Their outside shooting was as indicative of their poor road play as the Brooklyn Nets' Deron Williams' statement about being better on the Jazz was truthful. And their ball-handling stats in the box score were as dark as the Nets' black uniforms.
But despite shooting 5 of 20 from beyond the arc and coughing up 15 turnovers, the Jazz picked up a road win, this one a 92-90 victory at Brooklyn, N.Y.
GUARDS: After shooting 54 percent or better from the field in four of five games, Mo Williams (14 points on 6-of-17 shooting Tuesday) has now shot 40 percent or worse in four straight contests, each featuring at least five shot attempts. His 6:5 assists-to-turnover ratio was troubling as well. At least Deron Williams (14 points on 5-of-12 shooting, 5 assists, 3 turnovers), Mo Williams' predecessor as the Jazz's starting point guard, wasn't superb himself. And while Deron Williams shot 2 of 3 (with no assists) in the fourth quarter, Mo Williams did shoot 3 of 5 in the final stanza.
Randy Foye (8 points on 3-of-7 shooting, 3 assists) didn't help compensate for Mo Williams' struggles offensively and was subpar given the productivity of his counterpart, Joe Johnson (21 points on 7-of-15 shooting). Foye committed four fouls largely trying to slow Johnson. The Brooklyn guard did miss his last three attempts in a tight game. Foye's 2-of-5 effort from beyond the arc nearly matched his 42.4-percent rate showing entering the game. GRADE: C.
FORWARDS: Paul Millsap (12 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 8 rebounds, 3 steals) didn't play down the stretch, but continued his hot play as of late nevertheless. The seventh-year player has scored a dozen points or more in 11 straight contests, including a 50-percent or better clip in seven of the past eight games. He's shot 54-of-98 overall, a 55-percent clip, during that span. Former Jazzman Kris Humphries (8 points on 3-of-5 shooting, 11 rebounds) may not have been as effective as Millsap only because he did not receive as many touches. (He did play 28 minutes to Millsap's 26.)
Marvin Williams (11 points on 5-of-11 shooting) offered more of what the Jazz, like any high-rise-located business, need from him — stellar glass-cleaning. His 10 rebounds were a season-high. The most he had otherwise registered were eight, ripped 12 games ago in an ugly win over the dreadful Washington Wizards in the nation's capital. His defense remained an issue, however, given what Gerald Wallace (11 points on 5-of-10 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) did Tuesday — though he was hardly existent in the final few minutes. To ease a bit on the first-year Jazzman, Wallace has shot 29 of 53 (55 percent) in the past six games. GRADE: B-.
CENTERS: Al Jefferson (16 points on 8-of-15 shooting, 11 rebounds) was fantastic. When Big Al's making more than half his field goal attempts, he needs more of them. With just five rebounds, his counterpart Brook Lopez was far less effective on the glass in 30 minutes. However, Lopez has been a bit of a softie this season on the boards, averaging just 6.8 in 29 minutes per game. Due to a 5-of-12 shooting effort, Lopez's 16 points fell nearly one bucket below his season average. GRADE: B+.
BENCH: Led by power forward Derrick Favors' 13 points in less than 25 minutes, the Utah reserves outscored the Brooklyn bench 26-20. Both sides proved to be far from great, though, as the Jazz shot just 9 of 22 (lowlighted by Jamaal Tinsley's 1 of 5 shooting in 11 minutes) and the Nets made one less bucket with one additional attempt. Also considering he was 1 of 8 three nights ago against Memphis, Tinsley's shooting effort was uncharacteristic given he averages at least 32 percent from the field this season and 39 percent for his career. Also, he had shot 15 of 27 in the previous half-dozen games. GRADE: C-.
OVERALL: Their 3-point shooting and handling of the ball could have been cleaner. But the Jazz did limit a Brooklyn team currently above .500 to 43-percent shooting. They can feel good about the victory to start the holiday road trip, especially given Utah's desperate need to play better away from Salt Lake City. GRADE: C.
Rhett Wilkinson studies interesting stuff at Utah State University and is the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. An editorial intern for the Deseret New, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wilklogan.
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