texas is the F.L.D.S church.

The Whistle

Saturday, April 19, 2008

4.19.08 Jazz @ Rockets - Game 1 - Preview

The grudge match begins tonight at 7:30 pm MST. I'm extatic the playoffs are finally here. The Jazz need to come out quickly and punch the Rockets right in the face. Then they need to punch the Rockets fans right in their faces and be up by double digits in the 1st quarter. We know Houston will make a run in the 4th so it is important to maintain a good lead coming out of the third.

Key players tonight have to be Deron Williams and Tracy McTeary. Expect one of these two to have a huge game and set the precedence for this series.

Here is Scouts Inc. preview for tonight's game.

Look for a recap sometime tonight or tomorrow morning.

Oh, and we're working on putting an .mp3 podcast/conference call that everyone is invited to, together with Dream Shake. We'll keep you updated.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Great Utah Jazz Playoff Reads....

This was a great article from John Hollinger of ESPN. Here is a link to the full article.

Here is what John had to say about the Jazz.

Why are the Playoff Odds so high on Utah?
There's a tendency to overreact to What Just Happened, so Utah's stinker against San Antonio on Wednesday night probably increased everyone's doubts about this team.
Nonetheless, the Power Rankings have Utah as the league's second-best team, and the Playoff Odds give them the best chance of winning the West at 31.0 perecnt.

The Jazz played extremely well down the stretch. Even with the meltdown in San Antonio included, over the last quarter of the season the Jazz had an Offensive Efficiency rating of 116.0 -- that dwarfs the Suns' league-leading mark of 111.2. To put that into context, if they had done it for a full season, the Jazz would have been by far the best offensive team of all time.

Utah went 37-12 after Jan. 1, and the number of blowout wins over quality teams is staggering. The Jazz beat the Celtics by 18 in Boston -- the Celtics' worst loss of the season anywhere. The Jazz beat New Orleans by 28, and then again by 22 -- two of the Hornets' three worst defeats of the year. They beat San Antonio by 26 and the Lakers by 24 -- for each, their worst loss of the season. They beat Phoenix by 22 and beat Denver by 27 ... twice.

Overall, Utah won an astounding 18 games by more than 20 points. In contrast, the Jazz didn't lose a single game by more than 20 points all season ... until Wednesday night in San Antonio. And given their questionable motivation in that game and Deron Williams' trouble with a bruised buttock, it's hard for me to hold that against them much when we have 81 games of evidence that they're the best pick in a compacted Western pack.

Enough with the numbers -- who's going to be there in the end?

OK, now for the fun part. Here's how it will all go down -- and remember, I gave you Chicago as your Eastern Conference champion before the season, so you know you can take these picks to the bank.

You might have seen my first-round picks plastered elsewhere on this site, but for those who haven't, I like Boston in 4, Detroit in 5, Orlando in 6 and Washington in 6 in the East, and the Lakers in 5, New Orleans in 7, Utah in 6 and Phoenix in 6 out West.

My reasoning on Phoenix, by the way, is mainly that they've built their team to face the Spurs. Shaquille O'Neal has done extremely well defending Tim Duncan over the years. Somehow, San Antonio has to figure out how to make Shaq a liability on D and not an asset.

In the second round, I see Utah and the Lakers meeting in what should be the true conference finals -- which is why I was so disappointed the Jazz lost to San Antonio on Wednesday and missed out on the No. 3 seed. I have Utah beating L.A. in a six-game barnburner that's about as close to a coin-flip as any pairing you can come up with. (Note: I generally pick the road team to win in six and the home team in either five or seven, since the odds say that's how it's most likely to end. I made an exception for Orlando since they were so strong on the road.)

The Hornets-Suns second-round matchup should be a doozy, too. New Orleans might be even more exhausted after going seven against Dallas, but Phoenix doesn't match up nearly as well with the Hornets -- and New Orleans has home court. Thus, I'll take the Hornets in seven again, in another series that looks to be about dead even.

That sets up Chris Paul versus Deron Williams in the conference finals, which is a matchup we all want to see (well, unless you happen to walk around town in a gold "24" jersey). I think Paul might finally get the better of the matchup individually, but Williams has better teammates -- so Utah rolls to the Finals in six.

Back East, I already gave away my Pistons-Magic projection -- Detroit in a grueling seven. Meanwhile, the Boston juggernaut will dismiss Washington in four. That sets up a much-awaited conference finals battle between Boston and Detroit. But I think Boston will win in five easier-than-expected games.

The Finals? Utah versus Boston.

The 2-3-2 format and Utah's dominance at home will keep things interesting for a while, but mostly it will allow the Celtics to celebrate a title on their home court after knocking off the Jazz in six.

Well, that's what the odds say, anyway. Now let's see what really happens.

Editors Note: Wow. I am not sure how much credit you can give the numbers, but I picked my NCAA bracket based on emotion and got slaughtered. I'm ready for the numbers to finally prove themselves and take the Utah Jazz all the way to the Finals. Then the numbers can go to hell as the Jazz beat Boston in 6!

