Up to Speed With the Jazz

15 12 2010

This current three-day break seems a perfect time to give an update of the Utah Jazz season.  The Jazz, as of yesterday, were tied with the Miami Heat for playing the most games in the league, 26. Of those 26 games, 14 games were against teams with a .500 record or better including the aforementioned Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and Orlando Magic twice.  The Jazz currently hold a slim lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder by a half game in the Northwest Division with a record of 18-8, and are due for a few days off. No Boozer? No problem! We all knew that Carlos Boozer was not going to stick around in Utah.

Do we all miss his All-Star play? Of course.  Do we miss the person? Of course not.   The addition of Al Jefferson has definitely helped most of us forget the Boozer days.  It took some time for “Big Al” to start playing.  Showing up out of shape, learning the Jerry Sloan system, and clearly pressing early on slowly dissolved over the first few weeks.  Along with Jefferson, filling the void is Paul Millsap.  Millsap, in a starting role, has come up big in key wins this season including a career high 46 points against the Heat in that most epic comeback. So far the duo is averaging around 34 points and 17 rebounds a game.

Without a doubt, C.J. Miles has been the most impressive player of the Jazz team so far.  Finally they found a perfect role for him, coming off the bench as the 6th man.  Miles is averaging a career high 12 points per game, and has 5 games of over 20 points.  Almost as much as impressive is Deron Williams.  Williams, who wont the October/November player of the month, is averaging a career high 23 points per game and currently is sitting on three straight games of over 30.  D-Will was voted before the season as the best point guard in the league, and has been clearly living up to that.

The least impressive player is Gordon Hayward.  Yes he is a rookie, but I’ve never seen a player so timid to pull the trigger.  One game, yes he did throw down a dunk, but while Raja Bell has been out three games with an abductor injury, Hayward has tallied an astronomical amount of one single point as the fill in starter.

The Jazz do have a better team this year than last, and they may just make some noise this year.  Mehmet Okur is on the trail of coming back from his torn achilles tendon, which will offer depth to a bench that is already pretty solid.  Once all the pieces fall into place and the Jazz have a few more months to gel, it may be a special season.

Written by: Matthew Flygare
HMHD team

HMHD Returning to Action

14 12 2010

Hello all HMHD fans and friends.  After a much too long layover, the site is going to get back up and kicking.  We appreciate all the support from before and will appreciate in the future.  Nothing drastic will change on the site, we will still give out our daily Halfman and Halfdog awards as well as our entertaining youtube clip of the day.  Before we took our several month break, we started focusing on local teams a little bit more including the Utah Jazz and Utah State Aggies.  That will continue along with national headlines.  My personal favorite topic, the Marcin Gortat Updater will be in full force again.  The Polish Hammer is in action tonight as the Orlando Magic travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets.  We will have his first update of the season on the site tomorrow.  If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to email us at suggestions@hmhdsports.com

Written by: Matthew Flygare
HMHD team

Here is a Youtube video that will hopefully tide you over until tomorrow.


Jazz Cruise to 7th Straight

4 02 2010

Just when we thought Utah Jazz basketball was already at it’s best, we get fooled.  Last night’s 118-105 victory over the Portland Trailblazers was a thing of pure ecstasy and beauty. The Jazz had six players score double digit points, shot just under 63% from the field, and assisted on 32 of 42 field goals.  Unselfish, Jazz basketball at it’s best gave them their seventh straight.

The Jazz were lead by Mehmet Okur, finally, who had a season high 28 points to go along with eight rebounds.  Andrei Kirilenko continued his hot streak while starting by putting in 22 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and two blocked shots.  Deron Williams didn’t need to have a big night, but still put in 13 points and assists.  Wesley Matthews shot 6-6 from the field and scored 16 points.

Williams was right when he called last night an “easy night”.  There wasn’t too much stress of last night’s game.  In the fourth quarter, the Blazers managed to cut the lead to seven, but the Jazz went on a 8-1 run to clinch the game.  Deron Williams leads the charge for the Jazz who are leading the league in assists per game (26.1) and field goal percentage (.492).  With a combination of tough defense, and an extremely unselfish team, the Jazz are poised to make a run at a higher seed and winning in the playoffs.

