Wednesday, November 26, 2008

He's (Coming) Back

Deron Williams is coming right back at you tonight in Utah's game against Memphis.  The Deseret News is so excited they came up with really convoluted, hard to understand holiday metaphor for the situation:

"Whenever Williams does indeed play again, it will be a return much more satisfying than the annual day-after-Christmas exchange of two really gaudy sweaters and one shirt that doesn't fit for something that might actually get worn."

I guess that means D Will is a really sweet button-down that you can wear to the club and get ladies as you lead the Jazz to a championship.  Or something.  

Anyway, my more basketball-related take on the whole situation: assuming he can get back to full speed quickly, this injury isn't the worst thing in the world.  The Jazz are 9-6 and he's had a chance to take a breather after a long summer of travel and Olympic ball.  And Brevin Knight got more looks than he otherwise would have, which could pay off down the road.  

One other injury note: Boozer is still out, but in his place Millsap has been averaging 14.5 and 7 in only 21 minutes of action per game.  Not a bad sign for somone who could be moving into that job full-time next year. . . 

The REAL Injury Update

While the SL Trib is reporting that D Will may be back on the court tonight, we would be better served to analyze the real injury currently undermining the Jazz's efficiency.
Jaron Collins is now considering surgery on his elbow after a massively terrifying golf cart accident this summer. The poor guy. Golf is for hard-core nut jobs, and he was sucked into a situation he never should have been in as a result of unprecedented peer pressure from his brother Jason. Regardless, if he is out at least 8 weeks, who will catch the starters' heat pads? Who will give chest bumps during player introductions?
Look at Jarron in this photo (above). Who else can fill that role for the Jazz? WHO? With Jarron out, the Jazz falter. He is our diplomat, our classy leader, our academic warrior, and best fouler. Get well soon Jarron!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Walking Wounded

The Jazz are as beat up as they've ever been right now, which is a bit frightening because we're only 12 games into the season and just about everyone on the team is under 30. Our two best players are sidelined, Boozer with a quad strain that sounds suspiciously bad to me although Jazz brass are claiming he'll probably only miss a couple of games. On to the good news though: Harp is back at full force and we're playing in San Antonio tomorrow where we never have problems. With Matt playing 30+ minutes against the Spurs at the Alamodome, my prediction is a 25-point Jazz victory.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

I couldn't help but notice last week that the Jazz's November 12 game was to be televised on ESPN. As a Jazz fan living outside of the Beehive State, I mark these games on my calendar. But as I sat down with my bowl of popcorn and my big foam finger, ESPN pulled the game . . . which made me wonder, how do the Jazz match up when it comes to nationally televised games (TNT, ESPN, and ABC)? Here is the breakdown of Playoff contenders in the West:
  • Lakers - 23 nationally televised games
  • Suns - 22 nationally televised games
  • Mavs - 18 nationally televised games
  • Spurs - 16 nationally televised games
  • Hornets - 12 nationally televised games
  • Nuggets - 12 nationally televised games
  • Rockets - 11 nationally televised games
  • Blazers - 10 nationally televised games (did not make the playoffs last year)
  • Jazz - 9 nationally televised games (once you subtract the November 12 game)
So let it be written, the Jazz are the only playoff contenders in the West who dip into single digits when it comes to nationally televised games.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Heating Up

When the Jazz are healthy and playing at home, they’re pretty lethal. The Suns found out

· CJ Miles hit for 21 points on 9-13 shooting, his best performance of the season. He had 15 points in the first quarter alone. With some confidence and PT, perhaps he can give us consistent production.

· Boozer recorded his 6th double-double of the season. He tallied 21 points and 15 rebounds against the Suns.

· AK47 had a stellar night against the Suns, producing a stat-line of 19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 crucial blocks on Shaq during the 4th quarter rally.

· Brevin Knight led the charge with 12 points and 6 assists in only 21 minutes. He’s proving to be a key contributor off the bench for the Jazz.

· Collins played 13 minutes and had 2 fouls… nothing else. Lethal!

· The Jazz scored the most points in a game (109), so far, in this young season.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"If I Can Pick Up Some Fouls, I Will"

Don't worry Jazz fans, because Jarron Collins is being launched into the starting line up tonight against Shaq.
And what did Jarron have to say about his opportunity tonight? "If I can pick up some fouls against him, I will." I think that is a worthy goal. After all, picking up fouls is what wins ball games.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Playing Short-handed

Andrei Kirilenko... sprained index finger.

Deron Williams... sore ankle.

Mehmet Okur... attending his seriously ill father.

The Jazz are much maligned. Kirilenko can't even catch the basketball. Deron may have come back from injury too early (note... he won't play Saturday night versus Cleveland either). And Memo is, rightfully and respectfully, still visiting his father in Turkey.

Even when playing healthy during this road trip, the Jazz haven't performed all that well, losing to both the Knicks and the winless Wizards. Now we have to face serious injuries in addition to serious performance issues.

