Tuesday, January 25, 2011

jazz @ lakers

i'll keep this brief.

times are tough for jerry's kids. losing four in a row, three of them to lousy teams, and some sardonic commentary by d-will has jazz fans scratching their heads about the present and worried about the future.

but an immediate and tangible threat looms larger than season speculation for those of us willing to live in a world where short-sightedness reigns supreme. i'm talking about playing kobe and friends at staples tonight.

ending a road trip that started in DC like this, against their own arch-enemy has to be something of insult to injury for the jazz. not to pretend that this isn't their own fault; better playing - even moderately better - would have almost surely resulted in the trip standing at 3-1 right now rather than 0-4. but that's not how things broke down, and now deron willquip must try to avoid embarrassment at the hands of the western conference's perennial elite.

so what can i say to make things seem better? the only thing the jazz can do is adopt the same attitude they don every time we play the lake-show, and [expect/hope/pray/delude] that millsap comes out of the game smiling.

"bring it, assholes."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

weekender 5

i haven't forgotten about this segment. this post proves it!

just a quick thought that wasn't really related to my longer post earlier today: i've already mentioned that the ESA seems to be a pretty tame arena this season. after going to three games over the holidays in salt lake, there certainly wasn't any deafening noise or rabid fans backing the jazz at home. when i went to the jazz-nets game in new jersey on wednesday, i was moderately re-assured; that stadium was pretty much silent other than during one or two big plays, and the SLC basketball-goers seemed rowdy in comparison.

but after watching the celtics crush the jazz at TG garden and listening to the crowd respond? utah fans, you can stop taking pride in yourselves right now.

boston has a fanbase that deserves to have 17 NBA titles (and probably another on the way as i type). the stadium was shout-to-hear-the-person-sitting-next-to-you loud for the entire game. every big dunk or 3 elicited a roar similar to redline-revving a thousand uncorked american v8s at once. every steal brought the fans to their feet. "let's go celtics" chants erupted spontaneously - as in without prompting from the jumbotron and PA - during every other C's possession. in short, the crowd did as much to take the visiting jazz out of the game as any of the boston players did.

jazz fans like to think we have a great home crowd, but i've never heard anything like the people on this random boston night when i've been at a regular season game in utah. we can consider ourselves utterly one-upped.

whoa on the woes

today's title brought to you by fatty & crew

perhaps my post after friday's game against boston was a bit rash. well, being rash wasn't really the problem with the entry - i was a little buzzed and highly disappointed that the reason for my trip to beantown had unfolded in such an ugly way. in any event, i could have put my thoughts more clearly. here's my more reflective take on what's happening with the jazz right now.


first, the wizards have proved that on a given night, any team in the NBA is capable of beating the league's best. by defeating the celtics last night, DC illustrated that every team is made up of professional athletes and, while an entire season will eventually separate the wheat from the chaff, is more than able to put on a show (or just hit a 3 - off the glass - from baltimore) when things are clicking. while this kind of reasoning doesn't exculpate jerry and his players from the collective cork-sorking (that link is definitely NSFW) they've been up to lately, it made me feel a little better about losing to washington.


second, and this was something i only realized after reading a post from jazzbot randall harris, deron has been getting off pretty easy through all of this. there are dozens of posts on the UJ360 boards from the recent weeks calling for starting lineup changes, rotation remixes, trades, and (the perennial-if-not-asinine) firing of sloan. mr. harris noted something important: the jazz made all the moves deron has been asking for in the previous few seasons. he wanted more length, and he got it (boozer is 6'9", al is pushing 6'11"). he wanted more poise and veteran leadership,and he got it (wes matthews and ronnie brewer have played a combined 442 games, raja has played 644). he wanted improved eastern europeans, and he got it (fes dropped 15 pounds and had some impressive-for-an-oaf spin moves early in the season, AK kept the muscle mass he gained during the 2009 summer and hasn't broken anything yet, and memo was back sooner than i figured he would be).