Next up for the Jazz is a big division matchup against the division rival Denver Nuggets.  The Nuggets were the last team to beat the Jazz before this winning streak.  The Jazz lost that game 119-112 clear back on January 16th in Denver.  The Jazz will host the Nuggets on Saturday, and should have leading scorer Carlos Boozer back in the lineup after missing a few games with a calf strain.  With a Jazz win, they would move within a game and a half of the Northwest Division lead.  Saturday’s game could set the tone for the rest of the Jazz season.

Written by: Matthew Flygare
hmhd team

Jazz Pull Away Late for 6th Straight

2 02 2010

The Utah Jazz continued their winning ways last night beating the Dallas Mavericks 104-92.  The win was the sixth straight for the Jazz who moved within a half game of the Mavericks for the third spot in the west.  The Jazz have won 10 of out their last 11 games, and seven straight at home. For game highlights, click here.

For most of last night’s game, the Jazz and Mavs went back and forth including ten lead changes and eight ties in the first half alone.  The Jazz held a 53-46 lead at half, but could only manage to take a 77-76 lead into the fourth quarter.  The Jazz pulled down seven offensive rebounds in the fourth to match the Mavericks total fourth quarter rebounds, and slowly crept away for the 12 point victory.

Paul Millsap lead the Jazz with 25 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks, while filling in for Boozer for the second straight game.  Deron Williams added 18 points, 15 assists, and seven rebounds.  Player off the bench last night was C.J. Miles who scored 17.  Andrei Kirilenko, who has come up huge since taking back the starting power forward spot, had another great all-around game scoring 13 points to go along with eight rebounds and four steals.  Kirilenko’s defense in the fourth quarter was huge, getting two big steals down the stretch and holding all-star Dirk Nowitzki to no field goal attempts, and only two of his 28 points.

The Jazz were tough on defense yet again, flying after loose balls and actively going after rebounds especially in the fourth.  When asked about their defense, Nowitzki said “They just stepped up their pressure in the fourth. I couldn’t get any looks, I barely had the ball in my hands.”  Great defense is the key to Jazz victories, and over the past 11 games, it has been tough.

Carlos Boozer, who is recovering from a calf strain, says he hopes to be back on Saturday when the Jazz play host to the Denver Nuggets.  If that is the case, the Jazz will only miss him for one more game, Wednesday night against the Portland Trailblazers.  Both opponents are in the Northwest Division, and the game on Saturday could potentially, with a win, bring the Jazz within two and a half games of the division lead.

Written by: Matthew Flygare
hmhd team

Jazz Hold on for 4th Straight

28 01 2010

The first quarter of last nights Utah Jazz game, was almost a perfect 12 minutes of basketball.  The Jazz shot 82% from the field and scored 21 of the first 23 points.  I personally have never seen a better quarter played by the Utah Jazz, with amazing defensive pressure, and the ability to get to the rim at will.  The Jazz held a 36-16 lead over the Portland Trailblazers at the end of the first.

Throughout the rest of the game, the Jazz continued to shot at a high percentage, but had a slight turnover problem.  The Jazz committed 21 turnovers to the Trailblazers 9.  Turnovers were the main reason why the Blazers crept back into the game and eventually cut the lead to five.  With a couple big Kyle Korver three pointers, and Deron Williams controlling the game, the Jazz were able to hold off the Blazers for a 106-95 victory.  The Jazz, who ended up shooting 60% for the game, won for their first time in Portland in six tries.

On any given night, someone off the Jazz bench will step up.  Against the Phoenix Suns, it was Wesley Matthews who scored a career high 21, last night it was Korver who scored 16 including going 4 for 4 from the three point line.  If it’s not Matthews, it’s Korver or Paul Millsap.  Basically, it’s Jazz basketball at it’s best. The Jazz now have won eight out of their last nine, and four straight.  Deron Williams made a promise that he wouldn’t shave off his beard until the Jazz win five straight, and hopefully they can do that on Friday when the Sacramento Kings come to Salt Lake City.

The Jazz have now moved into second place in the Northwest Division and look to stay hot against the struggling Kings.  Needless to say again, Jazz basketball is great to watch right now.

Carlos Boozer scored 14 points last night but left the game in the second half with a calf strain.  Hopefully it’s not too serious, no reports have come out at this point.  Boozer who is averaging 19.4 points and 10.8 rebounds, is a key part to the Jazz’s success, and they need him back.

