30 January 2010

Dr. J and St. G

Did you know Julius Erving, Md lived in Utah for a few years?

Did you know that he almost played for the Jazz in the twilight of his career?
"...in 1986, the late Larry H. Miller tried to sign him to the Utah Jazz.
"I think he's really having a hard time making this decision, harder than I
thought he might," Miller said in a 1986 interview."

25 January 2010

I hope this doesn't jinx the Jazz.

Over the last two-and-a-half weeks, the Jazz have become a completely different team. Everybody knows that, but do they realized that this is the best the team has played since the Malone-from-Stockton days?

What changed? Well, it was Carlos Boozer.

Now, this blog has been on Team BoozBooz since we started, but we can't say, "We told you so." See, as much as I have thought Boozer is the best player on the team--or at least the most irreplaceable--I never envisioned he would play like this.

Remember that weird loss to the Hornets on 4 January? It seemed like an extremely low point. Deron Williams sat out the next game vs. Memphis, and the Jazz straight rolled the Grizzlies in the ESA. (I usually don't like abbreviations, but I heard that Energy Solutions doesn't like when The Arena is called "ESA". I don't like stupid stadium/arena/ballpark names, and therefor I am going to write it ESA. Verbally I think I will switch to "The Arena" since "The Larry" has never caught on.)

After the huge win, Boozer made reference to the Jazz playing better when the ball moves around on offense. He said it was more fun or something.

Jazz fans recalled the win at the 76ers and the near win at Cleveland when Williams was out, and added the Grizzlies game. They started to wonder, "Are the Jazz better without Deron Williams?"

Boozer must have heard this, or at least heard tell of it. Two days after the huge Grizzlies win at ESA, the Jazz next played the Grizzlies in Memphis, again without Williams. They lost, and fans backed away from the better-without-Williams dialogue. Our one reader (besides this new pizza guy) commented here, "I've worried if Williams might qualify for Bill Simmons' Ewing Theory, but then there was last night's game... I'm not sure if I feel better about life or not."

But there was beauty in that game. First, the Jazz slowly came back from a 33-14 1st-quarter deficit. Second, they did it playing physical. So physical, that Boozer got in a bit of a fight after he knocked a Grizzlies player down hard. Then, he kept fouling them hard. I think he was the one who made Marc Gasol cry.

Boozer and Williams seem to have too much respect for certain well-known players (ex. Williams' terrible performances against Derek Fisher in the playoffs). They tend to be too nice, not wanting to become controversial. Plus, Williams worries that nobody will spaz over dunks at the Dunk Contest with him should he ever make it to an All-Star game*.

Bu no more. That Grizzlies loss becamse known as Boozer's Rampage. Look at B's Twits after the game:

-Boozer is on a rampage! He's dismantling the Grizzlies. #utahjazz
8:34 PM
Jan 8th from Twitterrific

-Carlos Boozer has fouled out and is trashing
the locker room. #utahjazz
8:39 PM Jan 8th from Twitterrific

has been escorted out of the building and is in the parking lot eating tires.
8:41 PM Jan 8th from Twitterrific

-Boozer has broken the
hot wing record at D'Bo's. Forty-nine wings in forty-nine seconds. With the
hottest sauce. #utahjazz
8:51 PM Jan 8th from Twitterrific

Boozer just stole Elvis's gold Rolls Royce and crashed it into the Pink Palace.
9:08 PM Jan 8th from Twitterrific

-Carlos Boozer has
kicked down Marc Gasol's door, is trying on all his shirts and stretching out
the collars. #utahjazz
9:48 PM Jan 8th from Twitterrific

(by the way, if you do a search for #Boozer, you get a lot of Twits from this gal. I should have known. [The cat is keeping her ass warm])
He was just getting started. Now, the rest of the team was going to join him. The next game they played was against the Heat at ESA. Dizzwaynye Wade got knocked around in the first quarter, and had to go the the locker room for a few minutes. Coming back offered him no respite. Almost every time he drove the lane, and Jazz or two would bump him.

Then there was Boozer's dunk on Haslem. Instead of screaming and heading back downcourt, Boozer was kind of a jerk and stood over Haslem. I usually hate this, but it showed the new Boozer.