the biggest detriment to the jazz, and one that d-will has been comfortable pointing out, is that they don't have a shooting guard that can shoot. what, you ask? deron's never said that, you retort. he has, he is just couching it by insisting that players "don't know the plays" or "aren't getting around screens." the problem is that shooting guards get open looks only when the offense is clicking - and the offense hasn't been clicking, so there haven't been a lot of opportunities for mid-range jumpers from raja or cj. and it's easy to blame those guys for being lazy on offense and settling for bad outside shots when the scripted play doesn't happen the way it should. hence, when deron says people don't know the plays, he's suggesting (among other things) that his shooting guards aren't effective shooters.

which is only half-true. if deron was passing better, there would be more open shots. if deron were pushing the ball better, the rest of the offense would be forced to be a step faster down the court and thus better able to get around screens and have time to square up before shooting. kyle korver was brilliant at catching off the curl because he hustled, and his half-step advantage on his defender meant he could use the extra quarter-second to get his body in the right position rather than chucking up a brick over the hand in his face.

so when i say "whoa on the woes," i guess i mean that perhaps the problem with the jazz isn't really so wide-spread as to begin questioning the integrity of the entire organization. everybody on the team needs to step their game up - watching the boston game was a painful experience for those expecting anyone on the jazz to hustle (even ronnie price, normally a spark plug, seemed to know he was beaten before he even stepped on the court). but a big part of the problem right now is deron; he needs to figure out how to avoid getting bogged down in frustration and elevate his game, as well as take randall's advice and get in the driver's seat as far as being the team captain and leader is concerned.

and, in the interim, maybe the fans and media could be willing to criticize deron a little more when he's not doing his job.


despite how terrible things look right now, thanks to the modern nature of the western conference, we remain within a game or two of third in the west and only a handful of W's out of second (although i doubt we're going to catch up to san antonio). and things are going to get better. everybody on the team is slumping a little bit right now, and slumps don't last forever. this jazz squad is simply too talented and too well-coached to have all aspirations slip away this early in the season. i'm anticipating a few more mediocre games before we finally catch a break and watch two or three jazzmen get hot in the same 3rd quarter. that should breath some new life into an otherwise flat squad. i know my record of jazz predictions isn't exactly stellar (still waiting on jefferson to punch in a single triple-double since i called him having 5 or more this season), but i think that after a couple more cringe-inducing losses against (hate to say it, but the odds aren't in our favor) the lakers and tim duncan, the team will get it back together enough to win a few in a row before playing in denver on february 4th.


i just finished watching happy gilmore for the first time in maybe 8 years. still hillarious.

Friday, January 21, 2011

hashtag: jazzfail

the jazz-nets game didn't exactly inspire much joy for me and the missus. but it got us on tv.

just got back to my hotel in beantown from the boston game. i can say, quite honestly, that after attending the jazz-nets debacle in newark on wednesday night and now this latest massacre, something is wrong. terribly, terribly wrong.

i might get egged in the streets of salt lake for saying this, but i miss boozer a little. al plays as soft as c-booze in the paint without averaging 20 and 10. and, frankly, boozer’s one dunk per game was better than jefferson’s because at least boozer would show some emotion with that stupid screaming afterward, which occassionally lit a fire under the rest of the team.

the whole team looks like it’s playing in slow-motion. tonight, raja had four points in the opening two minutes – pretty solid start for him – and then was a non-factor for the balance of the game. deron was frustrated for his entire time on the floor, starting right at the tip-off, and made several rookie mistakes throughout the game, including getting into foul trouble midway through the first. i recognize that tonight’s officiating staff was a little whistle-happy, but i recognized that fact about 90 seconds into the game. deron, and the rest of the jazz, should have done the same and adjusted their game. instead, they played physical D just long enough to get players into foul trouble and then abandoned playing defense for the balance of the game.

paul millsap: buddy, what happened? you were on the verge of a breakout, all-star season after putting up 46 in miami and since then, what? a couple 20-10s scattered one game every other week? not gonna cut it, guy.

