This was a must-needed victory of a Jazz team who was just two games behind us in the race for the 8th seed. The win pushes us to 2 games ahead of the Rockets, 2.5 ahead of the Suns and now 3 ahead of the Jazz. As I mentioned in the game thread, this was a game we needed to win, at home where we are now 25-10.As we prepare to embark an a 3-game set against the best of the best -- @Boston, @Chicago, vs. San Antonio -- a winable game like Monday night's became a must-win*.
*Sure if we lost it wouldn't have meant our season was over, but... you get my point.
Let's take a look at what we liked about Monday night's game, and maybe nitpick a little and drop a "did not like" on you.
Here are the pretty numbers I was talking about:
- We forced 17 turnovers
- Had a season-high 33 assists
- Held the Jazz to 3-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc. Unbelievable!
- Picked 8 steals and blocked 7 shots
- Outrebounded the Jazz 40-30, including 14 offensive rebounds
- We actually made 5-of-12 threes
- Bench scored 46 of our 103 points
- Hamed Haddadi scored 10 points with 4 rebounds and a block in 12 minutes. Would you believe the Jazz had no answer for Haddadi? It's true
- O.J. Mayo played to his strength, hitting 3-of-4 threes on his way to scoring 11 points in 26 minutes
- Shane Battier played his role, doing the little things, working the glass and making Gordan Hayward wish he were gearing up for the Sweet 16 this week
- Al Jefferson was off his game, scoring 12 points and pulling in 6 rebounds in 33 minutes. The interior defense (Zach Randolph!) hounded him. He was held scoreless until about 2 minutes remaining in the first half
- Each time the Jazz made a run, we answered. They pulled within 8 halfway through the 4th quarter before we went on a 15-3 run
- We continue to win at home, and continue to defeat teams as they are in OUR HOUSE on the second night of a back-to-back set. In those scenarios, we are 13-0 at home
What didn't I like? Well, we struggled early on in the 1st quarter, but... we righted the ship later in the 1st quarter.
Maybe I can complain about our defense, but... I can't. We limited our opponents three-point shooting which has been our Achilles Heel all season long.
What about our three-point shooting, you ask? Well, we made 5 which is a big deal for us. We make under 4 threes per game on the season. So, naturally, 5 is an improvement.
Of course there was something to despise about Monday night... Join us in the discussion in our next post. You're not going to like this!