A few days later was a game against the Cavaliers. Williams got into the act of playing hardcore. He had a run-in with LeBron James, and seemed legitimately pissed at LeBron, not just this-game-is-so-intense-and-I-am-so-intense-case-in-point-I-just-made-an-awesome-play-but-I-am-scowling pissed. (I call this kind of look "Happiness by LeBron James"). We all know how that game finished.

The Jazz are different. Yes they lost to Denver, but they kept coming back from deficits. Then they beat the Spurs. Then they killed the already dead Nets. Which was maybe taking things too far, but don't worry, the Nets couldn't feel it.

It all seems like Boozer stepped up and took on a different role. Maybe it was because he heard Jazz fans talking bad about what appeared to be a golden cow (D. Williams), or maybe he believed it himself that the Jazz don't really need Williams. Whatever it is, this has become Boozer's Team. Watch the way he plays and the way he kind of encourages teammates. Then take notes of the comments he made about how he wouldn't trade himself, or anybody, if he were the Jazz.

Yep, Boozer is finally becoming a Power Forward/man. Either that, or Sundiata Gaines' arrival is what has made all the difference. It does coincide with all of this.

*=Players should be banned from watching the Dunk Contest from the front row. They try to steal camera time from the actual dunkers by straight freaking after everything. You know, they put their clenched fist to their mouth as they smile, as if to say, "No he didn't." But he did, doofus. Not only did he, but almost anyone can do that dunk. Are you drunk? Stoned? LeBron James took this to the next level last year when he vowed to compete with Dwight Howard in the next dunk contest (this year's). To no one's surprise, he isn't in this year's contest.

20 January 2010

Jazz v. Spurs LIVEBLOG

"Tonite the bro bro @cjmiles34 & the jazz are gonna THELONIUS MONK the spurs"

- twitter.com/ConciseKilgore

• For the first time since the 1993-94 season the Jazz have a chance to sweep the Spurs. Utah has made a mockery of the Spurs this season but this game is in San Antonio and the Spurs are fielding their entire lineup. Also the Spurs are really good.

• The green uniforms are the jam. They are dope. I'm using words I've never used before to describe them.

• Boozer playing hard defense and owning the post. That's how he do. Jazz fans by and large hate this guy, but he's the best player on the team (without question)

• When my blog check comes in the mail I'm going to buy one of the green warmup jackets. So fly.

• We're five minutes in and the Spurs haven't earned a point.

• It bums me out that Lee can't watch this. He was worried that the Jazz would be nervous playing in front of Dick Vitale but it seems the like they're trying to show off for him and succeeding.

• The broadcast team has promised footage of Carlos Boozer doing impressions later. That sounds pretty great.

• I'm watching ESPN's broadcast instead of the local broadcast. I like getting a national perspective but I do miss Ron Boone's patented stammer.

• Making jokes about the French is a sports-talk cliche that I'll not stoop to, but I do want to point out that Tony Parker is what his people would call "les incompetant."

• Actually I don't know how much longer I can listen to Dick Vitale.

• "AK for Three!" is something I never want to hear, ever. But he makes it. Jazz are fired up tonight.

• Oh, Antonio McDyse is still alive. Good for him.

• I like the way the Jazz are playing but I would like to see them make that extra pass. I'll preach that 'til I die. MAKE THE EXTRA PASS.

• First commercial break. Jazz up 21-12

"Well Dick, it looks like the Spurs...

... have fallen off the horse."

• Poor Tim Duncan. He always looks so sad. What's wrong Tim? Do you want to talk about it?

• I'm pulling for Miles. I really want him to succeed. I just wish he was better. Also CJ, YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE EXTRA PASS!

• See, the fast offense worked in the opening minutes, but it's not the way the Jazz really know how to play. Eventually it's going to stop working, and that's when they need to adjust and slow it down. Or not even necessarily slow it down, but quit flying by the seat of their pants and execute the offense.

• End of first quarter. Jazz trail, Spurs looking awesome.

"Someone call Antares Audio Technologies, because the Jazz...

... need to be Autotuned."

• Richard Jefferson throws down a 180 dunk. I think he did that just so Vitale could say a bunch of nonsenses.

• Wow the Jazz are playing awful. They're trying to play as fast as the Spurs, but they just look like little kids trying to drive a car.

• Spurs can't miss. This is no longer a game, it's a slaughter.

• 33-22. Boozer takes a late-career Karl Malone fadeaway and makes it. Thanks goodness.

