Joe G's Practice Notebook
We’re talking ‘bout practice …
Buzzer-Beating … It’s something that anyone who’s ever played basketball – from organized hoops to backyard ball: hitting a shot at the (real or imaginary) buzzer. It’s a great feeling – even if it’s in your own head.
For guard Jarrett Jack, it’s a real feeling – and he’s felt it several times already this season, including a big buzzer-beater to end the third quarter on Saturday night.
It seems like Jack has hit one buzzer-beater a week. He hasn’t experienced the ultimate jubilation of a game-winner yet this season, but he has made a big difference changing momentum on several occasions.
“I’ve hit a few of those over my career; I think it’s my second buzzer-beater this season,” said Jack. “A lot of guys don’t like to throw that last shot up because it messes up their (shooting) percentage. But who knows? There might be a point in time where we win by one point and that last heave might be a bigger assist than you might realize. Those things go in from time to time, and I try to take advantage of it.”
In the home opener against Brooklyn and the very next game against Charlotte, Jack canned shots at the first quarter buzzer that gave Cleveland a big early lift. In a Nov. 22 matchup in New Orleans, the Pelicans didn’t pick up the ball and Jack hit this shot to give the Cavs a nine-point edge at intermission …
On Saturday, L.A.’s Darren Collison hit two straight three-pointers in the final two minutes of the third quarter to turn a nine-point Cleveland lead into a two point deficit. But with 1.9 to play in the period, Jarrett Jack hit a bomb from halfcourt to give the Cavaliers the lead back headed into the final quarter. Cleveland ran off the first six points of the fourth and held on for their third straight win at The Q.
“(The Clippers) were kind of celebrating, so to speak, and that’s why I was able to get a running start and get a pretty clean look at the shot,” said Jack.
“It’s kind of one of those shots that people don’t defend and you try to shoot it with as much lift and be as accurate as you can. If it goes down, it’s almost like a dunk, so to speak. It’s kind of going into the half or the second quarter or fourth quarter. And it’s definitely a boost for your team.”
Jack has been rock-sold for the Wine and Gold all season. He’s averaging 9.5 points and 3.7 assists for one of the most effective second units in the Conference. Among the reserves, Jack is second among East bench players in assists per game and sixth among all NBA bench players. (Actually, Kirk Hinrich is tops in the East at 4.6 apg, but he's only come off the bench in ten games.)
Jacks’s been a leader on the floor, in the locker room and even with the media – all three of which came to the fore following Cleveland’s difficult blowout loss in Minnesota, when Jack had one of the best and most poignant quotes of the young season.
“Through the good and bad times you always try to remain who you are and remain a teammate,” said Jack after the 124-95 defeat. “You don’t want to get consumed or worry about an individual’s performance or the score, at the end of the day we are all teammates. And we root for each other. No matter if we are up 10 or down 10, you need to keep that constant atmosphere. We don’t want to be one of those few good teams where when we are winning we are high-fiving and smiling and when we are losing everyone is going their separate ways. You can’t be a chameleon in this league. The journey is so up and down that you have to stay as even keeled as possible.”
Jack and the rest of the squad will try to keep the good vibrations going on Tuesday night when the Cavs welcome the Knicks to The Q, where they’ll go for their fourth straight home win.
Listen as Jarrett Jack and Head Coach Mike Brown discuss Monday's practice with the media.