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.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jazz vs. Lakers Game 6 Recap and Series Thoughts

So I have finally had the guts to watch a few recaps and read a few Internet sites about Game 6. I was there along with Booner and we had a great podcast all ready to put together. The only problem? The Jazz lost. Bye bye podcast.

The crowd was absolutely electric on Friday night. Almost everyone you could see had Jazz gear on in some form or another. Salt Lake City had officially become "Jazz City". Booner and I took Mrs. Jack and Mrs. Booner out to eat before the game to show what classy husbands we were (knowing we would turn into 13 year olds the minute the ball was tipped).

The video isn't the greatest but I wanted people to get a feel for how loud the ESA was. It was a great basketball experience.

Then the ball tipped...

It was the first time as a Jazz fan that you could hear a pin drop in the stadium. The place had gone numb. We were watching a car wreck and couldn't do anything but let our jaws drop and shake our heads in disbelief. It was an eerie silence that almost never comes over a home crowd in the post season.

It was quickly becoming apparent that our Jazz weren't coming with any type of playoff intensity. It was if they thought the Lakers were going to just roll over and let the Jazz win so they could try and finish in LA. The Lake Show had different plans.

I have no complaints about the first half officiating. I felt like the Jazz played slow and out of sync. They put themselves into a really bad situation. It was nobodies fault but their own. They were shooting around 33% which won't win any game. Especially against a talented Lakers team who was shooting well over 50% by the end of the first half. When Deron was called for that foul on Fisher's three pointer, the place went ballistic. I could only see what the jumbo-tron was showing, and it didn't look like a foul. A post game phone call with my good Laker buddy Chad convinced me that there was some arm and body contact. Whatever. I'm fine with that.

The second half was mostly the same. The Jazz kept feeding the ball to Boozer, only to watch him get swatted by Gasodom. Boozer's body language showed that he wanted nothing more than to get out of the game and not be on that court. He fouled out in the 4th and got his wish. He played nervous, beaten, and slow. I don't know what is going on in his life, but I don't care. There was no reason he couldn't have left it all behind on that court. He had everyone on his side. 20,000 Jazz fans wanted nothing more than to see the Booze Hound break out and get his swagger back. Instead, he broke the heart of 19,500 people that night.

The last 3:00 of the game was a site to see. We had to fight back and the only option was to let the 3's rain down. They kept falling as the Jazz traded a 3 pointer for 2 foul shots. Not a bad strategy if only they had started with 3:30 left in the game. Time was not on their side. When AK threw up a three from the top of the key with 24 second left, I threw up in my mouth, only to see the soon-to-be Frenchman drop the ball and get us back in the game. Later when Fish was at the line, it was like watching a bad soap opera. The once hero turned villain was about to smother any hope in the ESA by knocking down two clutch free throws. If he hit them both, it would be a two possession game. The first snapped the net as it went through. The second hit off the front of the iron. What? Who wrote this ending? Millions of Lakers fans in unison put their hands above their head and screamed "noooooo" (probably a lot more rated R words that we don't allow on My Utah Jazz). The Jazz weren't supposed to have a chance at this point in the game. They had been down by as many as 17 in the second half. And there it was, a 3 point deficit with 11 seconds left.

The crowd was louder than any public event of any kind I have participated in. It was deafening (and I was on the 12th row of the upper bowl, I cannot imagine the sound on the court). Deron pushed the ball up court to Korver who planted and squared to the basket like he wanted the shot, only to pass it off to Memo who was trailing him and pulled up about 12 inched behind the three point line. His shot clanked off the front of the rim. An offensive rebound got the ball back to Deron giving him a chance to silence all the critics and tie the game. His shot was off to the left as well. The final horn sounded. Immediately the ESA started pumping "Stop and Stare" by OneRepubic into the speakers. How poetic. That was all we could do. Stop and stare as a promising season come to end.

As the crowd gave our Jazz a standing ovation as they went to the exit portal for the last time this season, I realized that despite my homer love, my blind eyed views, my inability to accept that another team was truly better than the Jazz, the Lakers were a better team than us for this series. The Jazz never fully got their offense into the form that we had seen all season. The only player in my eyes who gave the series the respect it deserved was Deron Williams. He proved that he is a superstar in this league and any team he plays with will have a chance to win despite anyone else on the court.

Keys to the Lakers winning the series:
Derek Fisher. He is a savvy veteran who learned the Jazz system well when he played for the Jazz. It seemed as if he knew when and where the Jazz wanted the ball. His help defense was spectacular throughout the entire series. His story gave unnecessary ammunition to his teammates as they felt like they were seeking revenge for the treatment of their fellow Laker. He shot a great percentage from outside and stayed out of foul trouble in every Laker victory.

