Jazz Bags – Post Game Thoughts – Jazz Beat LA
4 vs 2
Paul Millsap told me in the walk off interview after the Jazz 96-87 versus the hated Lakers, that the difference in the game may have been the fact that tonight it was 4 on 2. What did he mean?
The Jazz had 4 bigs playing very well, the Laker had 2.
In the last meeting Millsap and Al Jefferson out played Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the stat sheet (points + rebound), but it was Bynum’s block and Gasol’s 3 that were the difference in the game. Tonight was much different, Bynum and Gasol out performed Jefferson and Millsap in the stats (Gasol/Bynum 45 & 28, Millsap/Jefferson 34 & 26), but it wasn’t a Jefferson block and a Millsap 3 that was the difference it was the play of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors combined with Jefferson and Millsap that made the difference. If you throw in their stats to the mix, the Jazz bigs outperformed the Lakers bigs 54 points 34 rebounds to the Lakers 45 and 28. As nice as that looks, it really wasn’t the difference though.
Favors & Kanter = Fantastic
It wasn’t the offense of the two young Jazz bigs that made the difference in the Jazz win. It was the defense. I sent out about 10 different tweets during the game regarding their defense on Bynum each well deserving of the 140 characters, it was fabulous.
The Lakers were relying on Andrew Bynum to be the scoring punch and stabilizing force for the bench unit. Bynum was the first sub out, but also quick to come in once Kobe and Pau were subbed out. It was important for Favors and Kanter to each take turns on Bynum. While they didn’t shut Bynum down (because he’s a pretty fantastic player) they did wear him out with a very physical brand of defense. Each time Bynum was met at the free throw line (or further out) by one of the two Jazz bigs, and when he was met he was met with a body leaning on him the rest of the possession.
Kanter was especially great at this. While Bynum was able to push Jefferson to a spot, he was not able to do that as much with Favors and not able to budge Kanter. It was amazing to watch the 19 year old able to control the All Star Starter.
More amazing is what we are seeing. We’ve all been waiting to watch these two grow and become better players. None of us imagined it would be this quick. It seems as if they are making giant strides on both sides of the ball each night. Kudos to Jefferson and Millsap in taking each under their wings and mentoring them (as well as many others and the Jazz coaches). Favors offense is beginning to show more consistent flashes of brilliance, and Kanter is greatly improved at his ability to finish.
Earl Watson and the Bench
Once again, it was Earl Watson who sparked the crowd and the team (and maybe even Mike Brown) to a combustible frenzy in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Watson was listed as doubtful this morning, but left no doubt in a text to +David Locke
that he was going to play against the hated Lakers. Earl reigned havoc on LA with alley oops, 3 balls, defense and energy. Earl was the Pied Piper, and the Jazz players, coaches and fans followed willingly to the tune he was playing. If you missed my interview after the game with Watson, it’s well worth the listen on 1320kfan.com
as he talks about the ankle treatment as well why each game is a must win.
We Are Utah Jazz
This is not just the motto for this team, it is the way they live. It’s been amazing to watch this team. It really has. I’ve been in the Jazz locker room for a decade now and have seen locker rooms with John Stockton and Karl Malone, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, but never a locker room this close.
These guys are as united of a locker room as I’ve ever seen. It’s Jefferson telling Favors and Kanter that they are the future of this Jazz team taking them under his wing and spending time every day working with them on their post moves. It’s Earl Watson leading a young bench unit and the locker room with his veteran savvy and experience. It’s the unselfishness shown by each guy to cheer on their team mate even when that team mate is taking minutes away from them.
It’s Jamaal Tinsley who plays 45 minutes all season, then 38 in the absence of Watson and Harris, then 0 tonight, but still makes a huge impact on the game. Tinsley took Kanter aside outside the Jazz locker room at half time and showed the young big man the secret to defending the spin move. Kanter had been beat twice in the first half by Bynum spinning and getting the lob pass. Tinsley explained to him that he needed to center himself behind Bynum, that way if he spun he’d spin into Kanter not around him. The result, no lobs for Bynum in the second half.
This is special to watch.
This is Utah Jazz!