Written by: Matthew Flygare
hmhd team

Jazz Overcome Huge Deficit in Big Win

26 01 2010

Last night’s game was quite the back and forth shootout.  In a game ruled by runs, the Utah Jazz eventually pulled out a huge 124-115 win against the Phoenix Suns.  The Jazz led the game with an early 10 point lead, but ended up tied to start the second quarter..  Phoenix opened it up in the second, scoring 45 points and taking an 11 point lead into half.  The Jazz rallied in the third, who were down at one point by 17.  The Jazz scored the final 12 points in the third quarter, and then outscored the Suns by 14 in the fourth to take the victory.  Needless to say, it was a big win for the Jazz.

Last night at the Energy Solutions Arena, the Phoenix Suns hit an astronomical 17 shots from behind the three point line.  The Suns hit six in the second quarter, while rookie Goran Dragic hit six throughout the game on his way to a career high 32 points.  One would think that if a team hit that many 3-pointers, that they would most likely win, well clearly that wasn’t the case last night.  The Jazz just finally played defense the way coach Jerry Sloan wanted them to.  When asked about his defense, Sloan said, “We were a little bit more alive defensively, I haven’t seen that for a while. I’ve kind of felt it coming, but I haven’t seen it like that where they stuck together and where they really worked hard to try to help each other defend.”  Well it worked, picking up eight key steals and five blocks.  The Jazz also outrebounded the Suns by 17.

My stat of the day involves Carlos Boozer and when he scores 20 points, the Jazz are now 19-3 when he does.  Boozer scored exactly 20 and put in 21 rebounds as well.  Andrei Kirilenko led the Jazz with 25 points.  Kirilenko has been playing very well as of late, scoring at least 25 in two of the last three games.  Deron Williams added his typical double-double, and Wesley Matthews put in a career high 21 including a couple of crucial game changing three pointers.

The Jazz are still just getting started on a tough stretch of their schedule.  Tomorrow night, the Jazz travel to Portland to take on the injured and banged up Trailblazers.  With the win last night, the Jazz jumped up to the familiar fourth seed in the west.  Even with tough games on the horizon, the Jazz finally have figured out their winning formula to go along with no serious injuries. Deron Williams said last night, “We’re definitely playing our best basketball right now.” So enjoy it Jazz fans!

Steve Nash had 15 points and assists in the Suns loss.  Last night Nash became the eight player in NBA history to record 8,000 assists.  We would like to congratulate Nash on that accomplishment.

Kosta Koufos scored 16 points to go along with 7 rebounds in his first game back with the Flash last night.  Koufos who needs minutes, played just under 30.

Written by: Matthew Flygare
hmhd team

Utah Jazz Update

25 01 2010

There wasn’t much to recap about the game Saturday between the Jazz and the Nets.  The Jazz won in a blow away fashion, 116-83.  The Nets are just awful, and if the Jazz hadn’t beaten them, like most college teams could, I would most likely renounce my fanship.  Boozer, Okur, and Millsap all had at least 20 points to lead the way for the Jazz.

Tonight, the Jazz play host to the Phoenix Suns.  The Suns have been struggling as of late, and more importantly, struggling on the road, only winning one road game since November.  The Jazz, who have won six out of their last seven games,  obviously look to remain hot and extend their current home winning streak to six.  Steve Nash only needs two more assists to reach 8,000 as only the eight player in the NBA’s.  Tonight’s game starts a tough stretch for the Jazz who play six out of their next seven against teams ahead of them in the playoff standing.  The Jazz are currently sitting in the sixth spot, but with the western conference wide open, and a couple key winning streaks, they could make a push at a much higher seed.  There are no injuries for tonight’s game.

Sundiata Gaines will remain with the team for the remainder of the season.  After hitting a game winning shot against the Cavs, Gaines secured his spot on the team, which he should have.  While Gaines stays with the team, Kosta Koufos has been sent to the Utah Flash, the Jazz D-League affiliate.  Koufos, who has only played in 76 minutes this season, desperatly needs playing time, and the Jazz hope time with the Flash will help.  He will play in his first game tonight.

We will be giving Jazz updates all season long.

Written by: Matthew Flygare
hmhd team