The Jazz beat the Hornets

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Published: March 21, 2010

Instead of trying to list everything that went wrong in this game, it’s easier just to list what went right and assure you that everything else was a disaster:

  • Nobody got hurt.
  • James Posey hit a jump shot.

Yeah, that’s about it. The Jazz started out getting easy baskets both in transition and in the halfcourt, then David West got ejected for smacking Kyle Korver upside the head and things went from bad to worse. Utah took a 25-point advantage into halftime and refused to let up in the third quarter, stretching their lead out to as much as 35 points.

It was a disappointing but unsurprising end to the Hornets’ 5-game road trip. It’s tough to compete with a great hometown team like that when you’re at full strength, let alone when you’re severely depleted.

David West’s ejection

Whatever small chance the Hornets had at winning this game disappeared when West got ejected. But did that foul warrant a Flagrant 2 call? Yes, I believe it did. The definition of such a foul from NBA.com:

A Flagrant Foul, Penalty 2 is defined as contact that is unnecessary AND excessive. The defensive player on this play winds up and makes hard contact with the airborne offensive player in a dangerous manner. This type of contact is both unnecessary AND excessive. The penalty for a Flagrant 2 is two free throws for the offended player, and his team would also retain possession of the ball. The offending player would also be ejected from the game, pending confirmation of the call via Instant Replay review.

You can see several examples of flagrant 2 fouls over at NBA.com’s video rulebook, and what West did is close enough to them. You simply can’t swing your arm and make contact with the head of an airborne player. That’s too much. The fact that the officials reviewed the play and stuck with the call also rules out the possibility that the contact just appeared excessive in the moment.

A few game notes, bullet style:

  • Okay, so Emeka Okafor and Marcus Thornton didn’t suck tonight either. Okafor was solid at both ends, or at least as solid as he could be with little help on the interior. He pulled off some nice post moves, grabbed 10 boards and blocked 4 shots. Thornton was his usual self, finishing with 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting. His aggressiveness refused to acknowledge that the game was out of reach in the second half.
  • James Posey hit that three early in the fourth quarter, but had made just 11 of his 53 field goal attempts (.208) prior to that.
  • Morris Peterson also had a terrible shooting night, going 1-of-8 from the field. He airballed two triples in the first quarter, even though there was nobody within ten feet of him when he shot the second one. Still, he hasn’t had a bad road trip overall.
  • Collison finished with 19 points, 6 assists and 2 turnovers, but I’d call this a poor performance for him. He had trouble on both ends with Williams and Price. He seemed reluctant to shoot when the defense backed off him in the first half and picked up his dribble way too early more than once. It’s a pity he ended up playing 40 minutes again, too. It would be nice to have a 10-day point guard to throw out there during a blowout just to give the rookie a much-needed rest.
  • The Jazz scored 60 of their points in the paint and also got a bunch of open jumpers throughout the game. They used the usual off-the-ball action to get guys open on the baseline repeatedly. The Hornets just couldn’t offer enough resistance with the personnel they had.
  • Aaron Gray: 7 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks in 20 minutes. I won’t be convinced he’s a keeper though until he can show consistent production when the Hornets aren’t sucking.
  • Jerry Sloan looks a little like my Dad.

Hornets finally on their way back home to New Orleans, but the opposition gets no easier as they face the Mavericks Monday night, followed by the Cavaliers on Wednesday. Jeff Bower told CST’s Victor Howell before tonight’s game that he hopes to have Chris Paul back early next week, but noted that there is no firm date set for his return.

UPDATE: Game lowlights…

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