Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eric, we hardly knew thee...

Tonight it was announced that the Utah Jazz have sent Eric Maynor (and Matt Harpring's expiring contract) to the Oklahoma City Thunder in return for the rights to Peter Fehse of Germany, who incidentally has logged as many minutes in the NBA as your's truly. The Jazz have no interest in signing Fehse. It is merely a financial move that will save the Jazz around $10 million in luxury taxes.

I'm not surprised that the Jazz made a move to give them some tax relief, but I am surprised that the deal involved our backup PG. Maynor had been a steady contributor, and looks to have a bright future ahead of him in the NBA. In explaining the trade, Kevin O'Connor has said, "the fact is we've got Deron". While it is true that Maynor was never going to challenge Deron for the starting position, one only needs to mention names like Jordie McTavish or Delaney Rudd to understand the importance of a competent understudy at the point.

Tim Buckley also referenced the fact that Deron is averaging 38.5 minutes a game to show that Maynor's exit would not substantially affect the Jazz. This stat is a bit misleading, however, since Maynor and Deron have shared the back court often this season, and the combination has been pretty effective.

This deal may be most telling in terms of the Jazz's current financial situation. If we are willing to trade one of our best young players to an up-and-coming divisional rival for only financial relief in return, it tells me that the Jazz are 1) really hurting financially and/or 2) have it as their first priority to be a money-making organization first and a championship contender second.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rich Revenge

After getting blasted on Wednesday night in LA 101-77, the Jazz came back and showed a little revenge on the Lakers. The Jazz played a phenomenal game, outlasting the Lakers 102-94 at home in the ESA. Being in attendence, I'll share some highlights from the night...

Deron Williams was on his game. He took the LA PGs to the play-ground and absolutely abused them. He had a couple of sweet razzle-dazzle, end-to-end moves that put his defender on their backside while finishing strong at the rim over Laker bigs. The crowd erupted everytime he embarrassed his defender. He was brilliant last night. And it showed in his line of 21 points & 11 assists.

Brewer and Matthews were absolutely fabulous last night! Each player scored 19 points a piece. Considering the fact that each player outplayed Kobe Bryant, we can officially say that last night was definitely "our night" in the ESA. About Matthews... "Please... lets' get this guy on a long-term contract!" The guy is absolutely tough as nails on the floor and won't back down from anybody.

According to ESPN.com... "Utah's six points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's road loss to the Lakers accounted for the worst fourth quarter in franchise history and the team's second worst quarter ever." The Jazz had a tremendous bounce back game against the Lakers, after performing so miserably the last time we played them. Kudos!

Korver, Kirilenko, Price & Fesenko didn't play last night. Kirilenko has back problems and Korver is still rehabbing from his knee ailment (though he did suite up). Our line-up was limited to Memo, Boozer, Millsap, Brewer, Matthews, CJ, Maynor & DWill. They got the job done! Korver may have lost his position for good due to the play of Matthews and CJ (22 against Orlando).

Carlos Boozer played a solid game last night. He recently was criticized by the Chuckster, Charles Barkley, for being the problem to the Jazz's lackluster play this year. While I tend to agree with Chuck, I have to give credit to Booz for raising his intensity and effort over the last few weeks. Boozer has played awesome for us. Chuck was right though. What are we going to do with the future of Carlos Boozer playing for the Jazz? It looks like he'll play the season out with us, and then leave...

The upper deck at the ESA was littered with Laker fans everywhere. Kobe jerseys were scattered throughout the crowd. Infact... Ronnie Brewer thought the crowd was "60-40" Jazz fans. In the upper deck, he was probably right. Interesting enough, I went to the game with friends (Laker fans) from So. California. It was great to put the beat down on the Lakers in front of so many of their fans! We definitely got the last laugh.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wes Matthews is no Deshawn Stevenson

Deshawn Stevenson prepares for tough defensive matchups by calling out the opposing player. For instance, when facing Lebron, he calls him overrated.

