Since everybody and their dog seems to be doing Top 10 lists these days, here are my memorable Utah Jazz moments of 2010 (we'll see if my dog ever turns in his part to complete the list of 10):
5 — The Postseason
Sure, Negative Nellies — and probably any of your friends who wear purple and yellow — will point out that the Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs for the third consecutive year by the Los Angeles Lakers. But to even make it to the second round last spring was quite the accomplishment for Utah. Not only were the Jazz matched up against a division champ that was supposedly on the rise, but they also lost Game 1 and Mehmet Okur in Denver. But against all odds, the Jazz won Game 2 in the Mile High City and continued to roll through the Nuggets in six games for an unlikely first-round victory. Following that by getting swept in four games by the Lakers was anti-climactic, but that one series ranks among the franchise's good playoff wins.
4 — The Comebacks
Utah's ability to dig its way into and out of double-digit holes has been the story of this season, no doubt. All of the rallying madness this fall began against the Clippers, when Utah fought back to win in 20T after trailing by 18 points. The Jazz had so much fun teasing the Clippers, they proceeded to beat this L.A. squad two more times after being down by 10 or more points. (Dunk on that, Griffin.) But Utah hasn't only picked on the Clips. The Jazz have won with crazy comebacks 11 times this season, clawing back from a combined lead of 167 points against nine different teams in the process. Even Miami (22 points) and the Lakers (18) have chapters in the turnaround tale. Perhaps the best comeback of 2010? In February, Utah rallied from down 25 at Portland to win in overtime. Good drama. Bad habit. But it beats the alternative.
3 — An All-Star is born
One wrong in the universe — the miniscule portion that the NBA occupies, at least — was righted early in the year when Deron Williams was named to his first All-Star team after playing like one for a few years. Last season was the third year in a row D-Will averaged at least 18.7 points and 10.5 assists. He's only fifth among West guards in voting for All-Star starters, but he should probably make plans for mid-February in Los Angeles where the star-studded showdown will be held. Williams' assists are actually down this year — he's averaging 22.2 points and 9.3 assists — but his clutch game has now elevated to the point where he's being included in MVP discussions. And, yes, those discussions are even happening outside of Utah.
2 — The Offseason of Change
It looked ominous. The inevitable departure of Carlos Boozer finally, mercifully almost, came in July. On top of that, the Jazz lost Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews and their firepower. Then general manager Kevin O'Connor pulled off a titantic trade, acquiring Al Jefferson from Minnesota for Kosta Koufos and his mad dancing skills, a couple of picks and Boozer's farewell gift of a trade exception. Other offseason pick-ups — Raja Bell, Earl Watson, Francisco Elson and Gordon Hayward, particularly — have given the Jazz lifts at times as well. As a bonus, none have tripped over bags, either.
1 — The Shots
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