Wednesday, February 6, 2008

OT Fuels My Dislike for the Utah Jazz

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Nuggets went through another 53 minutes of basketball with the Utah Jazz tonight with a less favorable outcome than Monday night’s victory over the Portland Trailblazers. It was apparent early in this game that the play was going to be physical and that the tougher, both mentally and physically, team was going to emerge the winner. And it pains me more than you know to report the Nuggets lost, 118-115, to the foul happy Utah Jazz.

In the first half, it was truly a matter of who George Karl put on the floor that dictated the flow of the game (both good and bad). When Karl would play the starters, the Nuggets maintained a lead. When George went to his bench, at one point producing a line-up consisting of Diawara, Kleiza, Najera, Carter, and Iverson, the Nuggets got eaten alive. The most clear indication of this being how the Nuggets led by three after the first quarter with the starters holding it down. Enter the reserves at the start of the second, and the level of execution dropped dramatically resulting in the slim Denver advantage evaporating quickly before turning into a fifteen point deficit by the end of the half.

The defensive intensity was just not their without Kenyon Martin or Marcus Camby in the game, and when Carmelo was on the bench the rebounding suffered even further. Deron Williams was getting free-passes to the basket with two or three Nuggets just watching him drive by their teammate without even an inkling to step up and support their fallen man. Kyle Korver heated things up off the bench with 15 points on 3-5 from beyond the arch. Mehmet Okur was all over the offensive boards leading to eight points and nine rebounds, and as a whole the Utah Jazz blistered the offensively stale Denver Nuggets in shooting 52-42% for the half.

In the third quarter the Nuggets showed poise and when the time was right they made their move. They trimmed a 15-point lead down to seven points after getting duped out of a deuce and having to settle for one made free-throw by Kenyon Martin after a late call erased an offensive rebound and put back by Marcus Camby. Four minutes remained in the third quarter and it was obvious both teams were starting to get ornery and things boiled over, albeit momentarily, when Eduardo Najera intentionally fouled Matt “Pepper Spray” Harpring with Harpring giving his best “Don’t tase me, bro” impression on top of Najera. Seriously, Harpring has got to be one of the most annoying and antagonizing players in the league and I pretty much lost all respect him and Jerry Sloan after Sloan ran on the floor like a punk kid to a school yard tussle and Harpring flopped around like a fish out of water. I digress only because the Nuggets had brought this game back to a manageable deficit entering the fourth quarter down by only six.

The six point advantage quickly became only one for the Jazz after back-to-back three-pointers from Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson brought the game to, 83-82. Linas hit a another trey from the right wing and knotted the game at 85 with under nine minutes remaining. Six lead changes, six ties, and countless clutch shots later and the Jazz and Nuggets ended regulation tied at 106 after Carmelo missed a golden opportunity to win it at the buzzer.

In overtime, like I knew from the start, the tougher team was going to win and the Utah Jazz proved to be the physically and mentally tougher team by staying focused on Allen Iverson on defense and going to their best player, Deron Williams, on offense to outscore the Nuggets 12-9 in the extra period to maintain first place in the Northwest Division and I'll spare you the expletives

About the only silver lining I see in this game is that Denver gets to play Sloan and his crew two more times. I’ll admit it… I’m bitter! This game just raised my distaste for the Utah Jazz and all their franchise stands for to an all-time high!

All five Nugget starters scored in double-figures, but unfortunately the Nuggets dropped just their second game (20-2) when Allen Iverson records a double-double in points and assists. Iverson finished tonight’s game with a game-high 34 points and ten assists. Carmelo added 29 points and eight rebounds, but fouled out early in overtime on a ticky-tack foul trying to front Kirilenko. Along with Allen Iverson, Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby each recorded double-doubles in points and rebounds with K-Mart finishing with 18 points and ten rebounds and the Captain scoring eleven and grabbing 17 rebounds.

The biggest difference in the game tonight was bench scoring. The Jazz received 50 points from their bench with Kyle Korver leading the way with 27 points and three rebounds in comparison to the Nuggets reserves only mustering eleven points of which Linas Kleiza scored nine of. Deron Williams gave the Jazz a double-double of 29 points and eleven rebounds, and Mehmet Okur fouled out in the fourth quarter after scoring 15 points and ten rebounds.

