NEWARK — Thoroughly dominant second and fourth quarters were more than enough to lift the Jazz (27-23) over New Jersey (16-35) Monday night in Newark. Paul Millsap's 24 points led the way for Utah.
Guards: Monday didn't mark the finest performance of the season for either Gordon Hayward or Devin Harris as the two shot 3-of-8 and 3-of-9, respectively. Alec Burks' minutes continue to rise. The rookie scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds in 31 minutes. Burks has now logged 20 or more minutes in seven of the past eight games. Former Jazz superstar Deron Williams may have tallied 11 assists, but he shot 7-of-21 from the field. GRADE: B
Forwards: Paul Millsap's monster 24-point, 13-rebound game came with a superb 10-of-14 effort from the floor, while C.J. Miles (10 points on 3-of-7 shooting, three rebounds) held his own against Gerald Wallace. Millsap has scored 20 or more points in four of the past six contests. Kris Humphries, another former Jazzman (and celebrity ex-husband), may have grabbed 10 rebounds, but he didn't hit a shot from the field in six attempts. GRADE: A-
Centers: Utah coach Tyrone Corbin can get accustomed to Al Jefferson shooting 9-of-14 from the field while playing relatively sound defense. Jefferson's counterpart, Shelden Williams, wasn't much of a factor with four points and six rebounds in 24 minutes. GRADE: A
Bench: The Jazz bench was outscored 37-36, but it wasn't a problem since the Utah starters were so dominant. Earl Watson may have received the lion's share of minutes behind Harris, but with five turnovers in 18 minutes, he didn't help his case in his battle with Jamaal Tinsley to be the main backup point guard. DeMarre Carroll impressed with seven points and five rebounds in 19 minutes. New Jersey's Gerald Green and Jordan Williams were hard to stop, as the two combined for 33 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. GRADE: C
Overall: The Jazz didn't show much fatigue after Sunday's grueling loss in 68 minutes to Atlanta. Even though New Jersey is a sorry team, Utah provided a fantastic performance, shooting 52 percent from the field while shooting 16-of-18 from the free-throw line. The only downside to their effort was their 21 turnovers. It will be interesting to see how Corbin will continue handling his bench (with the likes of Burks, Watson and Tinsley) in light of injuries to starters and a rotation that apparently isn't set. GRADE: B+
Rhett Wilkinson is a journalism and speech communications major at Utah State University. He has previously been an intern for the Deseret News. He can be reached at [email protected] or at Twitter: wilklogan