Here are some other Jazz articles:
What If Sports has the Jazz as NBA Champions
CBS Sportsline "Experts"
AK-47 doesn't want the Jazz to start 0-2
Korver says the Jazz aren't overconfident

Thursday, April 17, 2008

4.16.08 Jazz @ Spurs

Ouch. That hurts...that hurts bad.

Final Score: Jazz 80, Spurs 109

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

**Live Blog** 4.16.08 Jazz @ Spurs

Welcome to the My Utah Jazz Live Blog! This game is bigger than words for the Jazz.

Let's keep it PG-13. Let the game begin.


**LIVE BLOG** Jazz @ Spurs 7:30pm MST


What up gang. We had a lot of fun on our last live blog on Saturday when the Jazz destroyed the McNuggets. We will be hosting our 2nd live blog tonight as the Jazz look to snap the streak and win in San Antonio. Feel free to drop by and give us your thoughts on the game.

Here is the information on tonight's game:
9:30 EST
7:30 MST



Local: KJZZ FSNSW
Time: 9:30 pm ET

Please drop us a comment and let us know if you'll be stopping by. We want to get an idea of traffic in advance of the game!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Live Chat with The Dream Shake (Houston Rockets)

Just Like Old Times...The Jazz and Rockets Battle for Home Court Tonight!

As Hammy just mentioned below, the Jazz face a crucial home game tonight against the Houston Rockets. Over the weekend I had a chance to chat with Lee from The Dream Shake about tonight's game. You can view my responses to their questions HERE.


My Utah Jazz: Ideally, who do the Rocket fans want to face in Round 1 of the playoffs? Why?

Dream Shake: Honestly, I think we’d ideally face the Jazz with home court advantage. I believe we match up very well with your team now that Scola and Landry have been added to the mix. I also think Brooks and Jackson can give D-Will some trouble simply because they are such a change of pace from Alston. We have three PGs with completely different games. I also believe that it’s the one series that can make TMac mad enough to play his butt off. Let me caveat the prior sentences with the fact that most Rockets fans disagree with me. The other team I want is LA; while they are playing well, I think we match up well with them also.


My Utah Jazz: I have to ask, how bad did it hurt when Yao went down? Did you cry, throw and break something or just stop talking for days? With that said, How confident are you that the Rockets can still make a run on the Western Conference? (As if winning 20 + games in a row without wasn't enough to give you hope.)

Dream Shake: Dave (my co-writer) and I both had serious problems. Remember, we were riding high on a 12 game winning streak, Yao was the player of the month and we were absolutely dominating teams. The Rockets had just destroyed New Orleans in Louisiana , so we were riding on a huge high. Then I hit the bottom of the barrel as a fan when I got the news. At first I thought he would be back for the playoffs, but the news was much worse than that. Overall I’ve just now been able to cope with it. I’m pretty confident that we can win a round of the playoffs. The injuries for the rest of the team aren’t helping though. My ceiling is the Western Conference finals, but I’d gladly be wrong. If we have to play SA it’s over.

My Utah Jazz: Yes, it's asked every time, but I always look forward to this: Using only the Jazz/Rockets Rosters. Who would you take as your Starting Five as well as, lets say, two bench players.

Dream Shake:
PG – D-Will
SG - TMac
SF – Battier, and he’d fit in in Utah , he’s the whitest guy of all time
PF – This is tough for me because I can’t stand him, but Boozer, the guy is a beast and taking over very well as my most hated member of the Jazz for Karl Malone
C – Yao or even Mutumbo if I can’t have Yao

My Utah Jazz: . No disrespect to Mutumbo at all. He is a great ambassador to the game and an overall great guy. However, which of the following Sesame Street Characters does he sound exactly like:

Dream Shake:
A. Big Bird
B. Snuffalufagus
C. Cookie Monster
D. Oscar the Grouch

See video here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Xn6xcY752B0


My Utah Jazz: Finally, last question. Last years Jazz/Rockets Round One Series was Epic. Well, as of today, 4.14.08 we are all set to play in round one again with home court still up in the air. Whether we meet in round one, two or even three, who wins this series? And who is the X Factor?

Dream Shake: The team that has the home court advantage wins the series, but I think the Jazz could win the whole thing if they get on a roll (my pick for NBA champion is the Hornets however). The X factor as always is Tracy McGrady; no team not named the Lakers has an answer for a driving and dunking TMac. He has best player in the league potential when he cares enough to use it. He was the difference between winning and losing for us last year, his fourth quarter in game 7 sealed a win for the Jazz. No one was stopping him or playing strong defense, he was just passing up shots and not driving to the hole. I have no idea why he does that, maybe the pressure got to him.



Thanks to Lee and The Dream Shake for letting us be a part of this Q&A. No offense, but I am really hoping for another teary eyed T-Mac post-conference after an early exit from the playoffs.


We need this tonight Jazz.!


Late,

Booner

Can we do it?

Yes we Can!