i’m going to stop myself here before i go into each player’s lack of heart in the last two – well, three really, but i wasn’t actually at the washington game so i’m not going to talk about that – games, but it’s pervasive through the entire team. these guys should have come out tonight swinging with two cellar-team-colored chips on their shoulders. instead, they allowed boston to completely control the game from tip to horn.

i’ll sum it up this way: i am embarrased to be wearing my jersey the rest of the night while out “being totally sober” (hi mom!) in boston. i’m still going to wear it; i’m not that big of a crybaby. but i think i’ll have one good conversation with a couple guys at the beantown pub and after that i’ll just mumble something about d-will having the flu and shuffle away.

sad face. llama face.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

d-will d-throned?

stolen directly and shamelessly from the only basketball website that is officially affiliated with the national basketball association, nba.com

fuck you, art garcia.

one of nba.com's regular personalities has a little piece today, reflecting on the TNT crew's thoughts regarding whether rose has surpassed deron as the league's premier point guard. rose is having nothing less than a spectacular season, while deron's play has been somewhat so-so, minus a few flashes of a little something special i like to call "somethin' special." mr. garcia's conclusion? the bulls' point is the best in the league.

so, again, fuck you, art garcia. specifically because to this point, this season, you're right.

halfway there

oh bon jovi. you live on a prayer indeed.

you know who else is living on a prayer right now? me. and probably you, since you're reading a mediocre blog about the utah jazz. things are rosy for jerry's kids, in one sense. barring a natural disaster in which deron williams is swallowed whole by the earth and ronnie price gets his legs severed by a razor-sharp stalactite, the jazz are going to make the playoffs. we'll have a guy in the all-star game (probably). even the northwest division championship is still a real option.

this isn't me freaking out about losing to the wizards. i understand that a few things are factors here: (1) another slow start doomed the jazz; (2) utah always loses a few games to awful, awful teams, usually in december and january; and (3) DC, despite their record, have a lot of talent on their squad, and clearly are capable at their best of beating a better team who is still (literallly) waking up at the tip-off.

no, these reasons/excuses for the loss are not what has me pulling a JBJ at the season's midway mark. what concerns me about the loss is how we lost the weird 1:00 pm EST game in the nation's capital. when the jazz offense is clicking - or even executing moderately - you can expect points in the paint (where al jefferson allegedly gets nasty). the jazz gave me a fun birthday present yesterday: 32 points scored from the greater key zone.

that's not going to cut it.

remember during the summer when all of jazzdom was clamoring, begging, dying for some personnel moves that would make the team longer? remember getting swept by LA because we had no answer for a dominant inside game against a team with several dudes taller than 6'9"? remember how those things seemed inextricably linked? and then remember how the new-look jazz were posed to have an answer for that via jefferson, millsap, okur, elson, fesenko, and AK?

well, if the jazz having five lurps on the team can't beat DC's handful of genetic freaks, the glow of "likely to make the playoffs" is less comforting when it's virtually certain that the road to the championship still runs through LA. check out those stats again: the jazz averaged 48.3 ppg in the paint last season. through this point, that average has dropped to 42.7. the lakers, meanwhile, have actually seen their paint ppg go up this year over last, from 43.3 to 45.8.

i recognize that having a high number of buckets made on layups and dunks doesn't guarantee rings for the players come june (memphis leads the league currently and crushed all comers in the category last season as well, while winning something in the neighborhood of 4 games per month). but for the jazz, whose win column depends almost entirely on executing sloan's interior-heavy offensive system, floaters and dunks are more than necessary.

watching the jazz struggle inside against an inferior team (despite my earlier lauding of its potential) does not bode well for april. perhaps i'll be singing a different tune on thursday morning, after sitting courtside at The Rock (if your local team played to 40% capacity at home games, you could afford $60 courtside seats once a year also) and seeing how the yazz handle a nets team featuring 6 guys at 6'9" or above.

i'm also moderately concerned for my life should the jazz win in boston on friday, since i'll also be sitting low for that one in a jefferson jersey and boston residents are notorious asshats about sports (even going to the lengths of making us watch movies featuring drew barrymore).

