3-point shots from the Jazz’s win over the team from Toronto that features an Italian, a Lithuanian, a Nigerian, an Australian, a Brazilian, a Spaniard, some Americans but no Canadians, eh:
POINT 1: Passing is the thing that really stood out about this blowout. It was simply superb at times. Deron Williams had no-look dishes for dunks, fast-break passes, pinpoint set-ups and a total of 14 assists (with just three turnovers).
I made the note “Great ball movement” early in the first quarter during the Jazz’s 15-0 run after a series in which D-Will tossed it to ,Paul Millsap, who in turn made a nice pass to Andrei Kirilenko for a slam dunk and a 12-2 lead.
And that great ball movement continued much of the night.
Millsap even made a nice pass while going out of bounds to save the ball after Ronnie Price blocked a shot. That fast break resulted in a Price jumper and a walloping 41-18 lead.
The best passing sequence, however, came near the end of the first half when Williams made a three-quarters-court bomb that hit Kirilenko in stride. He then tipped it in motion to Price for a dunk to give Utah 66 points before the break.
So smoothly executed, the Jazz had to have practiced it, right A.K.?
“It comes natural,” he said, smiling.
That kind of precise passing and teamwork is simply enjoyable to watch. And Utah will win a whole lot of ballgames if it ends up with 30-plus assists every night.
POINT 2: We all know and have heard from Jazz brass that C.J. Miles has talent. Plus, the southpaw has a smooth-looking stroke. What Miles has lacked the past five years has been consistency. Combine that with his raw talent, his refined shot, aggressive play and maturity, and the Dallas kid could really turn into a special NBA player.
Miles has been for the last two games after starting the season on a foul-fest.
Jerry Sloan said the Jazz “need” Miles. And we need to hear more warm-fuzzy quotes from the Jazz coach about Miles breaking and winning hearts. Sloan’s quote on Miles’ back-to-back 3-pointers at the end of the third quarter and early in the fourth, <a href="http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700078594/Utah-Jazz-Sixth-man-nailing-3s.html
” target=”_blank”>found in Tim Buckley’s sidebar on the surging Miles, is an instant classic:
“Those were heartbreakers for the other team, I’m sure — and they certainly warmed our heart when it went in.”
Maybe we should start calling EnergySolutions Arena “Heartbreak Hotel.”
POINT 3: Good to see the Jazz get strong contributions from the bench. They’ll need more than their new-and-improved sixth man (Miles) to play that important cavalry role, which Price did. Price’s night was fantastic: 11 points, 4-for-6 shooting, three assists, two steals, one blocked shot and unquantifiable amounts of energy.
LOL MOMENT: After exiting the showers, Williams, a Texas Rangers fan, teased a rookie radio reporter (and a big one at that in ex-BYU defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen of 1280 The Zone) that it’s “disrespectful” to stand in front of his locker while wearing a San Francisco Giants hat.
MISSING IN ACTION: The Jazz only played with 10 guys. Rookie Jeremy Evans missed because he’s still nursing his sprained right wrist, which was unfortunate because with Toronto’s sharpshooting big men the athletic 6-9 forward might’ve played quite a few minutes in this one.
And Kyrylo Fesenko‘s gastric was distressed, so he stayed home after leaving morning shootaround early. His was the Jazz’s third bout of “gastric distress” in the last few weeks.
HMMMMM: Very interesting that Toronto showed more fight in rallying against the Jazz in Utah than the Thunder did in Oklahoma City. The Raptors trimmed 21 of 23 points away from Utah’s biggest lead, before the Jazz blew them out for a second time in the game with a strong finish.
Toronto’s Linas Kleiza finished just 37 points shy of tying his career-high against the Jazz.
Kleiza once had 41 points in a Denver win over Utah. Earlier in the day, Sloan got some chuckles while trying to recall whether the Lithuanian’s breakout night against the Jazz happened in the Mile High City or Salt Lake City.
Sloan looked at a certain reporter (who may or not be typing this blog), and after a quick pause and no response replied: “OK, you’re out. You can’t answer that quick.”
That certain reporter is ready should Sloan ever ask him/her that question again. Kleiza’s 41-point bomb was dropped on Utah at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Jan. 17, 2008, in a 120-109 Nuggets’ win.