3-POINT SHOTS that are so intriguing they took 24 hours to formulate and slowly tenderize in my crock pot of a brain after the Jazz’s 110-88 victory over the Indiana Pacers:
POINT 1: Deron Williams had one of THOSE nights that just put him into a different category than other point guards – 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting and 16 assists with ZERO turnovers but one postgame apple turnover reference? Quite the night indeed.
You can only imagine how he’d like to have a similar game against his hometown team Friday night when the Jazz host the Dallas Mavericks and his childhood hero, 67-year-old point guard Jason Kidd.
Not surprisingly – as we’ve heard opponents do all season – Williams was praised in the opposing locker room after the game.
“He’s brutal, he’s strong, he’s quick, he’s smart,” Indiana coach Jim O’Brien said.
And this from the other Darren, the Collison one who weighs almost 50 pounds less than the 209-pound Deron: “Not a lot of point guards have his quickness and his strength at the same time. … He’s one of the toughest players to guard in this business.”
But Collison confused me with this quote:
“He was just managing the game throughout. He got all of his teammates involved. When they needed to score, he scored. He’s tough. (Begin confusing part ….. now:) I thought we did a pretty good job on him for the most part. The difference was that his teammates were hitting.”
Wow. Pacers’ fans would probably hate to see the numbers Williams might put up if Indiana didn’t do a pretty good job on him for the most part.
POINT 2: Even with D-Will’s monster game, my favorite plays of the night came from two of the Jazz’s shooting guards:
1a. 34-year-old Raja Bell, who’s 6-foot-5 but recently admitted to me that he doesn’t have much lift left in his hops, completely stuffed a Collison shot to wow the crowd.
“It helped that he was only about 5-8. If he was 6-feet I might not have got it,” Bell said. “The good thing was I was in the right position and I was in the right position. That’s what I take away from it.”
For the record, Collison is listed as an even 6-0. I’m sure I missed the part in the notes where his shoes are listed as being negative-four-inches tall, though.
1b. It was a bit surprising that the end of the bench wasn’t emptied sooner than it was, but I was happy to see Gordon Hayward get in for the last couple of minutes after hearing earlier in the day how excited the 20-year-old was to play against his hometown team.
And it turned out pretty coincidental considering how he’d explained how he used to pretend that he was Reggie Miller, hitting buzzer-beating threes – he even provided the countdown for us – and then he went out and did just that with 13.1 seconds remaining on the game and time running out on the shot clock.
“I don’t know if I was Reggie (tonight),” he said, smiling. “Reggie would’ve hit four or five more of those in the game.”
Miller did once score eight points in nine seconds or nine points in eight seconds, or something Paul Millsap-like in that ballpark.
“I was happy for him to be able to get in there and get a shot,” Jazz small forward C.J. Miles said. “He always ends up having to take some rushed, crazy shot at the end of the clock, but he got his feet set and was able to make one.”
Miles was happy that Hayward’s fans back in Indiana got a chance to see him shine if only for a moment, too.
“Of course his people back home get to see the game, they see him make the shot, it’s great,” Miles said. “I remember when we played Dallas I used to be the same way, try and get one up.”
My how things change. Oh wait.
POINT 3: Ramble alert: This post-Indiana blog came to you ridiculously late, and mostly because I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. trying to turn a future off-day in Cleveland into a much more exciting first-ever adventure at an NFL game two hours away in Pittsburgh.
Happy to say that I will indeed be watching my beloved Steelers host the New York Jets on Dec. 19 from a nose-bleed seat that cost a silly sum that I’d better not write out of fear my wife’s spies are reading this. (I know she isn’t. She only reads the amazingly romantic sonnets I scribe for her, not my sports stuff.)
If anybody has must-experience NFL gameday tips for Pittsburgh, send ‘em my direction.
Other than that, I just have to decide which jersey to wear: Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward or Tommy Maddox. (Two things: Yes, I’m the one that ended up with it. And, yes, it was really cheap.)
For some weird reason, this blog entry reminds me of two other stories: 1. The time I was arrested at a New York Yankees game; and 2. The time I ended up in a small steam room with Haloti Ngata.
I’ll have to save those stories – one of which longtime readers of the D-News might vaguely recall – for another day because I’m now rambling. Again.