For those of you with small children, I appologize for the Dora the Explorer opening - I have a 6 year old and 3 year old at my house and hear Dora saying "Can we do it? Yes we can!" about 15 time per day so it kind of sticks. But it makes sense for the Jazz right now to keep saying that to themselves. With two games left to play, we actually control our own desitny for home court advantage. If we win both games we end up with the 3 seed and would most likely play Phoenix in the first round with home court advantage and then the winner of the New Orleans/Dallas matchup. If Dallas wins we get home court, if New Orleans wins we win that series in 5 or 6 so either way I like our chances to advance to the conference finals once again. The Lakers and Spurs would most likely be playing for the other spot in the finals and if the Spurs could then beat the Lakers we would have home court advantage for that round as well. It's all lining up nicely for the Jazz and our run to the title.
A few facts / thoughts / predictions about tonights game:
1 - Shane Battier, Bobby Jackson and Rafer Alston are all listed as day to day thus limiting Houston's bench and weakening their defense.
2 - Since the Lakers loss at home the Jazz are 7-0. The average margin of victory over those 7 games is 24. That is not a typo, the Jazz are winning at home by 24 points over the last 7 games. The first 5 of those games were agains the bottom feeders, but the last two against San Antonio and Denver the margin of victory was a little higher at 26.5 maybe showing that the focus was a little higher for the better teams.
3 - Including the postseason, the Rockets have dropped 26 of their last 30 games in Utah.


All of this should mean an easy win tonight. Final score prediction is 106 - 88 for the Jazz with McGrady getting shot at by an elk hunter in the stands who got confused. (That was for you Booner.)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

4.12.08 Jazz vs. Nuggets-Live Blog

LIVE GAME BLOG! LIVE GAME BLOG! LIVE GAME BLOG!

Hey Everyone,

I am going to be trying out a new program to do LIVE GAME BLOGGING tonight. Please come and join us at Tip-Off. I've invited a few friends from The Nugg Doctor and Pick Axe and Roll as well.

Please come jump on the net and talk the smack with us at game time! We need you My Utah Jazz!

7:00 pm MOUNTAIN

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pick and Roll...McNuggets Style


Big game Saturday night for the Jazz. They will be hosting our beloved McNuggets (aka. The Peanut Gang).

We wanted to get some answers straight from the horses mouth, so we did a Q&A with Nuggets starting SG Allen Iverson and SF Carmelo Anthony.

Ok, so it's not AI or Melo, but it is Jeremy from Pick Axe and Roll and Nick from The Nugg Doctor.


You can read what Nick had to answer here. Prepare yourself for Jazz blasphemy before going to his site. I think deep down inside, he really likes the Jazz and just needs one of us to invite him to be a Jazz fan. Feel free to do so.

Below you can find what Jeremy had to say. Jeremy is a little more of a realist than Nick.

It almost makes me want to face the Nuggets in the Playoffs just to get some more Q/A with these guys. They actually give McNuggets fans a good name...if that's even possible.


Wanna read what I had to say to Jeremy's questions? Click here.

MUJ: Simple question. Will the Nuggets make the playoffs? Why or why not?

PA&R: I think the win against Golden State pretty much puts the Nuggets in the playoffs. Should Golden State lose at Phoenix on Monday night Denver needs only to beat Memphis on the last night of the regular season. Of course, Denver will not know if Golden State will lose that game so the games this weekend at Utah and home against Houston are still very important. If the Nuggets can just win one of those two games and beat Memphis they are in for sure.

MUJ: What is the mood in Denver after coming in 2nd to the Jazz in the Northwest division two years straight? Melo was POSITIVE they would win it. What does this do to Nuggets team chemistry and will this affect next years lineup?

PA&R: Clearly there is some disappointment involved losing the division to the Jazz yet again, but the NBA is not about division titles. A nice playoff run will alleviate any frustration about finishing second in the division. The season Denver won the division, they were bounced by the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. No one remembers that season as the year we finally won the division again, we all remember it as the year we lost to the freakin Clippers in the playoffs! As far as any impact on the Nuggets chemistry or mindset, I honestly do not think there is any whatsoever. There has never been a confidence issue with this team. The issue has been overconfidence.

MUJ: Who do Nuggets fans consider to be their biggest rival? If you were a Jazz fan, who would you consider to be our biggest rival?

PA&R: I believe rivalries are born out of animosity. In the NBA animosity is typically developed in the playoffs. I think Denver and Utah are somewhat natural divisional rivals, but they have not met in the playoffs since 1994. More recently the Jazz and Nuggets have only been fighting it out for the division for the past two seasons and their individual contests have had some scrappy moments.Before the Jazz there was a strong, but short lived rivalry with Minnesota because we were the up and coming team, but they were on top. I think the Nuggets players get up to play the Spurs more than the Jazz due to the fact the Spurs are where the Nuggets want to be. They have knocked the Nuggets out of the playoffs twice in the past three seasons. So from a player's perspective I think there is some presence of a rivalry with the Jazz, but based on how they play it seems like they feel a stronger sense of rivalry with San Antonio.Now with the fans, I think there is a much stronger sense of rivalry with Utah. It makes us nuts knowing that we have more talent than the Jazz, but you guys have had more success. Your fans also make us crazy because Jazz crowds are so whinny. However, the fans also have a special anger in our hearts towards the Spurs. If a Nuggets fan had a gun with two shots and was locked in a room with Manu Ginobili and Carlos Boozer, most of us would probably shoot Manu twice just to make sure he is dead. I would really prefer not to answer the second part of the question, but I can try to remove my ability to reason and think logically in order to think like a Jazz fan. From a Jazz perspective, I would think that historically teams like Houston, Seattle and the Lakers would be teams that you held ill will towards due to the battles that went on between the Jazz and those teams in the playoffs in the late 80s and 90s. So I would think there is some sense of rivalry there. Then of course, there is the divisional rivalry between the Jazz and Nuggets should provide just as much dislike for us as we have for you. I know you guys have written unsavory things about the noble Denver NBA franchise, but I am willing to forgive you as long as you promise the Jazz will lose in the first round of the playoffs.Of course, in another five years we may both think the Trailblazers and Sonics are our rivals as both of those teams look to have a very bright future.