Gasodom. These two sucked the life out of Boozer. They gave him no respect and wanted to prove that he would have to earn every rebound and every layup. Nothing would come uncontested. They had Boozer demoralized to a point of no return after game 2. Anyone who says Boozer found himself and broke through in game 4 is wrong. He was lucky that game. The Lakers interior defense smothered anything the Jazz wanted to do inside. There were 8 feet in the paint every time Boozer touched the ball.

Matt Harpring. Great guy. Great leader. Too bad he just doesn't know when to stop shooting the ball. His ill advised baseline jumpers and missed layups cost the Jazz a lot of momentum in LA. He could have gotten under the skin of Kobe but never did so. He played old, tired, and sore.

That's it. I'm not putting Kobe in there because I think he played exactly how we all expected him to play. He was dominating. As an MVP should be.

Congratulations Los Angeles Lakers, you won the series fair and square. You proved you wanted this series more than the Jazz did. You didn't have any visa problems to worry about. You were in it for the long haul.

To all Laker fans: Thanks for stopping by and reading our blog. I really mean it. You brought a lot of fight and spitfire with you and were able to get under Jazz fans skin on occasion. You made the series fun for us. This is what being a fan of the NBA is all about. We do have one thing in common. We love this game. We love our teams. We are what makes being an NBA fan great. When the season is over, we are all the same. We're all homers for our team. We all think the refs are out to get us. We all think that we are superior to anyone and anything in an opposing uniform. I look forward to next year's postseason as the Lakers and Jazz solidify themselves as the NEW Western Conference Powerhouses.


Matthew said...

Great recap. Even as a Lakers fan, I enjoyed reading this blog throughout the series. The Jazz (and specifically that guy named Deron) impressed me a lot and I look forward to meeting you guys in the playoffs again soon.

And just for fun, based on previous perceptions:
Jazz players who exceeded my expectations: Deron, Brewer, Memo, Millsap
Wondering what all the fuss was about: Harpring, Korver
WTF?: Boozer said...

Haha. I just about hated every Jazz player not named Deron Williams. After watching him play, even with his goofy ass clap from the bench in game 3, I just couldn't hate him. I used to think Chris Paul was hands down better than him, but now I'm not so sure. Deron is a system point guard that doesn't have the free reign that Chris does, and I imagine that plays a big difference in the numbers game. Deron is more offensively versatile, but his hands aren't as quick as Chris's.

As for other Jazz members, I think Millsap offensive fouls on just about every basket. He pissed me off for the better half of the series. And Jerry Sloan is a whiner who set his guys up for an easy letdown at the series' beginning. Citing the Lakers backcourt experience as an edge is, although obvious, distasteful, because it lets doubt creep into your own locker room and gives you a cushion if you lose because you can chalk it up to them having more going for them. If not for us, the Jazz would be in the Conference Finals. I don't care how much experience they don't have. They beat New Orleans if the two played in a series. 5-1, 6 tops.

Dang, is this a comment or a blog? Haha. Good job being a homer. You fired me up Mr. Jack.


Anonymous said...

Derron after this series has officially become one of my favorite players in the NBA after Mr. Bryant. He plays with a killer instinct and fire similar to Kobe. I honestly think CP3 and Derron are much more talented than Lebron James and are even more so because they are not 6' 9" 260lbs.

Kobe and D-Will should dominate this summer in the olympics.

ThePointman said...

I really enjoyed this blog during the series. I may have disagreed with some of the stronger attitudes in the comments about Fish, but I believe this has been a good Jazz blog. Nice and clean, focused on the joy of the game. There is alot to like here.

Regarding the Lakers being better, as much as I love the Lakers, I do partly disagree about that. I'm a Laker fan (I like Jazz too), but I think these western playoff teams were about dead even. After all, this is the year of historic magnificence in the West with each team needing 50 wins just to enter the playoffs. ALL 8 teams won 50. Never has there been a greater crop of seeds in the playoffs.

And between all the playoff teams, there were only a few victories separating them. Fewer now that the bottom seeds (Mavs and Nugs) are out already. Utah had 54 wins. Lakers had 57. That's not a significant difference (outside of the homecourt advantage). Lakers and Utah were equals.

However, the Lakers had the better strategy tonight. Hit hard fast. If you look at the Laker's box score, they expended most of their energy at the start, with diminishing energy in each period. By the end, they were clearly showing fatigue.

The Utah Jazz played a more consistent game. They lost alot in the beginning when the Lakers were at Max Energy, but slowly chipped away until at the end when they clearly had more energy heading toward the finish line.

I see the energy management being THE critical factor in the game. The Lakers use of heavy energy at the start took out the crowd, which reduced the energy the Jazz would have over the entire 48 minutes, enough to where the scoring deficit could not be overcome in the final quarter when the Jazz had momentum.