The Jazz' lone rookie in the starting lineup and lone defensive player, Wes Matthews, charts a different course. As Young Wes prepares to face the Lakers and their all-star shooting guard, he may just have referred to Kobe as "the greatest to ever play this game."

Wes might as well have spat in Booner's face.

Almost Bonner-ed

Meet the new Jazz killer... Matt Bonner. Bonner very nearly beat the Jazz single-handedly last night, taking the winning shot down the stretch, yet coming up short. Bonner beware.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Here We Go Again

The second game loss of a back-to-back, to a poor team, has become common place for the Jazz. It's the reason why I don't take the Jazz very seriously. It has happened alot in past seasons and continues to be a problem for us today. I enjoy being a Jazz fan... And will always cheer for the Jazz... However, I fully understand that we're not a contender (even when we're playing well for certain stretches). I suppose acceptance of this fact can be a good thing. It does beg the question of where this franchise needs to go in the future. Let's just hope for an opportunity to make the playoffs again this year. Unfortunately, my reality "bites" post after an exciting streak of winning ballgames came quicker than I expected.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

On A Roll

Look who's returned to dominant form with a vengence... Carlos Boozer. Roaring like a bear... The Booz has been on an absolute tear recently, scoring over 20 points in his last 6 games and racking up 35 points and 13 rebounds last night against the Pacers. Coach Sloan even commented that Boozer is playing the best basketball of his career... "the best he's ever seen" from him. That's high praise from the coach! It's great to see Boozer pull out of his early season slump and get back into a basketball-seasoned groove.

Check out which player has made a huge difference for the Jazz in a starting role... Wesley Matthews. My new favorite player to watch on the Jazz has developed his role as a slasher, defensive presence, and even a scorer from the wing position. You'd think that Ronnie Brewer would be providing that role (unfortunately, Ronnie had a tough night last night... 2 points). Also, with CJ Miles back in the lineup (which is nice to see), you'd expect CJ to pick up the slack. But, no, it's not CJ, Ronnie, AK or Kyle Korver getting the job done, it's Wes Matthews. Give the guy some credit... He's playing his tail off and providing the Jazz with some serious production. Matthews scored 18 points and grabbed 5 rebounds last night. He was also given the quote of the night...

"If you're not making baskets, you gotta make sure they don't... Your offense might not come to you every night, but you can definitely pack your D and your heart."
When has a Jazzman ever produced such a profound and succinct quote?

Lastly, look at which team is on a serious role... the mighty Utah Jazz! Four-in-a-row... clap, clap clap. Four-in-a-row... clap, clap,clap! Let's keep this thing going strong.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hello Jerry - Goodbye Little Jerry

Two and a half Jazz notes on this Thursday evening:

First, Jerry has signed on for one more year of steering the Good Ship Jazz. I, for one, am glad he's still here. I know that some of my blogeagues have been hoping for his retirement, but when I survey the coaches out there I realize the Jazz have one of the best in the business. And he can tell the players stories about the Great Depression.

Second, as has long been expected, Matt Harpring has called it quits for the year and may be done for good. Insurance will likely pay for his salary this year. I have been a vocal critic of Harpring the past few years, but I have to admit that the Jazz miss his toughness. Harpring has always been a warrior, if a mediocre basketball player. You'll be missed, Sr. Harpring.

Lastly, luckily, our team may not miss Harpring's toughness and strength. We're about to get CJ Miles back!


Tomorrow will be a grand day in Jazz fashion history. Not only are the mighty Pacers in town (who doesn't love Troy Murphy!), but the Jazz will be sporting their green throwbacks for the first of ten times this year. I can't wait. The green jerseys were the Jazz' road uniforms from 1981-1984. The next year they drafted the Basketball Holy Ghost and ditched the green in favor of the familiar purple. Dreamers like me can dream that this is the first step towards reuniting the team with their original color-scheme. Blue is blasphemy.

Regardless of the lasting impact of the change, I am sure that the old timers are loving the hat tip. Somewhere in this great land Rickey "Don't Lose that Number" Green and Danny Schayes are sharing a drink, a laugh, and a hug.