1. Let's start at the end.
That's how last night's 38-point blowout loss to the Rockets ended, with backup point guard John Lucas and Houston's Francisco Garcia, who played all of a 1:28 in the game, in a shoving match as time expired. After the dust-up with Garcia, Lucas said the steal was frustration boiling over after too many losses.
"I hate losing. I hate it with a passion," he said. "I just feel like built-up frustration maybe for the whole year it just triggered something and it triggered me to do what I had to do."
The other day in San Antonio, I chatted with Lucas briefly about his father, the former Spurs coach, and the Jazz's season. The point guard expressed some frustration, saying that the season in Utah had not been what he expected, though he wasn't going to be the type to complain about it. Obviously there's some personal frustrations that were vented last night.
To his credit, Lucas answered every question posed to him after the game, he said he had "cooled down" enough to know that stealing the ball was "messed up" and that he wished he had not done it.
Playing in his hometown, Lucas said he expected a few dozen friends and family members to be at Monday's game. After the scuffle, the point guard tweeted an apology to everyone watching.
I picked a great game to have my mom in the crowd. Utah, I apologize. I just hate losing, I always will. John Lucas III (@Luke1luk) https://twitter.com/Luke1luk/statuses/445782091834212353">March 18, 2014
Jazz coach Ty Corbin also said he wished Lucas hadn't stolen the ball, but he defended his guy's right to play to the whistle. Similarly, Corbin had no issues with the Rockets shooting 3s and running up the score even more.
"The guys [are] playing the game," he said. "You just play the game out. Nobody's going to feel sorry for you. Nobody's going to give you anything. You play the game. If there's time on the clock, you play."
A few more tidbits on the incident ...
From the Deseret News' Jody Genessy:
Jazz captains Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors said they didn't see what happened, so they couldn't comment on the Toyota Center Tussle. Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) https://twitter.com/DJJazzyJody/statuses/445759713511108608">March 18, 2014
For his part, Hayward seems to be telling the truth.
Alec Burks' reaction: "I mean, it is what it is. He felt some type of way. We all grown men at the end of the day, so you know, things happen."
Lucas said he wasn't worried about a possible suspension. Shoves and words were exchanged, but no punches were thrown. Lucas said, "I could see [a punishment coming] if we did actually throw some punches."
2. Deron Williams finally got his first dunk of the season last night, though his teammates weren't entirely supportive.
http://thebrooklyngame.com/deron-williams-dunk-was-it-a-dunk/"> "We're trying to debate if that was a dunk," Nets coach Jason Kidd added. "You have to ask him if it was a dunk. He doesn't want to say it was a dunk."
The dunk was news; it even made SportsCenter.
It appears https://twitter.com/SportsCenter">@sportscenter; is as surprised as everyone else about Deron Williams' dunk. http://t.co/TpBmmga53T">pic.twitter.com/TpBmmga53T; Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) https://twitter.com/TimBontemps/statuses/445796391898845184">March 18, 2014
Though it still won't erase memories of this attempt from earlier in the season.
3. Players of the Week were announced Monday, and both have some ties to the Jazz.
In the East, former Jazz man Al Jefferson earned the honor for averaging 24.3 points and 11.5 rebounds last week. And in the West, the honor went to the Clippers Blake Griffin, who boosted his resume with a 20-point, 5-rebound night against Utah on Friday.