Utah Jazz: Red-hot team is finally firing on all cylinders
Go back to last offseason, and the Jazz would've guessed they'd have more wins than 39 by now. But this is the style of basketball and the type of results they would've predicted they'd be displaying at this point of the season.
"You want to play the way you envision. It's not going to be like that way every night, but it's fun to be on a roll where you get it consistently each and every night because we went through stretches where we didn't get it each and every night," Mo Williams said. "It's fun to be on the other side where we can get consecutive wins and play good on consecutive nights."
Williams gets a chunk of the credit from his teammates and coach.
Four weeks after his return from thumb surgery, the Jazz's starting point guard is giving Utah the speed, swagger and scoring punch the team has so desperately needed from its floor general position.
The tri-captain has been the team's vocal leader all season, but he's scored 20 or more in three straight along with dishing out an average of 6.6 assists in Utah's last five wins.
Williams said part of that is because his thumb is continuing to improve. He changed his pregame and practice routine, going without his brace until game time. Once the games begin, he's more aggressive, from attacking and running the offense to shooting 3-pointers in the flow of the offense. It's added up to him finding his stride.
"I'm just playing. I'm not even thinking about it at all," he said. "Just letting the plays happen — just let my natural abilities happen."
The wins are happening as a result.
"Mo, you can tell he's back in his groove," Jefferson said. "He's playing like the way he want to play. He's scoring the ball. He's getting people involved and playing great defense in my opinion.
"It starts with him. Everybody else is just kind of jumping on his bandwagon and running with it."
The Western Conference's current player of the week deserves some kudos, too.
Big Al has picked up his usually consistent play, averaging 20.6 points on 55 percent shooting and 8.6 rebounds during the season-high winning streak.
Then there's Foye's sensational shooting from 3-point land, Hayward's all-around excellence, Marvin Williams' smooth transition to a reserve role, Favors picking up the slack for the injured Kanter in that backup big man position, occasional bursts of timely energy and scoring by Alec Burks, Jamaal Tinsley's steadier play at point guard, and a tightening of the rotation by Corbin that is paying off.
And to a person on the payroll, they'll credit a renewed defensive focus for boosting results.
It's all added up to adding some drama and excitement to the end of an otherwise frustrating season.
Even though it took 70 games to find, this balancing act has proven to drastically increase the optimism and hope levels in the locker room along with the team's spot in the standings.
"You look at the Baltimore Ravens. They started playing well at the right time and that got them the Super Bowl," Jefferson said. "To me, we're clicking and getting together right at the right time. We've still got seven more games to go and we've got to continue to play like that."
Especially that part about hitting the shots.
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