By all appearances, it would seem it was the New Jersey Nets that was coming off a marathon, quadruple overtime loss, rather than the Utah Jazz. Despite not playing its best basketball of the season, the Jazz had enough energy to easily defeat the lowly Nets 105-84.
Fresh frontcourt: After both played more than 50 minutes against the Atlanta Hawks, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson were, for the most part, the antithesis of sluggish. They played sharp offense and it was their strong inside play that withstood a second half run by the Nets.
Millsap was nimble on his feet, and showed no ill effects. He nailed 10 of 14 from the floor, including a three-pointer. He ended the game with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists.
His partner in crime, Jefferson, also was efficient. After missing his first two shots, he proceeded to make nine of his next 12 shots. The center finished with 19 points, eight boards, and three dimes of his own.
It should also be noted that the Nets’ big men, Shelden Williams and former Jazzman Kris Humphries, combined for a paltry six points, with Humphries missing all six field goal attempts.
Point guard play: Former Utah Jazz franchise player Deron Williams finished with decent numbers: 17 points, 11 assists, and four rebounds. But it was an evening of inefficiency, as he was just seven of 21 from the field and one from seven from three-point range (not to mention two of five free throws). He also had five turnovers and was visibly frustrated throughout the game. While he had his regular flashes of brilliance, all in all, he struggled.
His counterpart for whom he was traded, Devin Harris, also had a rough offensive night, but redeemed himself with a nice playmaking game. He finished with 11 assists and is averaging 10 points per game his past three outings.
In a somewhat surprising move, Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin opted to go with Earl Watson over Jamaal Tinsley as the primary point guard back-up. Watson, fresh off a nagging ankle injury, seemed out of synch all night as he attempted to shake off the rust. He only had two points and three assists, while committing five miscues. Moreover, the offense did not run as smoothly.
Tinsley averaged 7.0 points and 4.5 assists the past eight games as Harris’ main relief off the bench.
Bits and pieces:
- While a sometimes deceiving statistic, Harris had a +/- of +33, while Watson had a -12.
- Utah forward DeMarre Carroll continues to impress. In the four games since he’s started receiving consistent playing time, he’s produced 6.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in just 13.3 minutes per outing.
- The quartet of former Jazzmen — Williams, Humphries, DeShawn Stevenson, and Sundiata Gaines — finished a combined seven of 31 from the floor, with the latter three totaling a paltry two points.
- Recent D-League call-up Gerald Green has been a bright spot for New Jersey. Coming into Monday’s game, he was averaging 10.6 points and 3.1 rebounds in 22.0 minutes since he was brought up. Against the Jazz, he exhibited fluid shooting and nice athleticism en route to 20 points, three steals, and four caroms.
David Smith is providing instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.