It wasn't cause of Boozer, or Gasodom, or anything else. Sure it all contributed. But I think the Jazz and Lakers were pretty even in talent. And there is always going to be some players that plays above what you expect in a game, and some that play below what you expect of them. But I believe that all equaled out between these teams.

Clearly the Jazz had expected to be the dominant team in the stadium where they had dominated all season. Plus several Lakers had played poorly when faced with THE loudest most intimidating crowd in the NBA. (blame it on inexperience)

But I've had the great pleasure this year in witnessing a sense of discipline in this team that I have NEVER seen in this century from the Lakers. A consistent drive to win EVERY single game. A blindness to games ahead on the schedule. Instead it's been a complete myopic focus on the ONE game ahead of them. I've been stunned to see the team that focused to win ONE game at a time.

And that discipline made it possible for the Lakers to play well in Utah in game 6. While the Utah Jazz had been a GREAT home team in a very hostile environment, I've been fortunate to have witness the Lakers discovering they are a very good road team. One of the better ones. And that disciplined made it possible to Hit HARD in the opening minutes. Hitting hard and fast also had the advantage of putting the Jazz and their fans off their game. (It didn't help that they came off a loss either) And that effected the energy of the entire game.

Utah is a great team. But Laker's strategy happened to be better that game.

ThePointman said...

BTW....incase my original intent in posting is lost in that long winded post....That was my way of saying, Utah is a damn good team.

This has been a year where each playoff team has achieved excellence. And it's great year to be an NBA fan.

king_mamba said...

props to cbjack...! atleast you've got the balls to see what it is!

anyhoo, i think you trade ak47, my goodness its the playoffs & an elimination game. how can he put a personal issue over a pivotal practice??? did you see how off his game was @ the start???

boozer lost it also...

The Napster said...

So the question about players in Jazz unis next year is an interesting one because of the following:
Jerry Sloan signed a one year extension during this season. The only way he isn't here next year is his own doing.
Paul Millsap can become a free agent this summer if the team decides to opt him out of the final year of his contract. I don't see it happening.
Jason Hart is a free agent this summer.
C.J. Miles is a restricted free agent this summer.
That is the only differences that will come through the free agent side of things. Trades are another story, but the Jazz have always hesitated on moving their big money players.

So what's next?

C.B. Jack said...

I believe Jason Hart has a player option this year. He can choose to stay for 2.5M or go to another team. It depends on whether he thinks he can get more playing time somewhere else (possibly his old team the Clips) or whether he can get more money on another team (doubtful).

Jazz will sign the extension on Milsap.

If Phil Johnson decides to leave then I would question J-Slo coming back. We'll have to wait and see how the other coaching jobs pan out.

chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron Boone said...

Great Post C.B. When it all comes down to it, we cannot be dissapointed in our team. They fought hard and gave the Lakers a run for their money. I do believe the Jazz can hang with this team and I am confident the Front Office with the Jazz will make the right moves. There is a certain fire coming from the Front Office that I have never seem. I just heard an interview with Owner Larry Miller and I was shocked to hear him talk about making sure the Jazz are the top team in the West for years to come. I am also confident we are going to keep D-Will around for a long, long time. If I learned anything this playoff season it is that the Jazz have a superstar growing right in front of their eyes. What a stud! How long has it been since Jazz fans have been so confident about one player? I mean, come on, Adam Keefe was clutch, but I think D-Will has the edge. We cannot let D-Will go!
Here's to a great off-season, lets keep the blog alive through all the off-season drama, trade talk and of course the draft. Oh, and you can count on M.U.J. to cover the Rocky Mountain Review. Can't wait to see Fes-Fest 2008!
Props to C.B. for carrying this blog and to all those who contributed!

C.B. Jack said...


I want to thank the Academy, Jesus, my babies momma, Booner, Hammy, Pick and Roll, Whistle, Horny and all of our regular commenters.

My Utah Jazz had a great Rookie year run and we plan on making a huge leap come next season. I can't wait for the RMR!

Fes: Up close and personal. Look for it coming in July!

Ron Boone said...

The first interview with Fes will go a little like this:

Booner: So, Fes, would you mind answering a few questions for our Jazz Blog.

Fes: "what even is a blog.? It sounds like when Boozer makes poop in room with locker."

Booner: uhhhh, you know what, my cell phone is ringing, let me try to catch up with you later.

Fes: "You not even a reporter. It's probably your wife making you come home to do the dishes. Because you are sissy girl."

Let's just say I will let C.B. or Hammy handle that interview.

pslakerfan said...

I hope this is taken as the complement that it is meant to be, but I have no fear whatsoever about New Orleans or San Antonio. I thought the Jazz were the team to beat in the West and I still think so.

