On This Night, Utah Can't Hang with Golden State

May, 12, 2007
5/12/07
12:56
AM ET
Golden State made this one not all that close, thanks to making 15-32 three-pointers, and 53% of all field goals. Much of the second half they were up by 30. This is what I noticed:
  • Second game in a row Jerry Sloan keeps Deron Williams on the bench for much huge chunks of time, then he finishes with only four fouls. Might it be worth letting him play a little more in Game 4? What struck me was a play at the end of the first quarter. Utah had possession with about seven seconds left -- time to play for the final shot of the quarter. This is time for your best clock management and ball distribution. Do it right and you score and they don't get the ball back. Do it wrong you don't score and they do. In a series with a million threes, that's potentially a six-point swing. And the key skills are all about feel, things that come with lots of experience running the point. I was shocked that we didn't see a real point guard like Deron Williams or Derek Fisher check in on the dead ball. Instead Andrei Kirilenko ran the show a little shakily. Turnover, followed by a Golden State three. That's a five or six point swing -- a lot to give up in exchange for exposing Williams to foul risk for seven seconds.
  • Mehmet Okur did not have a good game. 
  • Good to see Dee Brown looking healthy, if not in uniform. The phrase "sprained neck" seems wrong.
  • Those David Blaine promos would be so much better if they had just had him do this kind of stuff with NBA players. Would have been an instant classic.
  • Every team does better with confidence. But especially Golden State. Confidence turns misses into makes, and when you shoot three or four dozen threes a game, that's a big difference. That's the gift that Golden State fans can give their team.
  • The fans also help make an atmosphere that makes Deron Williams' spin move an offensive foul in this game, when it was a no-call in Game 2.
  • Most of the game, Utah just could not get the ball to Carlos Boozer.
  • Amazing that Utah was still playing hard, down thirty.
  • Dichotomy: I want everything in basketball to be close and exciting. So I wanted Golden State to win to prevent the dreaded 3-0. So, I'm happy this was Golden State's night. But it was not close and exciting.
  • In the third quarter, when Golden State was up thirty or so, Baron Davis checked out of the game. It crossed my mind -- is this garbage time already? In the third quarter of the playoffs? Is Baron done?
  • Non-trivial benefit for Golden State: Monta Ellis got plenty of burn to kind of get on track.
  • The best Jazz player tonight? I'll vote for Paul Millsap. 
  • Derek Fisher, you're an American hero! A superstar! Now, just to make sure you don't get a big head, here's six fouls in 16 minutes.
  • Remember when we used to think isolation was making the NBA boring? That's Golden State's go-to play, and they're the most exciting team on the planet.
  • Did you notice after Baron Davis's 360 layup -- there was a cop in the background in uniform -- a man on the job -- who could not help but bust out laughing.
  • I was wondering to myself: is this just a win (I mean no one expected a sweep, right?), or is this a real momentum shift? It was an honest question, until Baron Davis THREW IT DOWN in Andrei Kirilenko's grill. Yup, it was a statement game.
  • In the conversation attached to the game story, I asked: "The biggest question after that one: what's the best word to describe exactly what it was Stephen Jackson was doing to Baron Davis after that dunk? Dusting him off? Buffing? Shining? De-linting?" MasonGumbel had the answer: "Jack was just brushing off what was left of AK-47 ... dude was turned into dust."

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