Earl Watson had quite the week. The Utah Jazz guard outlobbed Lob City, took on a 7-foot German and stood in a Spaniard's way at his mouth's expense.
New Lob City
With lobs on everybody's mind, Watson smiled before the Clippers' game when asked if he always looks for alley-oops.
"Yeah," he said, "but not when Al (Jefferson)'s in the game."
Definitely when Jeremy Evans is, though. But get this: Watson and Evans have never practiced that pretty play, which requires precise timing and execution. It simply happens. If defenders overplay Evans, he said it's an automatic read.
"I thought they'd figure it out by now, but I guess not," the lengthy leaper said. "I don't have a problem with it."
A lob affair?
The "Early Oop," as some call it, is natural, but a Big Al-ey oop would require practice, right? Watson leaned into the microphone. "No comment."
The flashy-and-feisty playmaker had a comment for a lob that didn't include him. Against L.A., Jamaal Tinsley perfectly placed a half-court heave for an in-air Evans snag-and-slam. (Watson admitted he doesn't read the paper Saturday, so it's safe to point out that Tinsley-Evans lob might've been the night's nicest.)
So, did Watson feel cheated on?
"Jeremy and I are going to talk about that ... I don't really appreciate that," he joked. Watson's advice when others feed Evans lobs: "He needs to start coming down with it and pump faking."
Meaning, he'll concede assists, just not alley-oops.
"You know what's funny? I threw (Evans) a chest pass on a break and he acted like he didn't know what to do with it," Watson said. "I'm like, 'Every play can't be a lob.'"
C'mon, really? "I guess I can only throw him lobs."
How to make Watson grumpy
Watson showed two things against Dallas: 1) He doesn't like opponents disrespecting his teammates (as Dirk Nowitzki found out); and 2) He doesn't like losing (obvious after the tough 94-91 loss).
On why he smacked the ball out of Nowitzki's hands after the Mav did that to Derrick Favors: "Teammates are like my brothers. I love all my teammates. I love my team. It's like protecting your house. Be respectful — if not, whatever happens, happens."
On the hard-fought TNT loss to the defending champs: "We had a good opportunity to go from a good team to a great team, and we let it slip away.
I don't care about stats. I don't care about anything but winning and losing. You couldn't pay me enough money to be happy to lose."
Is there a dentist in the house?
Watson did some nifty dribbling into the lane Saturday and, suddenly, it was the 6-1, 199-pounder vs. 6-11, 290-pound Montenegro mammoth Nikola Pekovic.
Watson went up hard and came down harder.
"I almost got hurt," he said. "I've got to pick my battles wisely."
But the layup went in and he sank the hard-earned freebie.
Moments after the "lucky play," Watson held his ground and took an important charge while getting smacked in the mouth by T-Wolves' rookie Ricky Rubio.. That play helped Utah maintain a 100-96 lead en route to the 108-98 win.
"I remember that well," Watson said, showing his mouth. "I broke my tooth doing that."
Watson's front tooth was damaged in the preseason and will require surgery.
"Whatever it takes to win," he said. "Sacrifice is part of the game. Everyone gets an elbow."
So will Rubio get his dentist's bill? Watson looked at locker neighbor Alec Burks.
"Burks said he got it for me," Watson joked. "My rook's got it."
Funny. Watson said the same thing about the $4,000 he owes the NBA for his two technicals. Burks hopes he's teasing.
Dinner of champions
The secret of Watson's success? Could be his pregame meal. This season's menu: three slices of French toast, two scrambled eggs, a turkey sandwich and potato chips.
"That's the weirdest combination," Watson said, laughing.
But tasty. Considering his play, don't expect an appetite alteration.
Wednesday vs. Raptors, 7 p.m., ROOT
Toronto has lost eight straight, which is lousy even with the poor American exchange rate. But watch out: Raptors do have Linas Kleiza.
Friday at Mavericks, 6:30 p.m., ROOT
After playing Utah, Nowitzki is taking a four-game break to improve his shape. Hmm. What's German for, "I don't want to face Earl Watson again?"
Saturday vs. Jimmermania, 7 p.m., ROOT
How weird has Jimmer Fredette's rookie year been? His coach told him to be a ballhog and to shoot more. Expect ESA to be like Cow Palace East.
Paul Millsap7 comments on this story
Outplayed elite power forwards Blake Griffin, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love while averaging 20.7 points, 9.3 rebounds.
Rough week: Missed game with ankle sprain, ejection, $25,000 fine, only scored three points on in two contests.
The BIG stat
6-1: The Jazz have hit the century mark in scoring in seven of their 15 games, and they've won six of their 100-plus contests. The only time they lost when hitting triple digits was a 117-100 defeat in Denver.
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