One of this blog's co-founders has moved to Indiana. Me, for graduate school. It all happened so fast. Since I missed the first Utah Jazz-Denver Nuggets game (I watched it the next day, which caused puking) on account of studying for the GRE, which I would take the next morning, I thought tonight might be an appropriate time to attempt a live blog.
I don't even know if I can entertain myself for the entire game, much less anyone else. That being said, I dedicate this to B, his brother Pail Millsap, and Sloan'd's one reader, Holdinator.
***You know how us Westerners thinks it's stupid for Easterners to not stay up a little later to watch West Coast basketball (as well as football and baseball) games? I'm no defending them, but it IS tough. It's 10:30 here in the EST. If not for the dearth of Jazz games I get to watch on TV, I would have started this game with no intention to finish it.
***Chris Anderson must have been strung out while the rest of us were making fun of Mike Tyson's face tattoo.
***Watch I'm watching for early: The other night, Steve Luhm (Salt Lake Tribune) said the ball moves better when Gordon Hayward is on the court. Keepin' tabs.
***Geez louise, Hubie Brown, get off Hayward's back. We know he's a whipper-snapper, but he deserves a fair chance.
***Deron Williams is so excited to be back on the court. Check his happy feet on defense. (the set-up)
***Kyrylo Fesenko is so excited to be back on the court. Check the usage of his brain. (punch line)
***In a Google image contest, "silly fesenko" beat "dumb fesenko," "brainless fesenko," and "naked fesenko."
***The first quarter of this game is over. For the rest of the Jazz players' lives, they will have to live with getting outscored 24-23 by the Denver Nuggets in the first quarter on February 4, 2011. You can never take this away from the Nuggets.
***Pail Millsap is not impressed with Fesenko's performance. Says we know Fesenko can do this against the Nuggs. Wants to see his boy Kyrylo do it against other teams too. @Del_Taco
***Jeremy Evans gets up and stays up. Cialis.
***Call your doctor is J.E. spends more than four minutes on the court at a time.
***I also dedicate this live blog session to Bryon Russell. Like him, I believe I am much better than I am.
***Start thinking of songs to dedicate to the Jazz's first-half performance. If a Youtube of the best one exists, I will post it.
***Williams' new birth control must really be working.
***What if the Jazz, like the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs, are built to win in the playoffs, not necessarily the regular season? Chickenshit, or no?
***Andrei Kirilenko looks like a girl who hasn't been asked to dance all night. "There's really nobody I'm interested in anyway. It's okay. My acne has nothing to do with this. So what if I never use a curling iron?"
***You can never take this halftime lead away from the Utah Jazz. The record will always show that they led 50-47 at the midway point.
***Any songs you want to dedicate to the Jazz's first-half efforts?
***Uhhhhhh ... self bang?
***For Jeremy Evans:
***Halftime song dedication:
***So far, and in so many ways, this video personifies the Jazz's second half:
***What I'm surprised Hubie Brown hasn't said: "Utah needs to be careful. They just got three dunks in a row. They're not a team know for their dunks."
***The look on Bell's face after J.R. Smith pushed him down said, "Ah, good, I still got it."
***Holy cow. A scuffle. I've been wanting this for three years. I need to go back and watch it again.
***That scuffle was the best Utah Jazz moment since they made the 2007 Western Conference Finals. Williams probably should have gotten tossed too.
***The lineup the Jazz had during that mix-up was perfect -- Roger Bell, Al Jefferson, Williams, Paul Millsap and Earl Watson. There's a lot of pride there. They all knew exactly what to do. Bell started it, and it was smart of him to not get involved because he would have at least received a technical foul, and possibly a tossing. Williams was the closest teammate, which requires him to push J.R. Smith, which he did. Millsap and Jefferson got there soon after to separate the fighters, but to also speak some fighting words. Finally, Watson was further away, but when he got to the scene, he got right up with the rest of the crowd. Everyone had Bell's back, and now the youngsters, like Calvin Miles, Hayward, and Fesenko, know what to do when a fellow Jazzman gets mugged. I have a feeling Francisco Elson and Ronnie Price were so pissed they weren't able to get involved.
***Al Jefferson has offered his fellow Jazz a ride on his back in this fourth quarter.
***Friend Bryan text messaged me: "This might gel us, man. D(eron)Will(iams) pushing was HUGE." It's true. Look at all the Jazz since the fight, they're feeling badass.
***That being said, Utah MUST finish this game. They were in the Nuggets' head. They have to throw the knockout punch.
***One more thing: That near-fight probably turns out completely different if Kirilenko is on the floor.
***Great win, worth staying up until 1:30 a.m. for.
***It is hard to predict anything with these modern Jazz, but the roles of this team might have been determined today.
Al Jefferson is the go-to guy on offense who can also make huge plays on defense.
Deron Williams is the best player.
Roger Bell now knows he is free to instigate because his teammates got his back.
Paul Millsap is the role player. He'll score some big hoops, grab some crucial rebounds, and make a few plays on defense. He also bails out Williams when Yaz gets erratic.
Earl Watson is the calmer. While Williams can get crazy, Watson can bail him out when they're playing together, or sub in for him and slow the Jazz's roll.
Calvin Miles is a less reliable version of Millsap.
Kyrylo Fesenko goes into Denver and takes a few huge dumps.
Francisco Elson and Ronnie Price come in and do veteran things.
Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans do rookie things.
If Mehmet Okur every plays consistent minutes, he'll be the shooter off the bench.
This might just be the game that leads the Jazz to pull the trigger on a salary dump deal. What does he bring that the Jazz don't already have with the above players?
***Then again, this Jazz team has not established an identity since John Stockton and Karl Malone left. Every time these Jazz seem to have it figured out, they forget it.
That being said, I think Utah is about at the beginning of one of their All-Star break hot streaks.