Did I mention I really don’t like the Jazz? I can’t wait for March 8th when the Nuggets get a chance to avenge this loss in Utah!

17 comments:

C.B. Jack said...

Doc,

You have got to wake up. The McNuggets are thugs. I love reading your bitterness as much as I HATE HATE HATE the McNuggets. We are SOOOO having a podcast on March 8th. The Jazz wanted this game more. It was as close to a playoff game as Denver will get. If you are looking for a more un-biased recap of the game. Head to my recap.

Keep your head up son. The ping-pong balls might go your way.

Love ya Doc.

Boozers Hammy said...

I feel like laying some serious smack but that would be mean. I am sure that all of you Nugget fans are suffering enough tonight. I hope you can bring that same intensity to Salt Lake cause you are going to need it!

MC Welk said...

'Melo's 6th foul ticky-tack? I don't think so. What about AI's flopping? Oh, and K-Mart didn't clothesline Brewer either ... Scoreboard!

mr.bobbysteels said...

WOW! that was a tough loss. AI almost bailed us out again, but AC blew the game time and time again, taking ridiculous shots and turning the ball over. I like AC but we need to make a trade for a STARTING point guard (calderon) and Artest if are gonna do anything. We should have won this game, especially at home! AC is a good back up thats all and George gives him way too much PT! Everybody in the west is making a move. If we dont make some changes we might not be in the playoffs. That one hurt!

RRR said...

Can I offer you some Cheese with that whine? :)

This was a very though game for both sides and UT still won it using only 5 players on the court at the same time vs the 8 the mcnuggetts had!

Matt plays tough round ball, and will not take crap from any body on the court. I felt he held back nicely tonight.

Oh well.

UT has purchased full pads for the next meeting as this was a better example of a football scrimmage than a basket ball game.

Stumbleweed said...

The Jazz are the most awful collection of human beings that ever put on a basketball jersey. Even the all-felon team at your local prisonyard is perferable to those dirty bastards. Harpring needs to pull an Ostertag, except fall out the nearby window into a pile of burning tires. Typical Jazz fans coming in here and going right for the "thugs" card -- get an imagination. Go boo Derek Fisher, you classless rat bastards. We cheer when Brewer gets up after that hard foul and you guys boo a great player who left to take care of family medical issues.

Heh, enough Jazz (and Jazz fan) hate... The rest of it goes to George Karl. What the HELL was that lineup with Najera playing C? And get Yakhouba the hell off the court when we don't have someone that he can "lock down" -- he gave up easy points to Ashton Kutcher on several occasions, contributed nothing offensively, and made no discernible mark on the game. Every time he comes onto the court and gets minutes while J.R. sits there (as we build a 15-point deficit), I die a little inside.

At least George was up and walking around this game instead of just sitting there like a bag of flour. But if 'active George' is the one that puts Najera at Center, then I want ol' Drowsy back.

Matthew said...

Car-not-so-melo's last foul was on A.K., not Harpring, but the way he was flailing around, I'm sure he thought it was Harpring. Matt's dirty, but he didn't let Denver get under his skin like they let him get under theirs.

ThaAnswer said...

Wow, Nugg Dr I can only compliment you on your work because we have plenty of Jazz fans that frequent your blog. It seems they must be new, as we didn't hear anything from them when we beat them last.

That was a tough, physical game last night, and I come away with one main thought. Matt Harpring is my least favorite player in the NBA. Sure Ginobli, Nocioni etc are obnoxious, but Harpring is simply a bitch. (well, it's true) His actions are incredible. You would catch a beatdown pulling that stuff on any court around the country. His Emmy nominated performance came on top of Najera, where he flailed and flopped, only to get up and of course, done no wrong. Oh and how about Ronnie Brewer crying like a girl (or Antione Walker) after his fall. AI takes 2-3 falls like that a game.

And at the risk of sounding like the ultimate homer, we just didn't get the calls. For the first time this year, vs. Portland it finally seemed like we got the calls and things went our way. It was clearly the opposite vs. the Jazz. I almost felt we'd have been better off playing in Utah, we would have had that edge we needed to win. The officiating just seemed awful to me, honestly on both sides.