MUJ: Who's blue is better? Jazz blue or Nuggets blue?

PA&R: I think the Jersey sales speak for themselves. The Denver Nuggets are seventh http://www.nba.com/news/jersey_080115.html and I have no idea where the Jazz are because the list is not long enough to show how lowly ranked they are.

MUJ: Jazz/Nuggets All-Star Starting 5. If you had to make a team using only the Nuggets and Jazz. Who would start at what position and why? Also include a 6th man and coach.

PA&R:


PG – Deron Williams
SG – Allen Iverson
SF – Carmelo Anthony
PF – Carlos Boozer
C – Marcus Camby
6th Man – Mehmet Okur
Coach – Jerry Sloan

PA&R: The center and 6th man spots were tough. I think Camby is wildly overrated as a defender, but his rebounding would be more necessary than Memo's three point shooting. I put Memo at the 6th man spot over J.R. Smith, Korver and Kenyon Martin because he is a big man who can shoot and that is a big matchup advantage with most teams though it was really tough not to put J.R. in there the way he is playing. I love Korver's shooting, but J.R. can do so much more than he can both offensively and defensively he would get the nod for 7th man had there been one.

Nugget fans are pretty frustrated with George Karl so only a strong hatred of Jerry Sloan would prevent anyone from going with the Old Curmudgeon. Of course, Sloan would probably end up strangling AI with one hand and Melo with the other so that would be fun to see.

MUJ: Predictions for tonight's game. Score and # of Flagrant fouls on Harpring.

PA&R: I think the Nuggets are set for a big let down after the Warriors victory. They were blown out the last time they were in Utah so that may provide some motivation, but I do not think it is going to be enough. Denver knows deep down that this is not a must win game and I think it ends up showing on the floor.

Utah 118 – Denver 109

Matt Harpring flagrant fouls committed four.Matt Harpring flagrant fouls called zero, but I fully expect Jazz fans to wail and complain anyway.


Editors Note: Thanks Jeremy. I hope the Jazz kick the living shiznit out of your squad. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Fellow Jazz Homers"

After the big win against the Spurs, MoneyMan Memo (one of our favorite readers) lit a fire within each of us here at My Utah Jazz. His comment under the Bring on the Hornets post was both motivating and inspirational. We said that if the Jazz won in New Orleans, he would be asked to put his thoughts as a Jazz fan into one powerful speech.

That time has come my friends for that speech. This will hopefully be the first in a series of speeches written by Jazz fans...for Jazz fans. If you would like to put your Jazz thoughts and inspirations into words and have them posted on our site, email us your speech to myutahjazz@gmail.com and together we will let all the world know that
"This time, is our time".

MoneyMan Memo, you have the podium.


Fellow Jazz homers, about a week ago, my feelings about the Utah Jazz changed.

For years, I had supported the Jazz in a way that perhaps some of you can relate to. I felt like I knew what to expect from the team, which is to say that there was a list of team weaknesses that could befall the Jazz on any given night.

You see, usually I prepare for Jazz games with a mentality that is cautiously (or delusionally, sometimes) optimistic. I hope (but am rarely convinced, truth be told) that they will win, and in the end my only hope is that they compete hard. I see this in the rhetoric on various Jazz blogs....there usually is no post the day of an important game, and if there is, the language typically begins with, "The Jazz better...let's hope the Jazz...hopefully the Jazz won't...." In the last 4 years or so, I think we all pretty much came to expect a certain identity from the team - inconsistency depending upon the caliber of their opponent, inability to win back-to-backs, inability to come back from large deficits due to no quality 3-point shooters, lackadaisacal attitude for road games, penchant for letting opposing 2-guards have huge scoring games, and soft interior defense. I could go on, but this is supposed to be a motivational speech.

Well folks, last week this changed for me. In its place is a new feeling, something that I have never experienced in such pure form about the Jazz.

This feeling was planted on Nov. 3, when they showed their enormous potential as an offensive powerhouse by exploding for 133 points against the Warriors - in total contrast to Sloan's teams of years past. It was also the first game that I realized Ronnie Brewer was going to be a consistent asset as a defender, off-the-ball scorer, and long-limbed athletic wing we had been missing for years.

It began to blossom in the month of November when it became apparent that AK had come around mentally and was going to contribute. It sure helped to hear that Horny was working with him on his jumper again.

It grew some more on Nov. 30, when they beat a Laker team at full strength on national TV with huge contributions from AK, Fesenko, and Milsap in the absence of Boozer and Okur. This performance was critical to the Jazz being able to trust the bench players to run the system in the absence of the starters.