• The commentators are saying Boozer demanded a trade in the off-season. That's not even true. He just boneheadedly said that he'd like to play for other teams. Will we ever forgive him?

• I'm not sure I've ever seen a team play as well as the Spurs have in the last ten minutes. And I've been watching basketball for 47 years.

• If I'm the Jazz I'm getting pissed off right now. The Spurs are winning with style. They're not just beating the Jazz but they're making them look like fools, playing with the greatest of ease and showing flair at the same time. This is like watching a Globetrotters game. The Jazz should start a fight.

• The Jazz starting a fight thing is Lee's idea.

Deron Williams is growing his beard until the Jazz win five in a row. This is the best thing that could happen to our team right now. The whole team should do it.

• Tony Parker is wearing a contraption called a "Strasburg Sock." That's sick.

• Tony Parker's dad is sitting next to a guy with a disturbing moustache.

• BOOZER! Left hand slam, standing menacingly over the corpse of his enemy. It was a virtual exact replay of this:

• Deron is doing some weird stuff in the lane. He had this bizarre back-handed flip that miraculously went in, and then an out-of-control pass to Boozer that I can't quite describe.

• 47-43.

• Dick Vitale: "If there's one thing about the United States, it's that they know how to respond to countries in need."

• You know how in Toy Story, when humans are near Woody just collapses into an awkward heap, his limbs all askew? That same thing happens to AK when he gets the ball under the basket.

• Dick Vitale has thoughts on the All-Star game.

• Remember when Manu Ginobli won the Oscar for Life is Beautiful?

• 50-45 at the half.

"Looks like the Jazz...

... forgot the Alamo."

• Back from the half! Spurs have yet to score his half.

• I love how Boozer yells "Hey!" every time he goes for a board. It probably only works 1 time out of 20, but that 1 time could make all the difference.

• Something that won't show up in the box score: Memet Okur is running really hard tonight. I don't think it's making a difference, but I like to see the effort. Not that I question his effort, but I've never been impressed with his effort either y'know?

• Boozer with a cute little backward flip layup. Similar to what the Spurs did throughout the first half. He's using their own satellites against them.

• Duncan is poised to become the 35th player to score 20,000 points. When you think about it, that is impressive, but it's still hard to care about number 35.

• Deron is favoring his wrist. He's hangin' tough.

• Tied up!

• The national broadcasts always cover the same ground, talking about Stockton and Malone, maybe pointing out how many coaching changes there have been since Sloan took over. It bores me. They did however just mention that Sloan has only ever had one losing season. That's remarkable.

• These Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets commercials are so disturbing.

• Wow Deron is playing with a real chip on his shoulder. I don't know about this. I like the fire but he's missing shots and playing a little sloppy. The shoulder chip is dangerous. It can be a powerful ally but can just as easily corrupt your jump shot.

• I'm sensing a lot of frustration on both sides of the court. Maybe this will be the game where a fight happens.

• Remember when Manu Ginobli lived with his Cousin Larry?

• Okur tries a hook shot. THROW IT DOWN BIG MAN!

• Makes up for it with the money shot.

• Don't you think Okur should grow a big beard? And let his hair go long, and maybe smoke clove cigarettes during timeouts? Then they'd call him the Mad Turk. How cool would that be?

• Domino's new ad campaign: "Our pizza sucks! All this time you've been eating sucky izza! You're such a jerk!"

• By the way the new Domino's recipe is inferior to the way it used to be. I'm switching away permanently.

• Oh man, Jeff Van Gundy preening in front of the mirror in the Phoenix Gorilla costume. That's great.

• Nice end to the third quarter. Buzzer shot by Boozer, stiff rejection by Millsap, then a cross-court pass out of bounds, then a foul sending Ginobli to the line. I guess it was just an okay end.

• Jazz up 74-70

"I guess San Antonio...

... is more than just the cab driver from Wings."

• Ronnie Price with a fast break dunk and then takes a charge. Kid's got heart.

• Utah's lead is up to ten. They've really taken ownership of this game.

• We've not AK doing a Dick Vitale impression, in Russian. Then Tony Parker in French. Weird. Enjoyable.

• Duncan called for an offensive foul. He looks sad and frightened. As usual. Wow, then a defensive foul on him. Might not make it to 20k.

• Aha! Vitale is talking about Popovich's emphasis on making the extra pass. I told you that's the key to success!