and yet i refuse to complain (too much). ah, the perks of having a northeastern home address; it might cost $200 a month to park a car that you can lease new for $150, but at least there are 5 NBA stadiums within a 5-hour drive.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

jazz dreams from the hill

first: today's post brought to you by one of the best recordings from my favorite band, covering one of the best songs from punk/indie legends. second: my trial run of photoshop is up, so paint will have to do until the hardcopy of PSE9 gets here next week.

since last season, i have had a recurring dream. not exactly recurring, i suppose, as the dream is changing to reflect what happens in my waking life. i don't know a lot about interpreting subconscious manifestations of your life, but i do recognize a couple of things here: (a) i think way too highly of myself; and (b) being part of something larger than myself is important to me.

the first dream in this sequence that i remember with any particularity was being waved off the floor at ESA to allow another player to check in. i exited on the wrong side of the court (near the miller's seats) and had to walk around to the bench, where ronnie brewer politely informed me that, though we were on the same team, we had never been officially introduced. ronnie price also shook my hand and gave me his name when i sat down next to them.

the next dream i had, early after the jazz exited the finals, is being welcomed to the team after my strong showing in the walk-on tryouts hosted by jeff hornacek (despite the fact that, in real life, i have a 3" vertical leap and can't make a layup if my life depended on it). although i made the cut, jerry DNP'd me for the first three games and i forgot my locker combination (high school?) and had to run to the old fanzz store in the basement to buy a new uni before the third game.

the third installment that i recall with any clarity was only a few weeks ago. my wife and i were headed to dinner at a very fancy and well-regarded restaurant in a downtown SLC building (that doesn't exist). on our way up the stairs to the private dining room for Very Important People, paul millsap stopped us on the stairs to say hello. i responded, "paul millsap, how do you know who we are?" "shoot, everybody knows who you two are."

finally, early this morning i dreamed that i had been re-activated for the team, and at morning shootaround i discovered that fes is actually only about 6'4" when you see him person. also sloan made it clear that i was on the squad only for practice or injury-based emergencies. so i snuck outside for a cigarette with a friend of mine who works for a local newspaper. but this time i remembered my locker combination (someone had cleaned it out in my absence).

while i recognize that most dreaming is likely just random firing of synapses, and that last night's adventure was probably the result of lurking on the UJ360 message boards until 3 am, it's still a little comforting to know that even if i never step foot on the floor at ESA in reality, the team feels enough like part of who i am enough to not laugh me off the floor in my dreams.

p.s. after telling my friend at the paper about this morning's hallucinations, he gave me an insightful response: "First, you might be the only person in America having dreams that include Kyrylo Fesenko; second, don't take the lack of playing time personally. Sloan has a history of being hard on rooks."

apparently my dreams are wild enough for me to possibly be gay for fesenko but not quite wild enough to let sloan start a rookie; even my subconscious recognizes that some things are permanent.

Monday, January 10, 2011

don't start thinking about starting cj

my quick response to a thought-provoking post from Utah Jazz 360's Nick Knows All:

i’ve given this a little thought as well, and i’m not sure that i agree, nick. andrei carries an enormous negative stigma because of his paycheck, and i think that reveals itself often with this kind of thought process.

consider some numbers from the two players (CJ/AK):
rebounds – 3.2/5.1
assists – 1.7/2.8
steals – .97/1.17
blocks – .43/1.22
fouls – 2.6/1.8

now look at those numbers and assume that every whole number in a given category results in a basket by the opposing team or the jazz based on where the ball ends up (i’m being purely hypothetical here, simply for the sake of argument). that means that AK adds an additional 3.8 points per game based on rebounds, 2.2 ppg based on assists, 0.4 ppg from steals, 1.58 ppg from blocks, and costs the jazz 1.6 ppg less, when you compared to CJ’s performance. granted, CJ’s numbers are based on 9.6 fewer minutes per game. but that still leaves AK with an additional (potential) 9.58 points per game versus CJ.