I give Utah their due, they won a close game. But I can say the only one that garners respect from me is Deron Williams.

(Ironic, that after the hard foul on Brewer, Harpring comes in and gives Kenyon a shot to the family jewels?)

Ron Boone said...

Good post Doc. I can understand your bitterness, I felt the same way about you guys last time we played....actually I'm going to be honest, even when we aren't playing, I still don't like the Nuggs. Anyhow, great game. I am sure the viewers that were not tied to either team loved watching that one.
You would love Harpring if he was a Nugget I promise. Every team needs a guy that isn't afraid to get physical. Go Jazz....See you in March!

Booner

Ron Boone said...

Great Post Doc. I can appreciate your bitterness. I felt the same way last time we played....actually, I'll be honest, I'm bitter towards the Nuggs regardless of who they are playing. No offense to you though.
You would love Harpring if he were on your team, I promise. Every team needs an emotional leader who is not afraid to get in someone's face or just play physical. The Jazz don't have a lot of that so we need Harpring bad. And Sloan...well, honestly, that is the most emotion he has shown all year so I was happy with it. Us Jazz fans miss the old "Technical Fest" Sloan used to give us.
Anyway, until March.

-Booner

Stumbleweed said...

Why don't you whitebread classless Utah clowns go boo Derek Fisher and put fresh flowers at your Stockton shrines? Pretty typical that fans of the whitest team in the league come over here and immediately start into that "thug" bullshit. Welcome to the 21st century, Utah... Utah fans make me sick.

Anyway, enough Utah (and especially Utah fans) hate... onto George Karl. What the HELL was that lineup with Najera at center? Unexcusable to run a lineup like that against a team like the Jazz. This was a game where we needed someone like Steven Hunter in the middle to shove those dicks around and give some hard fouls and send a message. He didn't play. And way to give A.C. the last shot after he's struggled throughout the game... it's not like we wanted AI taking that shot or anything...

Oh, and great plan putting J.R. in for the final shot of a very important OT game after not playing him at all... even if he got the ball, George put him in a terrible position to make a play. This guy is really irritating. I die a little inside every time Yakhouba comes in, doesn't lock down shit (watch Ashton Kutcher pop Js in his face), contributes NOTHING offensively... as J.R. stands and cheers form the bench.

At least we have two more games with the Jazz to settle this series. It would be really frustrating to have that be the last meeting between the teams.

Oh, and Matt Harpring needs to pull an Ostertag, but fall through a window into a pile of burning tires instead. He'd probably melt into liquid metal and reconstitute himself afterwards though...

Jonathon said...

Oh yeah, one more thing. CB Jack, do you really think we need to "wake up" to realize that the nugs are thugs? We've come to love and embrace their gangsta ways and, if anything, I now find it somewhat endearing. And why would I read your recap? Judging by your comments, you write like a retarded fourth grader.

Sam said...

Can someone explain to me the Nuggets offense when Carmelo is off the floor? It seemed that after he fouled out we have four guys standing around watching AI run around trying to find a shot all on his own.

ThaAnswer said...

It's true the Nuggets do way too much standing around, even when Melo is in the game. It's always Melo or AI going one on one. No cutters, no movement.

That is why when we're not running (hence, moving!) our offense is stagnant. It all comes down to defense, which is not exactly our strong suit.

Next time we beat the Jazz, I'm heading straight over to their messages boards.

Stumbleweed said...

Oops, sorry for the essentially duplicate comments -- I typed the first one and it didn't appear to save so I did it again later...

You can delete it or whatever... heh, I toned down the hate a few notches in the 2nd one.

Nugg Doctor said...

It's alright, stumble. Take two deep breaths and relax. Remember, everybody, it's just a basketball game at the end of the day. Not to mention the Nuggets have two more chances to humiliate the Jazz still yet to come this season.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

mrD1968 said...

Hey Nugg DR,
What's the point of inserting JR for 3 seconds? Stat control so he loses leverage in negotiations? BS Scott pulled the same nonsense with JR. Garbage time to limits per game statistiscs. I'll tell you what, Karl is starting to get on my nerves. Do you want to see JR excell? I go outside the box and say START him for a couple games. I'd bet he'd average 15+ pts, 3 dimes and 4 rebounds as a starter.