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The Jazz Beat the Hornets

Published: April 6, 2009

About the only good thing I could say about the game tonight was that they at least showed some signs of life in the third.  The Jazz offense was on target, and the Hornets didn’t once manage to keep them from scoring more than 20 in a quarter.  That’s not going to get it done.  Not even close.

There will be some who will only see the boxscore and think that the starters were pretty solid – hell, even Julian got a ton of other stats even if he missed four shots, but that’s not the case.  Take a quick look at the turnover column for the starting five, and you see the beginning of the Hornets problems.

Then look at their defense, and you see the end of them.  The Jazz are a premier team at exposing soft interior defense since they launch cuts through the middle on every play.  If the big men aren’t willing to body up, rotate, and contest shots, it’s all over at that point.  Armstrong rarely left Okur, West usually left late, and Marks just isn’t fast enough.

The thing that probably stuck with me the most throughout the game, however, was the first quarter.  The Hornets played very strong defense through the first five posessions, giving up only one good look.  Ronnie Brewer, however, tossed in some really tough shots anyways, and the Hornets rotations came slower, the focus was softer, and the Jazz got more open shots – and knocked them down.  It was over then, no matter what happened the rest of the way.

Paul wanted the game bad, and did what he could on both ends of the floor.  The rest of the guys?  I can’t say the same.

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