I'm not going to lie - the feeling turned black and nearly died during most of December. To revive it, I kept repeating the old adage that "the only place to go from rock bottom is up", and thank goodness rock bottom occurred in December.

The feeling was resuscitated on Dec 29, 2007, when the Jazz filled a major void in their weaponry by acquiring a deadly 3-point shooter in Kyle Korver. Side note: for the last few years when I used the Jazz in video games (NBA Live, NBA 2k series), I always traded Giricek for Korver and dominated. It's about time KOC and the Jazz front office figured it out.

It shot up on Jan. 25, when Jason Hart went down with a back injury and opened the door for Ronnie Price (took you long enough, Sloan!) to emerge as a competent backup to Deron and play better than any backup PG the Jazz have had for the last 5 years.

It swelled at the end of January when they went on a crucial 10-game win streak to save the season and demonstrate that they could be consistent. That streak included an amazing home win against the Spurs to get the monkey from last year's playoffs off their backs.

It grew by leaps and bounds on Feb. 27 when they rallied from 15 down against the Pistons to win by holding the Pistons for 12 minutes without a field goal - the intestinal fortitude they displayed to do that against that particular team under those circumstances (when they had just lost in Minnesota the night before, ho-hum) showed me resiliency I had never seen before.

It was renewed and refreshed on March 8 when the Jazz avenged the loss against Denver earlier in the season (Linas Kleiza, meet the porous Utah defense) by walloping the Thuggets for 132 points.

It grew in February and March when D-will got pissed about not making the All-star team and Boler's constant props for Boozer's double-doubles, so he went out and starting dropping double-double's like it was nobody's business. Hell yeah.

It grew on March 31 when C.J. Miles set a career high against the Wizards and proved that he could be a game-changer and spark off the bench when needed.

It expanded further in March when Sloan admitted to letting Deron make most of the play-calls during the game, thereby showing his change as a coach and the confidence he had in the Jazz floor general.

And it began to grow feverishly about a week ago, after the Jazz absolutely destroyed the Spurs in a critical game for both teams jostling for playoff position.

This feeling, growing in intensity and breadth with each passing day of the season, is something I believe the Jazz are experiencing just as I am. It's a feeling that I'm sure the Spurs have felt many times this past decade as they go into the playoffs. This feeling that I speak of, this feeling that I watch Jazz games with these days…

…this feeling is called confidence.

Yesterday before the Hornets game, I don’t know about you guys, but I honestly had no doubt that they would win handily. This Jazz team is special, and it is manifested in 3 characteristics that have come to make up the team identity:

- Consistent
- Battle-Hardened
- Hungry

History has shown that championship teams have these 3 characteristics, in addition to the following

- Can rely upon the entire supporting cast to contribute in times of need (Price, Harpring, Korver, Miles, Milsap)
- Have experienced adversity during the regular season and know how to respond (see close wins against the Bucks, Knicks, and, yes, losses to the Knicks, Clippers, Bobcats, Timberwolves, Timberwolves, and Timberwolves..sigh)
- Can adapt defensively and offensively to different styles (see wins against the Warriors, Pistons, Suns, Spurs, Celtics, etc..)
- Know how to exploit mismatches (ahem, Deron embarrassing CP3)
- Know how to win on their home court
- Peak at the end of the season and ride that upward mobility to success in the playoffs

If these signs from previous championship teams carry any weight at all, then the next couple of months bode well for the Jazz. Gentlemen, I hope that you share in my confidence that the Jazz will not only make it to the NBA Finals, but win their first championship this year.

C.B. Jack spoke about making sacrifices in a comment a few days ago. Well, I have never been in the state of Utah and have only been able to attend Jazz games in other cities (mostly Oakland, once in San Antonio) over the years. I would be willing to do whatever it takes to watch and support the Jazz should they make it to the Finals. If that means flying to whatever Eastern Conference team's arena it is (either Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, I would guess), then so be it. But the ultimate experience would be to be in the Delta/ESA Center...although I don't even know if tickets could be bought. I would give my savings account (meager as it is), my credit card limit(s), and my right nut to be present and help support our boys as they bring home the title.

Fellow Jazz homers - are you with me?
-MoneyMan Memo

Editors Note: We are with you MoneyMan. Don't you ever forget it.

Where did I get these articles? The internet...prison....bote.

Here are some good reads to kill some time while we wait for the Dallas game:

From SI.com

Most tiresome debate
Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams

So much of the ink spilled and words exchanged about any sport involve debating which player is better or which championship club would beat another one. It sells publications and draws viewers; it's fun. But it's also pointless, like trying to decide which young point guard is the NBA's best: Paul or Williams.

Both have their teams contending in the Western Conference. Both direct their teams like 10-year veterans instead of the third-year pros they are. And both will be All-Stars for years to come. Can't we all agree that they are both great? That any team would be lucky to have either player? In other words, must Bear vs. Shark have a winner? Both get the job done. Let's leave it at that.

From Hornets Hype

I am now dumber for having watched that game.

From Ball Don't Lie

Kyle Korver wants to sign your baby...

