The Jazz beat the Hornets

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Published: April 9, 2008

Twas a rough one at the Arena tonight. The Hornets and Jazz both started hot out of the gate, each team shooting above fifty percent in the first quarter. It was all downhill from there though, as the sellout crowd endured both squads trying hard to suck less than the other. In the end, it was the Jazz that sucked least.

Win 55 and franchise history for the Hornets will just have to wait.

Tyson Chandler and Chris Paul soak up the depression on the bench

Quick and grumpy notes, because I'm tired and bobbleheadless…

  • Final score was 77-66. Linkage: recap | box score | standings

  • Some folks might say that both teams struggled offensively tonight because there was some great defense being played. You know, folks like Jeff. I don't really buy that. The defense was good, but not a-combined-143-points good.

    The Jazz got a bunch of open looks from three — shots they usually make — but they couldn't knock them down. They finished 4-of-19 from deep. The Hornets looked like they'd never ran a pick and roll before, and Chris Paul had a woeful shooting night. Add to that a bunch of unforced turnovers by both teams, and some mighty shitty officiating which kept guys off the free-throw line, and you've got an ugly game.

  • The only guy who played real well tonight, on either team, was Mehmet Okur. He scored inside and out, dropping 22 points and collecting 17 boards. He was also the only Jazz player not to turn the ball over.
  • Chris Paul struggled mightily. He was scoreless with 5 assists in the first quarter, which was fine. Then he managed just 4 points and 4 assists the rest of the way. I'm reluctant to say he still has some kind of mental block about playing against Deron Williams, especially since he got the better of the match-up last time they met. CP just didn't look right tonight though. I'd expect him to breathe fire and cremate the T-Wolves in Minnesota tomorrow night.
  • Williams didn't have a great game either, but he certainly played better than Paul. He shot equally bad (2-of-11 for 4 points) and turned the ball over twice as much (6 fumbles), but his 16 assists were huge for Utah.
  • By the way, this was only the second game all season that Chris was held to single digits in scoring and assists. The other time: February 4th, at Utah, when he finished with 6 and 6.
  • With the win, the Jazz become the only Western Conference team with a winning record (3-1) against the Hornets this season. The Sacramento Kings can also finish with a winning record against the Hornets if they beat us next Tuesday.
  • David West started hot offensively, hitting some tough shots over Carlos Boozer. Unfortunately, he forgot to guard Okur at the other end. The Jazz did a pretty good job of doubling down on West inside whenever he caught the ball, and their rotations to cover the swing were decent enough that we didn't get many open looks off it. West finished with 14 points (5-of-14 FGs), 7 boards, 4 assists and 4 turnovers.
  • Boozer also had a forgettable night. His last couple games against the Hornets have actually been pretty poor. This time he finished with 10 points (5-of-14 FGs) and 6 rebounds. He seemed to get burned by the lousy officiating quite a bit, and looked pretty pissed when another call didn't go his way in the fourth.
  • Some bright spots tonight: The bench actually looked good, Julian Wright and Hilton Armstrong in particular. JuJu's crazy intense D almost got us back into the game in the fourth quarter, while Hilton came up with some strong plays in the game, and held his ground well against Boozer and Paul Millsap.
  • It's easy to blame the coach when things go wrong, so that's what I'll do: Byron Scott's substitutions were questionable tonight. Bringing in Mike James for Jannero Pargo in the fourth quarter made little sense, and I'm not sure why he didn't play Peja Stojakovic at all in the fourth quarter, when he was our best scorer on the night (7-of-15 shooting for 15 points) and has this tendency to be an absolute legend in the fourth quarter.

    Sitting David West for Ryan Bowen after we'd just scored two points in six minutes was also a tiny bit strange. Bowen's not much of a scoring machine, you know.

  • Game recaps from other blogs linked here as I find them: At the Hive | Hornets Hype | My Utah Jazz | Basketball John | Frank Layden Admirers

I'll leave the bullets there.

The Spurs were inactive tonight so we only dropped a half-game on them, still lead them by one in the standings. As I'm typing this the Lakers are down 16 to the Blazers entering the fourth quarter, so hopefully they'll get slayed tonight too.

Hornets in Minneapolis tomorrow to try beat up on the T-Wolves. Hornets.com tells us that our guys won't have a shootaround ahead of that game. After shooting 17-of-58 (.293) from the field in the final three quarters tonight, perhaps they should reconsider.

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