• I gotta admit, I've been impressed with AK tonight. Seems like he's been better every game ever since he came back into the starting line-up.

• Every year, no matter what AK is doing, the pundits say that he needs to do the opposite. As in, "AK is stronger off the bench." Then next season, "AK needs to be in the starting lineup. THAT'S the secret!"

• Both of these teams are being all they can be tonight. Great game.

• The Kobe/Lebron puppet commercials have lost their charm.

• Three minutes left, Jazz up by five. It's close.

• Duncan limited to 12 points tonight. Foul trouble has certainly contributed to that, but how much of it is Carlos "Lazy Never Plays Defense Trade Him" Boozer's defense?

• Big jumper from Boozer, Jazz up by 7, approaching the final minute!

• Deron, ten assists and zero turnovers. Carlos, 29 points, AK 26 points.

• AK airballs a three and Boozer commits a foul. BUCKLE UP!

• Deron to Boozer under the basket total chaos! Duncan has fouled out. Roast. 19,999 points.

• Five point lead with thirty seconds. Boozer pulls down a commanding rebound and we go to the foul game with sixteen seconds left. I am confident of a victory.

• Spurs haven't been swept since 1997-1998. Wow.

• No matter what happens, between sweeping the Spurs and "The Shot" this has got to be one of the more satisfying seasons to be a Jazz fan.

• Victory! Nice. Very nice. I love it.

"19,999? I guess for Duncan...

... it wasn't time to make the donuts."


15 January 2010


You can't see more than five feet ahead. Feels like the worst it's ever been, but you've said that before and you'll say it again. The cold feels colder, the dark feels darker. You're angry and you make that known, on the message boards, the comment threads, the call-in shows. Anyone who will listen, whether they're actually listening or not. You want changes. Your thoughts turn to the drastic. Your misery is unique, your misery is unprecedented. You can't see more than five feet ahead. You can see even less behind. There's a glow, but it can't cut through the fog. The glow is muted, the world itself a cataract. The lights of that old familiar diner. Reliable, unremarkable. You can't quite see it but you'll always know it's there.

* * *

You can't see more than five feet in front of you. All you see is the ball. You see the hardwood, the gloss long since worn off by the footfalls of a thousand shabby soles. You hear the squeaks of today's soles on those trodden boards, you hear the voices of every single person in the crowd around you. The voices aren't the formless drone that you imagined in the driveways of youth. The voices are sharp, distinct shapes. The voices don't want you to forget where you are, but you have to. You can't - you must not - see more than five feet in front of you. All that matters is this, right now.

- - -

It will end. This will end. The seasons always change.

The wind will blow out the fog. One graceful shot can lift it away and you remember what the sky looks like, you can remember how the air is supposed to feel. You've felt it before and you'll feel it again.

* * *

You might get lucky. A block might fall into place that will make another block fall into place that will make another block fall into place that will make you fall into place and you might wonder, how did you get here, but you can't or else you won't be here any more. You can't see more than five feet ahead.

- - -

You've traded it in, just for tonight. You've traded in the smell of our cars and our factories for the smell of spilt beer and overcooked hot dogs.

* * *

More blocks fall into place. Two awkward landings, a call that could have gone either way. Now it's on you and no one else. You can't see more than five feet ahead. You can't see the faces of the 19,000, you can't see the logos all around, you can't see the King, the man who owns every board of glossy, well kept hardwood he steps on with his brand-new sneakers. You can hear the murmur, the one you heard in the driveways of your youth. But all you can see is the ball, and the hoop.

09 January 2010

Don't hurry back, Deron Williams

As shown in his never-ending quest to be an All-Star this year, Deron Williams loves to play in his hometown of Dallas. He does not seem to love to win there, though.

Dallas has perhaps been the most impossible place for the Jazz to win since Deron Williams became the starting PG for the Utah Jazz. They've lost their last five, and the losses always seem to come at crucial points in the season.

Williams loves to do well in Dallas, and he has led the Jazz in scoring the last few times Utah has played there. Could this be more evidence that Williams has a long way to go in learn that him playing what he considers awesome and the Jazz winning aren't necessarily exclusive. Or maybe a motivated Deron is a Deron that tries to hard to win the game himself, and forgets that he isn't good enough to beat good teams when he does that?

Anyway, he has, as predicted, become healthy enough to play in tonight's game.
Big whoop.


Also, caption contest over at Sloan Hands.