BYU Wins Holy War

BYU Wins Holy War
George, like Collie and Harline before him, is now still open!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Big Stretch for Utah Jazz: Where is the team's heart?

This is a critical time for the Jazz to play well. The Jazz are on top of the division. They currently are a four seed in the west. Yet, they have been playing without any heart. This stretch of games should serve as a very accurate barometer of how the rest of the season will go for the Utah Jazz. The Jazz play six times in the next nine days including two back-to-back games. Four of the opponents are Western Conference elite teams fighting to get into the playoffs. Plus, the following week is the last big Eastern Conference road trip, with the Jazz playing in four different cities in five days. Now is the time for the Jazz to start playing to stay up with the Western Conference powers, or get left in the dust.

The effort given during the Jazz-Piston game won't get the job done. The idea of letting teams beat them silly in the first half and then magically turning it on in the second is a risky idea at home, and just plain dumb on the road. The Jazz starters have played bored, since the first half of the Golden State game. They are lucky that Ronnie Price decided to show up against the Hawks, and Brewer/Millsap turned it on in the second half of the Pistons game or they would be on a four game losing streak heading into tonight's back-to-back games on the road.

Why have the Jazz been sleep walking? Deron Willams. He has mailed in some games for the first time in his Jazz career. During the last four games Deron has looked disinterested at times. He has looked for early offense outside of the Jazz philosophy. He has been walking the ball up the court allowing defense to get set. Only after Brewer/Millsap showed heart in the second half of the Pistons game did he start playing. When he started to run the offense the Jazz took off. Making clear the conclusion that as Deron Willams goes so does the Jazz.

Although Deron doesn't like to admit it, he does get up for games against Chris Paul. The Jazz are 8-1 against the Hornets since drafting Deron Williams. Deron Williams owns Chris Paul. The size of Deron creates a mismatch for the Hornets on both sides of the basketball. This would be a great chance for Deron to get his head back in the game.
The Jazz need to look out tonight. The Hornet's lone victory did come in New Orleans, and the Hornets just came off a beat down performance against the Suns at home. If the Jazz come into tonight's game with the idea that they can play give a B/B+ effort and win, then they are in for a beat down themselves at the hands of the Hornets.
The Jazz need to show right now that they have the heart to win the division, and compete for the NBA title. They need to show the heart that has been missing for the last four games. A win tonight would get the Jazz off on the right foot and be a statement. A statement that the Jazz are a title contender, and not a media darling black horse. That they will be fighting it out with LA and San Antonio for the top spot, and not Golden State and Denver for eighth. The Jazz have the talent they just need to show the heart!

No comments: