Posts Tagged ‘Jazz’

Uni Watch Ranks Celtics Top NBA Jersey, Kings Finish Dead Last

by Micah Hart

Over at ESPN, the Uni Watch Blog has spent the past week unveiling their rankings of all 122 professional team jersey designs across the four major sports in North America. The top ranking NBA kit? The classic, timeless Boston Celtics, which checked in at 10th overall. Said Uni Watch on the Celts:

The Rolling Stones, “Goodfellas,” a Hershey’s with almonds — the classics are classic for a reason. That definitely applies to the Celtics’ set. No goofy side panels, no extraneous bells or whistles — just a perfect vertically arched wordmark and a simple green-and-white color scheme. They’d jump a few more spots in these rankings if they dropped that black-trimmed alternate.

Have to say I couldn’t agree more about the black trim on the alternates. After the Celtics, the Spurs, Lakers, Warriors, and Jazz rounded out the top five. I’m a little surprised to see the Jazz so high, but to be fair I haven’t looked at their jerseys since they burned my retinas back in the late ’90s.

As for the worst NBA uniforms? Take a bow, Sacramento. Not only do you have the ugliest threads in professional basketball, but Uni Watch lists the Kings dead last amongst all teams:

Every class has a slow kid pulling up the rear, and in this case it’s the Kings. Where shall we start — the brutal color scheme? The illegible chest lettering on the home jersey? The oddly off-center front uni numbers? The clownish number font? The completely incongruous old-school script on the black alternate? A disaster from start to finish. On the bright side, there’s nowhere to go but up!

Ouch babe. Take a look at the full NBA rankings and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

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The Nets Have A Birthday Wish For Deron Williams

by Micah Hart

Back at the 2011 trade deadline, you may recall that the New Jersey Nets swung a deal to acquire Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz, with eyes on bringing the All-Star guard with them to Brooklyn when the team moved there this fall. There was just this slight little complication with that plan, which is that Williams’ contract expired at the end of this past season and he is free to shop his wares to the highest bidder.

In a related story, today is Deron Williams‘ 28th birthday (Happy bday big guy!), and the Nets have taken the opportunity to wish him a happy and a healthy, in a way that does not seem at all desperate to remind him of how much they have riding on his upcoming decision about his future.

Given that there have been reports of Williams shopping for houses in Dallas, I shudder to think what their personal billboard might say on his 29th birthday should he decide to change teams.

H/T @johnhschumann

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Gregg Popovich Seems Pretty Unhappy About Winning Coach of the Year

by Micah Hart

What can you say about Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. I am sure amongst his friends he is a heckuva guy, but when it comes to basketball, he is one ornery son of a gun. Before tonight’s Game 2 of the Spurs-Jazz first-round playoff series, Popovich received his trophy for being named the NBA’s Coach of the Year, a ceremony he appeared to enjoy about as much as you would a documentary about feline AIDS:



Now, I know for a fact that Popovich has a sense of humor; maybe he is playing a little pre-game round of hot potato with his assistant coaches?

Lighten up Pops!

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Delonte West Reminds Gordon Hayward of 8th Grade

by Micah Hart

The NBA is a tough, physical game, and as the season winds down and playoff berths are at stake, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see tempers flare a bit from time to time. Usually that means a little pushing and shoving, maybe some jawing, or a staredown. Or, if you are Delonte West, maybe a shove to the ear:



Yeah, that just happened — and it earned Mr. West a technical, too. It’s a good thing Gordon Hayward took the high road, or things might have escalated and West might have snapped him with a wet towel.

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I Hope You Weren’t Planning On Scoring On Gordon Hayward

by Micah Hart

This play from Gordon Hayward is nearly some Prince-level stuff. From Wednesday’s Jazz-Celtics tilt:



If I were Hayward, I’d probably retire right after this. Or if I’d made a half-court shot to win a national title over Duke, I’d probably have retired if I did that as well (too soon?).

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Three For All: Phoenix Suns II

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Phoenix Suns, who played three straight from Mar. 14-16.

The Phoenix Suns’ season can pretty easily be summed up by their two entries in the three for all challenge. In their first foray back in February, Phoenix went winless, part of a four-game skid that saw the team fall a season-worst seven games under .500 after a loss to the Lakers on Feb. 17.

That game must have shook something loose in the desert, because ever since the Suns have been scorching, winning 10 of 13 games and moving all the way back to .500 on the season at the culmination of their second threeplay:

Game 1: Suns 120, Jazz 111 – Part of the reason for the Suns’ success has been the production the team has been getting from up and down the roster. To wit: Channing Frye dropped a season-high 26 points (with nine rebounds), Marcin Gortat had 25, and Jared Dudley had 21 in the win over the Jazz. 1 point

Game 2: Suns 91, Clippers 87 - Home win over the Jazz? Not bad, but nothing special. Road win over the Clippers? Now that’s a nice win, despite how weird it makes me feel to write that sentence. Oh, and did I mention they did it without Grant Hill and Steve Nash, who picked up DNP-OMs (Did Not Play – Old Men)? Seriously. Sebastian Telfair started this game. Crazy season indeed. 4 points (3 for win, 1 for road)

Game 3: Suns 109, Pistons 101 - I give Bassy credit for holding down the fort while Nash took the night off against LAC, and the rest paid off for Steve as he dished out 17 dimes, tied for a season high, against Detroit. Back to what I was saying earlier about contributions from everywhere? Robin Lopez had 14 points off the bench in this one, and Michael Redd had 11. If I so much as get a hangnail from now on, I’m going to Phoenix to have the Suns’ medical staff take a look at it. 5 points

It’s not so long ago that everyone was proclaiming this a lost season in Phoenix, and up until Thursday’s trade deadline many were holding out hope that the #FreeSteveNash movement would mercifully spring Canada’s finest from his Arizona prison.

Instead, the Suns join the Heat, Bulls, and Thunder (owners of the league’s three best records) as the only teams to go undefeated in the three play, and in doing so moved into 9th place in the Western Conference playoff chase, just two games behind the Nuggets, who just traded for JaVale McGee, so good luck with that. 10 points for the Suns, and total redemption for their first effort a month ago. This could be a playoff team after all.

Up next: The Clippers take their second crack at the triumvirate, playing three straight Mar. 20-22.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Phoenix Suns II (10 points)
New Jersey Nets II (8 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)

Full Three for all standings

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Point/Counterpoint — Should LeBron Have Taken The Last Shot?

by Micah Hart



A lot of disagreement out there in the NBA atmosphere about the finish to the Heat-Jazz game tonight in Utah, a game the Jazz won 99-98. On the game’s final play, LeBron James slipped a pass to his teammate Udonis Haslem, who missed a potential game-winning jumper just before the buzzer sounded. Many think LeBron should have taken the final shot. Others say he made the correct decision to hit the open man. Who is right and who is wrong? We take sides:

Point:
Bron’s strengths are known and undeniable. He led the Heat from down double digits, including two huge shots in the final minute. He just came from another last-possession gaffe in the All-Star game, in which he inexplicably passed the ball across court (into the arms of an opposing player). So with seconds left and a chance to win the game in Utah, he had a chance to redeem. He passed again. Yes, Haslem was open. Yes it was the “right” basketball play. But if you’re the best player, you can’t keep deferring on the final play. I’m not talking about a single play here…I’m talking about a pattern. – Zettler Clay

Counterpoint:
I’m no LeBron lover, but the guy can’t win for trying. It’s not like he passed up a wide-open shot for himself, he drew the coverage and made the correct play to a teammate for a wide-open shot. This is the NBA – every player on the court save the Joel Anthonys of the world should be relied upon to make open shots, and the mid-range jumper is Haslem’s bread and butter. It’s probably why they drew that play up in the first place. People on Twitter keep saying things like “MJ would never pass there”, but I seem to recall Steve Kerr hitting a rather important game-winner in a deciding Finals game. — Micah Hart

Point:
Yes, Kerr knocked down that jumper at the top of the key. But that was an exception to the Jordan mythology. Bron passing on the last shot…is the norm. And hence the rub: People aren’t mad at Bron for making the “right” play. It’s the constant deferring that grates viewers. Here is arguably the most physically gifted player we’ve ever seen, a player who struts his talents and dazzles the whole game…but seems scared of THE moment. Not to mention the fact that, again, he was scorching hot entering the final play. Even a covered Bron close to the rim is a higher percentage than an open Haslem at the key. I would think. – ZC

Counterpoint:
I get that. And LeBron’s reputation is deserved for how he melted down against the Celtics in 2010 and in the Finals in 2011. But reputation or no, the best way to win basketball games is to play the game correctly. Imagine if the two possessions at the end switched places and had reverse outcomes — LeBron hits Haslem for a wide-open jumper, then misses a crazy one-footed fadeaway over two defenders to end it. Is that somehow a better scenario for the Heat just because he ends up taking the shot at the end? Regardless of how you feel, I think we can both agree what should have happened, and what should happen next time. Give the ball to Dwyane Wade. – MH

We’ve stated our cases as to who is right and who is wrong.

What say you?

Luke Ridnour, How Do You Rate On The Horry Scale?

by Micah Hart

Only three game-winning buzzer beaters so far this season. A product of the condensed schedule? Complete coincidence? Whatever it is, here’s hoping the second half of the season brings a few more of them.

For those that are new around these parts, the Horry scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.

The Timberwolves, like any young team with talent but lacking in crunch-time experience, seem to find themselves in a lot of games that come down to the wire. They are getting that experience quickly — the last Horry Scale entry also featured a Timberwolf. Tonight’s heroics were provided by Hang Time Blog favorite Luke Ridnour. Let’s see how he stacks up to his teammate:

Difficulty

This shot was pretty easy, thanks in large part by the Jazz deciding that defense wasn’t really necessary on their part. After making quick work of Gordon Hayward, Ridnour gets into the paint where Al Jefferson lurks. Jefferson stays at home though, and Luke gets a pretty uncontested look at a floater for the win. To be fair, that shot is pretty delicate regardless of whether it’s contested or not, but any point guard worth his salt should have that in their arsenal.

Game Situation

The Timberwolves trailed by 16 with 9:36 left to play, but went on a tear to take a two-point lead with 22.3 seconds left to play. Jefferson then tied the game against his former team on a jumper with 7.0 seconds left to play, and the Timberwolves called timeout and took the ball out at half court. A pretty decent set up for Minnesota, with plenty of time to get a shot off and no penalty for a miss.

Importance

Utah and Minnesota are both on the fringe of the playoff chase, and in the loaded West every win counts. This is particularly nice for the Timberwolves, especially given how they lost the other night.

Celebration

Ridnour gives the traditional two fingers pointed skyward, and the team rallies around to congratulate him by the bench. It’s always great when a shorter player does something — always more exciting when one of his teammates picks him up to celebrate.

Grade

2 Horrys. All in all a fairly pedestrian buzzer-beater, largely due to the Jazz’ defensive indifference, but I’ll give it an extra Horry due to both teams’ proximity to each other in the race for the 8 spot in the West, plus the terrific fourth-quarter comeback to get them in position to win in the first place.

What do you think?

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Three For All: Utah Jazz

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Utah Jazz, who played three straight from Feb. 12-14.

Given the Heat’s performance over the same period of time, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the Jazz completed their three-play, also all on the road. Unfortunately, they didn’t fare quite as well.

Game 1: Jazz 98, Grizzlies 88 - Pretty nice way to start things off — a win over the Grizzlies on the road, with Al Jefferson leading the way with 21 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. Gordon Hayward had 23 points and one rebound, and I can’t decide if I think the coaches congratulated him for that effort or made him stay after practice. 3 points (1 for the win, 1 for +10 margin, 1 for road)

Game 2: Hornets 86, Jazz 80 - They should get extra negative points for this loss, as the Hornets had only four wins on the season coming in and were losers of eight straight beforehand. Chris Kaman boosted his potential trade value for New Orleans, dropping 27 and 13 on the Jazz. -1 point

Game 3: Thunder 111, Jazz 85 - Third games in three nights will produce results like this from time to time, as the Jazz got behind early and often, shot 35 percent from the field, and got blasted on the Western Conference-leading Thunder’s home court.  0 points

If you told me before the start of their trip the Jazz would lose two of three, I’d have probably agreed. I wouldn’t have presumed that one of those losses would have come at New Orleans though, that’s for sure. 2 total points for Utah.

Up next: The Phoenix Suns play three straight Feb. 13-15.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets I (6 points)
Orlando Magic (5 points)

Full Three for all standings

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Jeremy Evans Should Be In The Dunk Contest

by Micah Hart

You may have heard Jazz broadcaster Matt Harpring plug his dude Jeremy Evans for the dunk contest on last week’s Hang Time Podcast. Based on this dunk over teammate Earl Watson, I’m inclined to agree:


#letJeremyDunk indeed.

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