What a game! The Jazz beat the Rockets 109-103 tonight at Energy Solutions Arena. If you weren't at the game or didn't get a chance to catch the broadcast, you really missed out. This was a total team effort across the board, both offensively and defensively. Hopefully this recap will do it some justice....
- Dwight Howard is overrated. The Jazz doubled and really didn't need to.
- The Jazz offense was really good. Ball movement and player movement was excellent.
- Jazz did a good job running the Rockets off the 3 point line....
- James Harden is a great OFFENSIVE player. Plays Jimmer-esq defense. No wonder Houston sold out to get Howard.
- Trey Burke was killing Houston on the pick and roll
- GORDON HAYWARD....welcome back! He was aggressive the entire game, but did so in the context of the offense. Did not force too many shots.
- Jazz won the first quarter 36-23, and lead at the half by 5.
- 2nd quarter and the 2nd unit struggled....looked a little lost.
- Houston plays no defense.
- I could not figure out why the Jazz don't force "lefties" to the right. Harden goes left as much as Tyreke Evans goes right.
- Finally, the end of the 2nd quarter Alec Burks forced Harden right twice. Harden did not handle that well.
- Richard Jefferson had nothing in the tank tonight. Heavy minutes early may be taking a toll on the vet.
- Alec Burks played a great game. Also played within the context of the offense and the team. Made some really nice passes and plays down the stretch.
- Team rebounding was decent in the first half, Jazz struggled on the boards in the 3rd.
- Harden gets away with a lot of travels. Always takes 3 steps. Also, a habitual flopper, especially on offense. Dude really sells it. Wish someone would show him what a "real" foul is.
- Jazz's "help the helper" was really good tonight. Rotations solid, only missed on a couple of plays.
- Jazz were up by 2 with 4:40 left in the game. Ty called timeout. I felt this was a good timeout. Jazz come out of the timeout, execute well and end up with a good shot, a Favors offensive rebound and sent to the line. Best part, he knocked down both free-throws.
- Trey Burke loves to close games out. He is not afraid of the big shot or big moment.
- Marvin Williams sealed the deal with a steal for a dunk putting the Jazz up five, then knocking down a 3 pointer the next possession putting the Jazz up 8.
This was a fantastic game. They Jazz played the full 48 minutes and did not let the moment get to them. This game is one example where the Jazz did not win the "big 3" categories (rebounds, free-throws, turnovers) but were close enough to give themselves a shot to win. The difference really was the defense. The Jazz shot 54.4% from the field compared to the Rockets 48.2%. They also bested the Rockets from the 3 point line shooting 58.8% to Houston 32.1%. The Jazz made life difficult for the Rockets on the offensive end. Yeah James Harden had 37 pts, but the Rockets didn't get much else from anyone else.
Watching this game made me really think about the importance of defense. The Rockets have all the offensive firepower in the world. That being said, they couldn't stop the Washington Generals from scoring on them. I am not sure that kind of basketball is going to get you deep in the playoffs. The game really slows down in the playoffs and I am not sure that Houston has the horses to be a defensive ball club. They have two players on their entire roster that can play any D, Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverly. Not sure where this Rockets team goes from here.
What I do know, the Jazz are ballin' and Trey Burke is a major reason why. Toughness, grit, effort, leadership, all qualities that this young rookie is showing and will just get better. Jazz fans, I think we found our leader!