and consider that CJ’s foul numbers would increase half again if we extrapolate him and AK switching minutes played – that puts him at 3.9 personal fouls per game. and AK, assuming he moves from 32.3 minutes per game (where he is now) to 22.7 mpg (where CJ is now), would only be scoring around 8 points per game. CJ’s scoring goes up to 17.5 ppg: CJ starting gives the jazz a 6 point advantage running the numbers out, but he also costs us almost two more fouls each contest – possibly for four points, dragging his effectiveness at starter to only two more points per game.

on top of that, the jazz would go from having an off-the-bench scoring threat that puts up almost 12 points a game to AK bringing that estimated 8 points.

CJ needs to stay on the bench. the fact of the matter is that AK and Raja need to step up their game a bit – along with the entire rest of the team – if the jazz are going to make it out of the first round come april.

everything in moderation

today's entry brought to you by everybody's favorite "white trash, two kikes and a spic." this is their own description of themselves. not kidding.

despite a terrific effort in the fourth + OT against houston on saturday night, i must admit that i have overly embraced this year's jazz squad. or, rather, i've been too enthusiastic about the potential within this team and not giving enough credit to reality.

paul millsap had an unbelievable final 8 minutes against the rockets. deron played pretty well; 14 points and 15 dimes. but he also had 4 turnovers and shot 1-6 from beyond the arc. the jazz pulled down 31 boards just between AK, paul, and big al (with 53 boards overall to the rockets' 42).

but, the brilliance of the performance was overshadowed by the rusty-if-not-just-plain-bad showings the jazz have been putting together for a few weeks now. in fact, the biggest shadow cast over utah collecting the W on saturday night was the fact that it took an all-star night from millsap, in overtime, to beat a team that sits at 16-21; a team who is dead last in its division; a team that sits tied for sixth-worst organization in the entire NBA.

winning in overtime against the dregs of the NBA? that doesn't exactly reflect a bright future for the victorious jazz.

what exactly is wrong with this squad? i thought maybe a disinterested home crowd was partially to blame - and to some extent, i still do. but i will concede that it's harder for a crowd to back a team that plays .500 ball in the northwest division.

i think anybody who is interested in the jazz knows what the symptoms are at this point in the season: poor rebounding, no-showing in the first quarter/half, streaky shooting, etc. effectively, we look what we should have looked like in the pre-season. and that's where, in my opinion, the trouble begins.

with the jazz's roster getting turned inside-out and upside-down over the summer, nobody expected - even with the acquisitions of jefferson and bell - the jazz to crush all comers back in early october. when regular season play started against denver and phoenix, any shake of the magic 8 ball came up with "buckle up for a long and painful rebuilding process." but things started clicking shortly after the season began and suddenly the bleakness began to sharpen up; color emerged where once there was only gray.

and so the problem intensified. the jazz, playing against crap teams (or good teams that completely collapsed late in the game, had a chance to build their confidence while not building their skills. or at least the skills weren't being put together fast enough to keep up with the rest of the league.

don't believe me? check the standings again. the jazz may currently be tied for 4th in the west and 8th overall, that's true. but look at the numbers in the west again and remember that the northwest is the most competitive division in the NBA (at least in terms of landing a top playoff seed). and also consider that the western conference, despite the recent rise of chicago and miami, is still the superior group of teams in the NBA. case in point: the seventh-ranked team in the east, the pacers, are 14-20, while philly, in 8th, are barely above .400 ball; the 8th in the west, portland, is 20-18.

