Morning shootaround: Jazz win on one front, but lose on another
The Jazz won, which is something we haven't been able to say much this season. Although, now that we're at this point, I know it's something increasingly few of you want to hear.
Win No. 24, which came by way of a 100-96 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, means this Jazz team won't be the worst in franchise history. That honor will belong to the 23-win New Orleans Jazz of 1974-75, the franchise's first year. And 24 wins is at least good enough to match the 1979-80 Utah Jazz, the lowest win total in the Utah era.
But with Boston losing to lowly Philadelphia last night (in Boston no less) the Jazz are now a full game behind the Celtics in the lottery race.
Here's how it's currently stacked up, according to Tankathon.com.
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April 14 is going to be a big day.
That's when Boston travels to Philly, and the Jazz host the Lakers.
So what happened last night?
<a href="http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/57776433-77/jazz-points-pelicans-game.html.csp">The Jazz squeaked out a win, but it wasn't easy. Utah held a 10-point lead with just over three minutes to play and nearly let it slip away down the stretch.</a>
A key moment came in the second quarter, when Pelicans star Anthony Davis blocked Derrick Favors. In the chase for the loose ball, Favors and Davis both went into the front row and Davis, who has been dealing with back spasms, came up looking worse for it.
Davis would sit the entire third quarter.
“I just took him out," coach Monty Williams said. "At some point, you look at a guy and he wanted to play, and I just said no. We’re not in the
playoffs. Every game for me is a championship game, but I’ve got to be smart. I just felt like he couldn’t do what he wanted to do and it didn’t look good with him on the floor. He said he kind of tweaked it a little bit when he went into the crowd, so that kind of set him back, because he was feeling okay until then."
<a href="http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sports/57777790-77/davis-favors-game-jazz.html.csp">With Davis sidelined, Favors feasted in the third, scoring 14 of his 20 points.</a>
It was a win, but a win against a lottery team missing key figures.
And to hear Williams talk about it, it's not a victory the Jazz will be able to hang their hats on.
“Just a bad game from us as a team, collectively," the Pelicans coach said. "Obviously, Brian (Roberts) had 18 (points), and A-Mo (Anthony Morrow) was really good off the bench. Greg (Stiemsma) was decent tonight before he got into foul trouble. We just had 17 turnovers. Really didn’t have much defensive effort in the third quarter for whatever reason. We played decent in the first half, but our third quarter was about as bad as we’ve seen this year. We certainly can’t play like that on the road against any team.”
The play of the game came courtesy reserves Ian Clark and Jeremy Evans. (<a href="http://www.nba.com/video/games/jazz/2014/04/04/0021301138-nop-uta-play2.nba/">Watch it here</a>). Evans said afterward he wasn't sure if he could get it, but he had to try because it could be his only bucket of the game.
The Jazz practice this morning before heading off to Northern California tonight ahead of a Sunday matchup with the Warriors. The Jazz own Golden State's first-round pick so this will be the rare chance this season to try to improve draft position with a win. — Aaron Falk
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