I said a few weeks back that I would take D-Will over CP3, and I still mean it. I think CP3's numbers are inflated because the entire offense runs through him on every play. Deron to me looks like the better player for sure.

See you guys in the years to come, great series, peace.

Ron Boone said...

Coming from you pslakersfan, that is a great compliment. It's nice to see that someone out of Utah agrees with us on the D-Will vs. CP
discussion. Good luck in the next round. Like Charles Barkley said, it was either going to be the Lakers or the Jazz coming out of the West and I completely agree. (Course, now if you lose, we can all say, well the Jazz would have beat them.) Good luck. Hope to chate with you down the road.

C.B. Jack said...

best interview ever.

Ron Boone said...

"chate" means "chat" in French. Sorry about that. I guess French is on my mind because I have been studying up on it before I head out to follow Kirilenko and his wife on their journey thru France for my new book titled, "Jump Shot of Tears. The Story of a Russian Basketball Star turned NBA All-Star, Turned NBA Cry Baby, Turned NBA Player Who Hated Playing for His Team, Turned Co-Owner of His Wifes Boutique."
Look for it to be sold on this very blog next Fall.

pslakerfan said...

I will buy it for sure Ron, and you beat me to the punch on the "chate" thing, lol.

CU next season.

C.B. Jack said...

It's actually "see you" not CU. Thanks for stopping by pslakerfan. I'm sure we'll hear from you again.

Ace said...

I'm a huge Laker fan but unlike a lot of other Laker fans, I don't like to brag and boast when my team wins, unless it's the championship. If there is one thing that I learned from this series, it's that D-Will is just as good, if not better than CP3. I FULLY expect him to replace Nash on next year's All Star Game. I say that we riot if h doesn't. See you next year Jazz.

The Hypocritical One said...

Great post...looking forward to how the Jazz will give playing time for all the young talent---and work in Fes and Almond at the same time.

C.B. Jack said...

I can't wait for Fes to get some playing time. There is talent there. Just need to find it.

Adam said...

This is a tough pill to swallow. It's been three days of mourning and I'm still depressed. There's a hole in my life, and I just don't think Stingers games and the Utah Blaze can fill it.

I consider this season a success, but I'm still disappointed that we let a more favorable playoff seeding slip through our fingers. From this point on, anything less than home court advantage is unacceptable.

You're right, though, the Lakers were the better team this series. They wanted it more.

Jeffrey said...

You have an amazing blog. One of my greatest joys so far this series has been reading your analysis of the series.

You guys shouldn't get too down. D-Will established himself as a true superstar in this series. I'd put him as one of the top 5 players in the league. He brought it every night and he left it all out on the court. You also have a team of unselfish players that understands the team concept better than almost any team in the league.

Moreover, with the youth you guys have, I'm sure the Lakers will be fighting it out with you guys for years and years to come.

Finally, I just wanted to thank you for being classy above all else.

obi-wan said...

Damn, look how long it took you to write this garbage up.

Swell. let's sum up: Lakers owned the Jazz in Utah. Guess the overzealousness of the crowd backfired a little.

The Energy Solutions crowd was a joke, the League should fine the Jazz organization for garbage like that.

Enjoy the rest of the summer, and expect the same next season.

Fairwell Sloan

Booner said...

obi-wan, C.B. wrote this three days ago man. Course, you probably just woke up from your drunken stupor that started the night the Lakers finished the Jazz off. In fact, you may be surprised to hear the Lakers started their series with the Spurs last night. My guess is you will learn of that news on Sunday. Sober up obi.

king_mamba said...

A Kindergarten teacher tells her class she’s a BIG Spurs fan.
She’s really excited about it and asks the kids if they’re Spurs fans too.

Everyone wants to impress the teacher and says they’re Spurs fans too, except ONE kid, ...named Josh.

The teacher looks at Josh and says, “Josh, you’re not a Spurs fan?”

He says, “Nope, I’m a Los Angeles Lakers fan!” She says, “Well why are you a Los Angeles Lakers fan and not a Spurs fan?”

Josh says, “Well, my mom is a Lakers fan, and my dad is a Lakers fan, so I’m a Lakers fan.”

The teacher’s not real happy. She’s a little hot under the collar. She says, “WELL, if your MOMS an IDIOT, and your DADS a MORON, THEN WHAT WOULD YOU BE?!”

Josh says, “THEN I’D BE a SPURS FAN!!”


Scrumtrulescent said...

I find your lack of posts disturbing.

OK, not really. I am just now getting over it.

Booner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Booner said...

Heard that same joke using Obama and Clinton and every other Presidential Canidate over the last 12 years. Funny though.

Scrumtrulescent said...

I hear it all the time out here with the Sox and the Cubs