Game Review: Utah Jazz 94 – Phoenix Suns 110

Game Details

10:30 PM ET, October 28th, 2010
Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

1 2 3 4 Final
PHX 27 31 26 26 110
UTA 22 20 30 22 94

Top Performers
Phoenix: 18 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl
Utah: P. Milsap 19 Pts, 13 Rebs, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk Box Score


I’ll let this post game quote from Deron Williams start things off:

“We don’t know the offense. It’s as simple as that.”

The story from last night was largely the same as the night before. In this iteration, the Suns got out to an early lead and the Jazz struggled – really struggled – to get anything going on offense. Their shot percentage hovered just below 40% through most of the game before ‘improving’ to a 42.9% total at the end of the night.

The difference between last night and the night before was that the Jazz did put together some runs to get back into the game. I counted four distinctive runs in the second half to bring the game within striking distance, but the Suns fought back each time to erase whatever ground was made up.

One small gripe: I sure hope that the refs start loosening the grip on calling fouls/delay of game warnings for ‘exaggerated reactions.’ The Jazz’ best rally came early in the third quarter and was capped by a Williams drive to the basket for a monster dunk. He sparked the crowd, which likely would have extended the rally even further. In excitement, Williams pumped his fist, and slightly hit the ball.  The refs threw a delay-of-game warning/awarded a free throw to the Suns.

I get that the refs are trying to take control of ‘exaggerated reactions,’ but that call killed the Jazz run and sparked a counter-run for the Suns. Reggie Miller was lit up about the call, and believe me, it’s a rare day when I couldn’t agree more with Reggie Miller.

One of the big points of anticipation heading into the season was the prospect that the Jazz could become a lockdown defense on the perimeter. Based on how the Jazz looked last night, they’re well off of that goal so far.

The Suns figured out early that the Jazz are still struggling to make the correct defensive switches on the perimeter. A healthy majority of their offense was spent moving the ball around the three point line and setting screens for each other until someone was left alone. That plan worked very well, resulting in 26 three point shot attempts for the Suns. They made 10 of those 3-pointers, and the seemingly-arbitrary-but-oddly-prophetic stat of the night is that when the Suns hit at least 10 three pointers in a game last year, they were 38-7.

I should also take a moment to acknowledge that the Suns look better than I was expecting them to. I’m not bringing this up as a means to lessen the blow of the Jazz defeat – cause really, the Jazz just plain lost the game – but in my preseason preview, I suggested that the Suns were going to see a drop as a result of losing A’mare. They’re still going to face some challenges when it comes to teams with strong interiors, but they looked really good last night.

Game Quotes

Coach Sloan:

“Well, one of the things that I thought, they came out again and defended us really well, and then they pushed the ball up the floor, they got some fast breaks, and they got off to a great start…we’ve won one out of the last eight quarters we played. I was glad to see us show some life in the third quarter, because I didn’t know if we’d fight back or not, but I thought we fought back. But our energy level wasn’t good enough to keep us going.”

Paul Milsap:

“Things are not going our way. We’ve got to continue to stay with it. I mean we’ve got to continue to get better man. That’s all I can say. We go to practice tomorrow and try to get better.”

Raja Bell:

“We’re a little disappointed. None of us expected to come out and play as poorly as we did the last couple of nights. We have to figure out for us what intensity level is going to be successful and we need to come into games ready to play and not come out flat. Tonight, I can only speak for myself, but I was just trying to do too much; passing up a shot trying to make the perfect pass. Sometimes, when you do that, it’s worse than if you had just put it up on the rim.”

Gordon Hayward:

“I think we’re (just) not competing as well as we should, but we’ll be fine. We’re going to come back tomorrow and improve and it will be a new game on Sunday.”

Steve Nash:

“Well, it was undoubtedly an important game for us. We played pretty well in Portland and just fell apart at the end. Tonight I thought we learned a little bit of a lesson from Portland, we held our composure for longer stretches, and in particular, at the end of the game.”

Quotes from the Salt Lake Tribune.

~ by djepperson on October 29, 2010.

2 Responses to “Game Review: Utah Jazz 94 – Phoenix Suns 110”

  1. I noticed in the first two minutes that the Suns had the Jazz playing their game – running aggressively instead of running the Jazz offense. I didn’t think it was a good sign. The play on offense showed it all game – I don’t recall ever thinking that the Jazz WEREN’T running an offence, and instead were just taking jump shots. There was none of the crispness I am accustomed to seeing. The team looked almost amateur last night.

    Candidly, Deron’s comment gives me some relief. If they don’t yet know the offense, they will be outstanding when they do. The hustle on defense is still there, although the rotations and switching aren’t. At least not yet.

    And one more thing. I became an Earl Watson fan last night. The kid was all hustle, all focus when he was in the game. He did not stop moving.

    Kind of tough watching this game when it was against my second-favorite team (you know I grew up in Arizona) but overall the evening was disappointing. I told my son on the way home that yes, they’re 0-2, but no one was complaining three days ago when they went undefeated in the preseason. There are 80 more games to play …

    • Yeah, I was wondering how it felt to be in the arena last night, insomuch as the Jazz didn’t exactly give the crowd a lot to get excited for.

      I keep coming back to the idea that this is just a bout of growing pains, and that the team will start to feel better with the offense as the season develops. The question really becomes how long its going to take to get there.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m still full of confidence.

      And yeah, Earl Watson is looking better and better. He looked really good in some preseason games too. It’ll be nice to see what he can do on that second squad.

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