keeping those numbers in mind, look at the jazz and its records (1) at home, (2) in the NW division, and (3) in the west:
  1. the jazz are 13-7 (.650)at home. not too shabby, in theory, but not what jazz fans are used to. more importantly, it's not that great compared to some similar or "worse" teams (in terms of overall records) in the nba: memphis (.647), portland (.750), denver (.789), OKC (.737), atlanta (.722). get it? you effectively have to get to teams under .500 before you see worse home records, and memphis has almost the exact record at home as the jazz at 17-20 overall.
  2. utah is tied for first in its division with durantula and the thunder. as of today, the jazz lead OKC in road record (.667/.611, respectively) and in no other category. OKC holds the edge in home record (see above), division record (OKC @ .857, UTA @ .429), and conference record (OKC @ .609, UTA @ .542).
    denver, four games back in the NW, is only worse than the jazz on the road. denver's numbers: at home (DEN @ .789, UTA .650), against NW teams (DEN @ .667, UTA @ .429), and against western conference teams (DEN @ .583, UTA @ .542).
    even portland, those wes matthews stealing sons of bitches, has some edges on the jazz where it counts come playoff seeding time. home record (POR @ .750, UTA @ .650), NW record (POR @ .556, UTA @ .429) and a similar conference record (POR @ .538, UTA @ .542).
  3. i don't think i need to break down to percentages how the jazz fit with the rest of the west, since excluding the three better teams (spurs, dallas, lake-show), only new orleans is currently 8th or higher (6th) in the conference without being in the northwest. they're three games behind the jazz and have better home and division records.
what do these numbers mean? they mean the jazz have been playing well against teams that don't matter, or at least the jazz aren't playing as well against teams that matter as those teams themselves handle the best of the west.

so what does this have to do with moderation? watching paul put up 46 on miami was intoxicating. the fact that it was one of four consecutive games on the road that resulted in a win only added to feeling. having a team that makes these semi-heroic comebacks from 10+ time and again lends a fan, like myself, to believe that no hole is too deep.

but the fact is the holes are being dug against shallow teams - at least, that's been true excluding the glorious road streak of november, and that was very early in the season. while the jazz have been talking about improving and executing better as the season moves forward, those four november road wins were effectively wiped away when we lost to miami and atlanta at home in horrid fashion. adding insult to injury, portland spanked us twice in a week, while dallas and new orleans each put on a "how to crush a college-level team in the NBA" clinic against Jerry's Kids in december.

the thing to take in moderation is the jazz's moderation. sometimes they play like NBA champions - but it's only a few moments at a time and generally against mediocre squads. i'm not trying to suggest that i have lost hope in the jazz. in fact, running through these numbers has done the opposite for me. the jazz, despite having numbers of a .400 - .500 team in some regards, have shown flashes of brilliance in their inconsistency. so long as sloan is at the helm, i still have a firm belief that things will continue to get better.

but i think it might be time to have a more realistic view of what's coming in the next few weeks. i've said a few times already that the jazz had a shot at going on a few 10 game win streaks between now and late march. barring a miracle (herely of rapid development to full potential, not one to potential that doesn't exist), i'm thinking it looks more like a couple 5 - 6 game streaks would be fantastic but not inevitable.

even so, that kind of winning still leaves the jazz in the playoff hunt while the team continues to improve. hey, even if they only improve moderately (looping on a theme!), OKC doesn't stay at the top of the northwest. that will be something to celebrate in excess.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

taking initiative

me and utah's most famous vocalist/nba star, thurl bailey.

i took my own advice last night at the detroit-utah game regarding having a more active crowd at the ESA, and apparently other people were eager to get on board.

remember that tracy mcgrady guy? googly eyes, somehow made it onto the all-star ballot last year despite playing like 3.5 minutes the entire season? well, it turns out he's still in the NBA. in detroit of all places! who knew the city could actually get worse?

somewhere in the back of my mind i recalled t-mac moving to the city of rusterly love over the summer after seeing (the NBA's) number 1 (asshole) come off the bench. my friend collin, who graciously offered me his extra ticket, seemed to be on the same page as i was regarding mcgrady. we talked a bit about how detroit is actually a fairly stacked team, what with hamilton, tayshaun, and mcgrady all on one squad.

but then we remembered the reason we hate t-mac. not because of his all-star caliber playing (when he is actually playing, the guy is amazing - off the bench last night, he almost had a triple-double). not because he lives in the spotlight (the only spotlights in detroit are on SWAT vehicles). not because he has a penchant for knocking the jazz out of the playoffs (you can count on zero fingers how many times mcgrady pulled houston out of the first round).

no, jazz fans hate tracy mcgrady because back in the 2008 playoffs - a year after the rockets were eliminated from the postseason by utah - mcgrady took a snide jab at d-will in a post-game interview after losing game 4 in salt lake city. mcgrady, who had witnessed first hand how d-will cut houston to pieces without breaking a sweat the year before and was in the middle of repeating his performances, decided that knowing how to pronounce the future all-star point guard's first name hadn't been on his list of priorities.