From The Mattness at Hardwood Paroxysm

Creepy.

From Nugg Doctor

Poor Nuggets. This is the result of a lifestyle of thuggary.

From Utah Jazz.com

More boring cliche quotes from Sloan. yawn...

Enjoy.

Chris Paul for MVP? "I don't think so" says The Association

Check out this priceless post on "the association".

Finally people are starting to take the Hurricane Katrina goggles off.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

4.8.08 Jazz @ Hornets

For real Christopher? Get out of his way!


N
ot everyone thought tonight's basketball match was very much fun. Isn't that right Christopher?

After tonight's wickedly awful shooting performance by our two "Future of the NBA" star players, I've decided we should look down another avenue for a rivalry...

and so it begins...


Ronnie Price


versus

Jannero Pargo


Let's start the debate: Who made the better decision for backup PG?

Does Jannero feel like he has a chip on his shoulder because the Jazz offered Ronnie a 2 year 2m deal?

Who will be the first to average 10 points and 4.5 assists? While Ronnie is quicker, I really like Jannero's size. It allows him to post up a little more. However Ronnie can get to the whole with such ease. This is a debate that ......

I'm bored. Let's move on.


Did anyone else notice the scoring tonight came in bunches of 6? That first half was pretty excruciating to watch. I was sure that CP3 and D-Will were going to bust out the second half and go at each others throats.
As you can see...it didn't happen. Thanks for the combined 4-22 effort gentlemen. Don't worry though Chris, as long as you keep sleeping around with every media outlet in the nation, you will win MVP. While the Jazz didn't look great, the Hornets looked even worse. Nothing like two teams holding each other to season lows in scoring...on the same night.


Booner hit it on the head, The Jazz D was excellent tonight. People can say "but NO didn't shoot the ball, that is why they lost."


No shiz Sherlock. It's because the shot clock was running down and they couldn't get a clean look. Also known as the opposing team playing good defense. Come up with a better excuse than that Hornets fans.


I'm waiting for MoneyMan Memo's speech. Gather up your suitcases, pets, and children....it's time to get on the bandwagon.


Final Score: Jazz 77, Hornets 66

Links:
Basketball John
Biased Fan
Frank Layden Lovers
Hornets 24/7
ESPN



****Rather than update my game recap, I passed the torch to My Utah Jazz reader Mark. Here is what he had to say about the game...it basically mirrors my thoughts.

Mark said...
I can honestly say I have never seen back to back better 'DEFENSIVE' games by a Jazz team, and I have been a JazzFanMan ever since the move to SLC, so that's been awhile. How unreal (and uncharacteristic for this years team anyway) is it to hold last year’s champs to 64 and then the west conference leaders to 66? A hypnotist must have told them before the NO game that "you are the Jazz, you are still in NO, this is a home game!”

They sure looked like the home team. A couple of things that stood out and I still can’t believe; 22 turnovers on the road and still win, and (thanks to DJ for this one,) The Jazz score 9 in the 4th and still win by 11? Holy hell!! We ARE in a parallel universe. They continue to play defense like this and nobody can touch them home OR away. The entire team played defense. I honestly think the reason we only scored 77 was our intense focus on the ‘D,’ and in the end it’s a ‘W.’ Doesn’t really matter if the final scores are 55 to 51 as long as we win although scores like that won’t be good for ratings but ‘oh well.’

The ‘Turk’ is the key. Memo is an animal and whatever special place that man is in KEEP HIM THERE! To have the two cold war boys start the game like that for us is like, wow! Jerry has also tightened the rotation to his ‘playoff’ rotation and I like it. Everyone played great overall, everyone hustled even though a couple of guys could have shot the ball a little better, ok, a LOT better (you know who you are KK.) Can we not go to a Jr. high in visiting cities, hand out about 10 or 12 Jazz blue shirts and give them tickets to the game? (My personal favorite of Mark's comment)

Boozer is playing both ends, Memo is playing like and all-star, and DW’s team wins regardless of his personal stats, a ‘true’ point guard in every sense. CP3 and DW both only score 4 but who’s team dominates the entire game. Who ‘leads’ his team as a point guard should and thinks ‘team first?’

Bottle this guys. There is no reason they can’t go 4-0 the rest of the way playing like this. And one more thing, there was a shot of West, CP3, & Peja that was pure Deja Vue from the Spurs game when Parker, Duncan, & ManoFlop were sitting there late in the game and they knew it was over. Sweetness.

Thanks Mark.

Take That CP3!

I realize half of you have the game Tivo'd and have yet to watch the game but I could not wait! It wasn't pretty but the Jazz "D" does it again. (I can't believe I am actually making reference to the Jazz "D.") Neither D-Will or CP3 lit it up, however, D-Will won the battle of the dimes with 16!






I would love to share highlights etc. of the game and I am sure we will have some later, but so far, ESPN, SI etc. have yet to mention it. I am sure they will play it down and focus on CP3's next game. That's fine with me though, leaving New Orleans with a "W" is all I need to sleep well tonight! Nice win Jazz!


