By Devin Hansen – Inaugural Guest Blogger
Greetings, Gale Force readers. I’m honored to be guest posting on the increasingly famous Gale Force Blog today for the first time. How unfortunate that the monumental occasion comes under such unfortunate circumstances.
But before I get into the meat and potatoes, let me preface this by saying that I’m a glass half-full kind of fellow. I’m a self-proclaimed optimist at heart, but I also try to ground myself with a healthy sprinkling of realism to keep my expectations of things at a reasonable level. So when the Jazz made it into the playoffs this year, I was hopeful they would turn the junky end-of-season play around and pull out a series win against the Rockets, and they stepped up and made it happen, just for me. Then they moved on against the Warriors, and I said to myself, “Self, the Jazz are going to win this series, I’m fairly sure of it.” And again, they did not disappoint.
Then it was on to the Western Conference Finals, and the story changes here a bit.
You see, it’s not that I’m disappointed that the Jazz have lost the first two games, and it’s not even that I’m abandoning all hope that they could still pull out a win in the series and go to the finals (hope is dim, but still burning). The issue is the manner in which the Jazz lost. We, the citizens of Jazz Nation, have now had to suffer through two nearly identical games. Jazz start out strong in first quarter, fall apart in second quarter, enter half down just shy of 20 points, fight their guts out in second half, come up short still by 10 or so points, never closing that defecit to closer than 7. Now I wasn’t so suprised to see that in game 1. It was a big transition from playing the run and gun Warriors to the inside power Spurs, so there was going to be some effort required for the Jazz to shift gears, but I expected (in all honesty) a much closer, more evenly matched loss to the Spurs in game 2. My expectations were realistic, I believe, but went sadly unfulfilled.
Now I could go on at length in an analysis of why the Jazz lost the way they did (and believe me, there were plenty of reasons), but instead I want to post my snapshots of the problems the boys in blue created for themselves and let you, Gale Forcers, analyze to your the content of your collective hearts. So here we go:
- All five starters need to play like starters! Boozer and Williams posted great offensive games, but without help elsewhere, they can’t beat a team like the Spurs.
- I’ll excuse Fisher a little for shooting so poorly, but Memo’s game-long string of bad shot choices and lame-duck, half-hearted efforts to post up get the stink-eye award.
- I could strangle AK for making bad pass after bad pass, trying so hard to do too much in clever passes that only went straight to the Spurs.
- Is anybody on this whole team going to ever defend a baseline 3-point shooter? Good grief!!!
- The Spurs could put their grandmother on the court and the Jazz would have given her a lane to drive the basket.
- Leave Millsap on the floor! He was the only bench player who hustled without looking downright frantic. Giricek always screws up, and Harpring didn’t play up to the level I usually expect from him. And let’s see Rafa get some more minutes. He’ll certainly make the Spurs pay for driving in, even if he doesn’t mean to…he’s just that big.
That should about cover it for now. I’m building up another head of steam and I don’t know if I can keep from Hulking out again if I start thinking about it. My hope for the Jazz now is that they do what they did against the Rockets and Rally themselves back into contention on their home court. So get it together for Saturday, boys. You may lose the series, but I expect you to put up a fight at least.