"what is it? DARE-in? da-RON?"

it answered one question for me; t-mac's last name is actually pronounced "mcdouchebag." bro: you are a good player with absolutely no leadership skills. deron is a great player and runs the floor like a puppeteer. he clowned you right out of the playoffs twice in a row. as far as you are concerned, his first name should be "sir."

anyway, as might be clear by now, my distaste for tracy mcgrady has not been diluted by time. so, late in the third quarter last night, collin and i decided we were going to (a) let mcgrady know what we thought of him personally, and (b) try and get the lackadaisical crowd into the game. we would accomplish this feat using the old two-birds-one-stone trick of booing, as loud as we could, whenever tracy mcgrady, in his #1 jersey, touched the ball. we let the people sitting immediately near us (who were also drunk enough to get involved in this scheme) in on the plan.

this is a rare moment where the storyteller need not embellish or ornament the truth, and the tale remains brilliant and memorable.

within five t-mac touches and our small group's vociferous indication of disapproval of the man, the entire stadium - THE ENTIRE STADIUM - was booing him relentlessly as soon as the cowhide globe was in his hands. his googly eyes went wild (or at least his shooting did) after a few minutes of this intense pressure, as he chucked up a 3rd-grade style hail-mary 3 late in the game that barely, barely nicked the iron on the way down.

it just goes to show that, when you believe in yourself and your opinions, you just might change the world, one stadium at a time.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

weekender 4

another week without an entry. it's moderately ironic that while at school i had "time" to post relatively often, while now that i'm on vacation with my family i can only manage to pop in once a week. c'est la vie.

my only thought tonight is based on a conversation i've had several times since going to the portland-utah game last monday night. there's been a lot of hand-wringing in salt lake city this season over how poorly (or at least sub-par in comparison to recent years/this year on the road) the jazz are doing at home. after making it to two home games for the jazz in the last week (with another on the way tomorrow), i've come to a conclusion.

it's the fans' fault.

i get that sloan is making questionable rotation decisions right now, and that memo has been out, and that the jazz are one of the worst first-half teams in the league. but it's this last point, the rally-to-win-late existence of the 2010-2011 jazz that has brought mediocrity to the radium stadium. the fans know the jazz are capable of winning against any team in the league right now (save maybe dallas), and they can do it even when down 10 in the 3rd quarter. so we sit in our seats drinking beer/sprite waiting for something to happen.

the problem is this: normally the crowd at ESA is enormously hostile from the tip. so long as the fans are sitting on their asses watching a game unfold as unexcited as i was watching the series finale of "LOST," we're not going to see blowouts at home. against memphis last night, even when the jazz were up 12 in the third, the crowd was instantly silenced after every lay-up by zach randolph. there was some booing when francisco "not saying boo, saying big tooooolip" elson got ejected after the referree magically called two technical fouls on him at exactly the same time (which seemed to bend the time-space contiuum from where i was sitting), but then the jumbotron guy started in with "twist and shout" and showing ugly children flailing, like a recently divorced white guy at a dance club, in the aisles before the crowd could understand what happened and tell the officials what we thought of their decision.

i get that it's fun to watch the jazz win after being in the hole on the road. but (and this is in direct opposition to my dad's point of view when i asked him about this topic) i'd rather watch the jazz crush and humiliate the blazers and memphis when they come into town than keep my fingers crossed while the team bumbles through possession after possession while the sober crowd talks about what they learned in sunday school.

get it together, jazz fans. you used to be hated for being mormon and offensive. you'll be hated more for being mormon and boring.