Late,


Booner

Chatting up the HO's (Updated with Q&A from Hornets.com)

Here are my questions and the answers from Jim at http://www.hornets.com/:

Question: Playing devils advocate here – Williams and Paul will be forever linked and compared with one another. Tell my why you would rather have Derron Williams on your team instead of Chris Paul?

Answer: At this point, with Chris being in contention for MVP and leading the Hornets to the best season in franchise history, after two straight non-playoff seasons, I would be lying if I said I’d rather have Deron Williams. Obviously, Deron Williams should take no offense to that. Chris has just been that good. I think Deron Williams is a fantastic player and probably isn’t getting enough credit for the season he’s having. But I think if Utah had been 39-43 last season, like the Hornets were, Williams would be getting more attention for sparking a major turnaround.
Williams has the size advantage on Paul and is still probably a better shooter (though CP’s mid-range shot is becoming automatic these days), but other than that I’d give the edge to Paul. With that said, though, the gap between these two guys is not that wide.
After Year 1, everyone said Utah made a mistake by not taking Paul. After Year 2, even Paul acknowledged that Williams deserved more acclaim than Paul, because Williams had led Utah to the Western Conference finals, while Paul had not even been in the playoffs at that point. Year 3 obviously goes to Paul, but who knows what could happen in Year 4? Plus, who knows what will happen in the upcoming playoffs? That will affect people’s perceptions of these guys tremendously.

Question: If you could draft one team from the players on the Jazz and Hornets only who would you pick for each position plus 2 bench guys?

Answer: I hate to bail on this one, but I’d rather not say which Jazz player(s) I prefer to Hornets players, especially since I have to talk to the guys in the Hornets locker room on a regular basis.
This isn’t really an answer, but it’s interesting that both teams’ top two players are at point guard and power forward. It makes for some tremendous matchups at those spots. Plus, all four guys are still young, meaning this New Orleans-Utah rivalry could become a great one in the Western Conference soon. I know our fans really look forward to these games and view the Jazz as one of the Hornets’ biggest rivals, especially among teams that aren’t even in our division.

Question: If the Hornets can keep the number 1 seed, would you rather see Denver, Golden State or Dallas get the 8 seed and would you least want to see get it?

Answer: We addressed this at length in our blog on Hornets.com (shameless plug: it’s called Big Easy Buzz and anyone is welcome to participate in it... even Jazz fans) the other day. There are many different opinions on this, but I think the consensus among fans is that Denver would be the best matchup. Golden State seems to be the team that scares Hornets fans the most.
If I had to briefly summarize the reasoning, it’s because of the Nuggets’ penchant for porous defense. On the other hand, the Warriors frighten me partly based on what they did in the playoffs last year. They are such an explosive, unpredictable team that I can’t imagine anyone would be thrilled about having to match up against them in the first round. Golden State also won in New Orleans this season, ending the Hornets’ nine-game win streak. Denver was routed in its lone trip to the Big Easy.

Question: Considering that most of the key players on your team are playoff virgins, what would you consider a successful run?

Answer: That’s a tough one to answer, because at the beginning of the season the team’s goal was just to make the playoffs. Now that they are in the unexpected position of possibly earning a No. 1 seed, it’s hard to gauge what would be rated as successful or unsuccessful. I think most fans would probably say it would be an unsuccessful postseason if the team loses in the first round. Other than that, and even if that does happen, I don’t think there will be many people around here using the word “disappointing” to describe this season. It has already surpassed all expectations. Plus, with the Western Conference being so difficult, the Hornets could be in the strange position of being a No. 1 or No. 2 seed but picked by some analysts to lose in the first round. This quote from David West the other day summarizes the uniqueness of the situation: “We obviously are the underdog. Nobody is going to pick us to win our series, so we’ll go in free-flowing and full of energy. We have nothing to lose and I don’t think there is going to be any pressure on us.”
As far as the playoff experience of the Hornets, there is no doubt that these guys have no experience together. West is the only player who was on the team the last time they made it (2004). But the idea that the Hornets are completely untested may be slightly overstated. New Orleans has several key contributors with multiple trips to the playoffs in their past, including Peja Stojakovic (59 playoff games), Bonzi Wells (36), Jannero Pargo (21), Morris Peterson (19) and Tyson Chandler (12). Among the Hornets who’ve been in the nine-player rotation recently, only Paul, second-year big man Hilton Armstrong and rookie forward Julian Wright will be new to the postseason. Also, third-string point guard Mike James was a key reserve on the 2004 NBA champion Detroit Pistons and has appeared in 29 playoff games.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I had a chance to answer some questions for the official NBA site of the Hornets. Hopefully they will be able to respond in kind later today. Below is a transcript of the proceedings as well as a link to the interview on their site. Enjoy!

http://www.nba.com/hornets/news/Rival_Report_Jazz_Blogger_Jed-266459-2057.html

Hornets.com: With only a week remaining in the regular season, what will be the biggest keys to success for the Jazz in the 2008 playoffs?
Kassing: Defense, defense, defense. When the Jazz buckle down and put forth the effort on defense they can be scary good. The few games that come to mind are the recent win over San Antonio and the game in Boston. During both games the Jazz were really active on defense and showed that they are capable of beating anyone. Hopefully you will get to see it first hand on Tuesday night there in New Orleans.