On the bright side, Kosta Koufos has played fantastic ball in recent games (in place of Memo). And both Ronnie Price and Brevin Knight have filled in ably at point guard when Deron has been out. With AK47 sitting the bench, Matt Harpring and possibly Morris Almond may finally get some minutes to play and perform. The good thing about the Jazz team is... its bench is incredibly deep and capable of filling needs, playing well and getting victories. We'll see if that will be the case tonight as the Jazz play the Bobcats on the road in Charlotte. Go Jazz!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

At least he's flexible...

We, at The Cowhide Globe, have often wondered how Jarron Collins developed his mad hops, cat-like reflexes, and brute strength. Thanks to our friends at the Salt Lake Tribune, we now have our answer: yoga and distance running. In a blog post about the P3 Training Facility Collins attempted to work out at over the summer, Ross Siler provided this insight into our favorite Jazz player's offseason routine.

"Jarron Collins was cited as an example. Elliott said Collins' off-season training largely consisted of distance running and yoga, which didn't correspond to his role with the Jazz, which is coming off the bench and playing for short stretches as a backup center.

By training this way, Collins' explosion off the ground suffered, Elliott found. In the context of a game, Collins would be far more likely to come down with a rebound, then go back up and have his shot blocked than convert the putback.

But Elliott said such weaknesses can be corrected quickly. Although Collins isn't about to have Brewer's hops, he could see gains of roughly 30 percent relatively quickly. Unfortunately, Collins was injured in a golf-cart accident and his work at P3 cut short."

As Jazz fans, we can only dream of what this season would be like had Collins not suffered his ill fated golf-cart accident. Can you imagine 30% more Collins? Absolutely unstoppable! Well, at least we know he's flexible and can run long distances.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


3-8 from the field with five boards, two blocks, and a steal in 21 minutes!  He's not Shaq yet but it's a decent debut and we got a W on the road.  Here's to Koufos permanently replacing Collins as Memo's backup! 

He's Back

The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that Deron Williams will play against the 76ers tonight in Philadelphia. Perhaps used sparingly, Deron is said to be ready to go. We could certainly use his leadership and court presence out there for the Jazz. Is this a good decision by the Jazz or a sign of desperation? I hope he doesn't aggravate or reinjure his hobbled ankle. It has been 3 weeks since Deron injured his ankle which may have provided ample time for him to recover. Here's to hoping for a safe, early-season debut!

In other related news, as predicted below, Kosta Koufos will make his 1st start for the Jazz at center. With Memo leaving the country to attend to a sick family member, Collins still nursing an elbow injury, and Fess renewing his visa in Canada, Kosta will get the start. Here's to hoping he plays well!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who starts at center?

The Desnews is reporting that Memo is out for tomorrow night's game and for the foreseeable future. Apparently a family illness will keep him in Turkey. We wish Memo's family the best.

The article also notes that Fesenko is in Canada working on visa issues. And Collins, aside from not really being a center or a basketball player, is still hurt. So, who does that leave as the starting center in tomorrow's game against the 76ers? Maybe this guy:

That's right. The first round draft "steal" may be an NBA starter before he has posted a single point, rebound, assist, steal, or block in the NBA. Kosta's career stats to this point include zero points on 0-3 shooting and one personal foul in a little over six minutes of action.

Our starting lineup on Tuesday may be Boozer, Ronnie Price, Ronnie Brewer, CJ Miles, and Kosta. That's eastern conference lottery team quality. This road trip just got a whole lot more interesting.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How Good Are the Jazz?

After last night's loss to the Knicks the Jazz no longer have the best record in the NBA.  But how good are they?  We'll know more at the end of this eastern road trip, but I think the answer is "quite good".  Consider the following:
  • The Jazz are blowing teams out of the water.  Our scoring differential -- which the stats gurus at ESPN think is a better indication of future success than W-L record (for the record, I agree) -- is +8, which puts us at third in the league.  Only Atlanta and the Lake Show are better.  Sidenote: the Lakers are winning by an average of more than 22 points a game, including a 20-point blowout of an Artest/Yao/McGrady led Rockets team last night.  The Lakers are really, really good this year.  It's scary.
  • Harpring and Collins, two rotation guys, are still injured.  In my book this is an argument for keeping them out or at least drastically reducing their minutes when they come back.  Brewer had a great game yesterday (seven steals!) and Millsap has been solid all year.  Better to get those young, talented guys more reps than slash their minutes for Harp and Collins.  
  • D Will is still out and will be for at least the next four games.  We probably win in New York with him. . . it will be nice to have him back at the point soon! 
  • The elite teams in the West aren't looking super elite this year.  Besides the frightening signs out of LA, no team in the conference other than the Jazz has sprinted out of the gates.  Phoenix is 5-2 but it looks like Nash has lost a step.  The Rockets are 4-3.  Chris Paul and Co. are a respectable but not earth-shattering 4-2 and their wins have been fairly close.  Finally, the hated Spurs are 1-4 and Tony Parker is out for at least a month.  Say good night, San Antonio!  


In reality, the title of my post should probably read… “ticked”. At least that’s how I feel regarding this loss to the Knicks. The mighty New York Knicks of Madison Square Garden beat our Jazz 107-99 in the first game of a 5-game road swing for the Jazz on the East Coast. That’s right. New York… and its scary trio of Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph, and Nate Robinson came away victorious.