Hornets.com: What are the most prominent areas where the Jazz have shown improvement or regression since the 2007 playoffs, when they were a surprise participant in the Western Conference finals?
Kassing: I would say that our three-point shooting has been a real improvement this year especially with the addition of Korver. Overall our two-guard spot has become very solid for us with Brewer and Korver, and even C.J. Miles has contributed when called upon. Offensively we are just very efficient and can be deadly when the threes are falling. Defensively we have regressed and I can’t really say why. Maybe Derek Fisher was able to direct the effort better on the floor or maybe our guys got a little greedy for offensive stats. It’s quite frustrating as a fan to watch it.

Hornets.com: Who would you choose as the biggest “X-factor” for Utah in the postseason, a possibly under-the-radar player who will be key for the Jazz?
Kassing: Jarron Collins and Jason Hart – just kidding. Seriously I think that it is Memo Okur. For some reason opposing teams tend to forget about him on the perimeter and he can just flat out kill you when he’s open. When he wants to he can be a pretty good defender as well. I would also say that if we get anything at all from Kirilenko it would be a bonus. As a fan we do not expect much out him anymore so when he has a good game it’s a big surprise.

Hornets.com: Utah has one of the largest discrepancies between home and road success in the NBA. Nearly every team is better at home than on the road, but how do you explain the Jazz’s drastic differential?
Kassing: I think that we have narrowed it down to being Jerry Sloan’s fault. He must not properly motivate them to play well on the road because it seems like we have been losing to the worst teams in the NBA for years now. The road record is a bit deceiving however because we have done pretty well against the better teams in the league, it’s the non-playoff teams that give us heartburn. We honestly feel more confident about going in to play the Hornets than we would the Timberwolves.

Hornets.com: Overall, what do you think would qualify as a successful postseason for the Jazz? Reaching the West finals again? Advancing past the first round?
Kassing: If we can make the Western Conference Finals again I would deem that a success. The talent is there to win it all, but it’s going to be incredibly hard to win any series this year.

Hornets.com: Lastly, which player is your blog endorsing in the MVP campaign? Chris Paul, perhaps?
Kassing: Hmmm, this is a hard one. Chris is having an excellent year, MVP-worthy for sure, but we tend to think that our boy D-Will is a little better. Call us homers, but I am sure that you all feel the same so I just can’t bring myself to voting for him as the overall leader. I can’t vote for Kobe either. LeBron is putting up some serious numbers so he has to be there, but I think I would give it to KG right now. He has made that biggest overall impact on his team and seems the most valuable to me.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bring on the Hornets

Awesome game by the Jazz on Friday night, that was the defensive effort that we are going to need for the rest of the year. That game tied the franchise low in scoring for the Spurs. It also tied the league mark for missed wide open lay-ups in a row from one player by Matt Harpring. You are dang lucky that the Jazz did not need those buckets Matt or we would be serving you up as the main course for the next week. You could see it in his eyes when he went up for those layups, there was no confidence at all. The thoughts going through his mind had to be so depressing.

On to the Hornets - or as they are more commonly reffered to by the media as "MVP front-runner Chris Paul and the Hornets". I think I am just going to shorten their name to HO's for today. Is anyone else sick of the non-stop Chris Paul love affair that we are being subjected to? I understand, he is having a good season, historic even, but enough is enough. Let's see it happen in the playoffs once before we annoint this kid king and ruler of the NBA. This game is as big as it gets for the Jazz. In the long run it will most likely mean nothing in the standing's, but to beat the HO's in New Orleans after the smack down on the Spurs would make quite the statement to the rest of the NBA. I think that we will see an epic point guard duel this game with the X-factor being Ronnie Brewer coming back from injury to score 20 + points and get 4 steals. The question marks for the Jazz are going to be can the 3-point shooting stay hot and can Booze put together back to back above average defensive efforts. Let's hope so.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

4.2.08 Jazz vs. Those Pesky Timberwolves

While we all had butterflies in our stomach, we all would have gone to Vegas and bet on the Jazz to cover the 14 point spread. And they did.

Everyone was excited for this game.

Grandma Mabel didn't even have time to look in the mirror as she
drove on her Jazzy (pun intended) to roll down to the game.


video

Have the Jazz ever been this much fun to watch? Every player on the court looks like he is having the time of his life...except Andrei. Does he want out? Did his calf bother him that much that he had to look like it was torture being on the court? I can't believe I am about to write this....but....I think CJ....Miles....is....a mediocre player. I actually would rather have him on the court than Andrei right now. Not because he is a better player, but his attitude is in line with the rest of the team. Andrei seems like he is on a different planet right now. I bet he goes home and lounges around in his old Russian team uniforms, listening to his wife's crappy Russian pop music, eating dry potatoes and dancing like this.

He must be playing video games again.

Jazz played good. Wolves didn't. I was really excited to see Mark "The Mad Dog" Madson get in the game.







I will always say this guy had Jazz man written all over him. How did we not pick him up when we lost Adam Keefe?

Deron to CJ was one of the prettiest Alley-Oops this year.

You gotta love this stat:
Final Score: Jazz 117, Pesky Wolves 100
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