Are you kidding me? I know we’re playing without Deron Williams, but shouldn’t the Jazz beat the Knicks regardless of the circumstance? It’s not like the Knicks have Hurricane Ditka on their sideline. Their superstar-studded roster lauds such special talents as David Lee, Quentin Richardson, Chris Duhon and Wilson Chandler. Mardy Collins and Anthony Roberson should probably get some serious mention as well. Are you joking me? We lost to this bunch of worthless losers? Would any of these guys even crack our starting line-up? Let alone our roster?
Goodness gracious, Jazz. I know we’re allowed to have a bad game every once in a while (and 22 turnovers spells bad), but come on, we’re better than this. What it really spells is trouble… something that I’ve worried about all along. The Jazz just plain and simply suck/choke (you choose the verb) on the road. We lose the unimportant, lackluster road games that we shouldn’t. Last season, the Jazz manufactured the best home record in the NBA, only to squander a ‘boat-load’ of games on the road. Let’s cut the crap Jazz: Cut the turnovers, step up the D and play with some added fury and motivation against these sorry-sack of East Coast losers. I don’t want to make this a common trend (which we always have in the past). Jerry can’t be happy about this outcome.

Our next games are as follows:

11/11 @PHI 7:00pm
11/12 @WAS 8:00pm
11/14 @CHA 7:00pm
11/15 @CLE 7:30pm

How do we finish off the road swing?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Four and Oh!

What I like…

More Millsap: The Sap has been phenomenal for the Jazz to begin the year. His 24-point, 9 rebound-outing vs. the Clippers on Monday was sensational. I believe Millsap will get more PT as the year progresses.

6th Man Flourishing: Kirilenko has been awesome as the team’s Sixth man. His numbers, and production are currently ‘up’ from a season ago, averaging 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.25 steals and 1.5 blocks. This is the spot where he belongs.

Boooozer: The Booz has played well for the Jazz. He’s averaging 20.8 points and 10 rebounds per game. Boozer, Millsap and Kirilenko have garnered extended playing time on the floor together. It has proven to be a lethal combination.

The Right Knight: Brevin Knight fits into the Jazz scheme perfectly. He runs the team impressively and gets the ball into the right spots. He has the right blend of pass-first mentality, player set-up ability and good assist-to-turnover ratio.

Unselfishness: This might be the best passing team in the NBA. The Jazz know how to share the ball and distribute to the open man. Kirilenko leads the charge, oftentimes passing up shots he ought to take. Brewer has been an incredible passer. He understands his limitations and gets the ball to the right players.

What I’d like to see…

CJ Rising: CJ Miles hasn’t played particularly well as a starter. He’s only played an average of 15 minutes per game. I think it’s tough for him to get into a groove when he’s considered the 4th option on the 1st unit. He’s usually replaced quickly by Kirilenko at the 1st quarter-midpoint mark. Regardless, he’s getting his opportunity.

Steady Price: I believe Ronnie Price is getting better as a point guard in the Jazz system. His numbers aren’t overwhelming, but his assist rate has improved dramatically. He does a better job of staying under control and finding the right teammates for easy buckets.

Brew Crew: I believe Brewer deserves more playing time. He’s been sensational on the floor when he’s gotten minutes. I’d like to see his minutes elevated to 30 per game.

DWill @ 100%: Let’s not risk bringing Deron back too soon. We ought to make sure that he’s 100% ready before he returns to the floor. Why risk the possibility of increased injury when our team is playing so well? His time off allows our back-up point guards to receive additional seasoning and playing time.

Vet Relaxation: While I hope that both Harpring and Collins get well, I don’t think we have any use for them on this team. Our positions are set: CJ starts, Kirilenko plays 6th man, Korver comes off the bench, Brewer plays more minutes, Boozer, Millsap & Memo fill the post. We could certainly use another post presence inside. Would anyone bite on a trade for Almond, Harpring or Collins? Probably not.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Quite A Line!

Is Boozer still planning on going to Miami at season's end? Well, not to worry. Here is Millsap's line from last night:

-32 Minutes
-8 of 12 from the field (66%)
-8 of 8 from the line (100%)
-9 rebounds
-2 assists
-2 steals
-1 block

Monday, November 3, 2008

Good-Bye A.I.

On behalf of the Western Conference, let me be the first to extend a warm farewell to Allen Iverson, who helped the Nuggets become mired in mediocrity during his short stint in Denver.
Unfortunately, I am not as pleased to welcome Billups to the mile-high city. As a Jazz fan, I do not like this trade. Billups is 1) from Denver (which may give him incentive to take this seriously), 2) he is bigger and stronger than AI, 3) he is a better leader than AI, and 4) he is much more of a team player than AI, which translates into better looks for Melo. But even more importantly, this Nuggets shake-up cannot hurt the team, since it sucked pretty bad as is.
Now, let's see if Stephen A. Smith has learned to temper his Nuggets enthusiasm (after proclaiming that they would represent the West in the NBA Finals after acquiring Iverson).