Utah Jazz Broadcaster Blogs

5/11/10

Craig Bolerjack

by Craig Bolerjack

Size, Kobe, and Derek Fisher swept the Jazz out of the Western Conference semi-finals.  Hard to complain about the Jazz effort.  They played hard.  If they took away the Lakers inside game...L.A. went outside.  If they took away the Lakers outside game...L.A. went inside, and when they did they punished the Jazz time and time again.  The Lakers are World Champions for a reason. Balance, depth and a "you can't beat us attitude" that Kobe Bryant lives by and demands from his teammates.  I smell another TITLE. 

For the Jazz, the off season starts right now.  Boozer's future will be the most debated topic of the summer.  I like Boozer.  20 and 12 is not an easy find in this league and be careful to wish him away.  Deron Williams likes Boozer on the court and keeping Deron happy will play into the equation. 

Kyle Korver, like any 3-pointer shooter is streaky and we saw those streaky nights in the playoffs.  Like Boozer, Korver has the choice to pick any team of his liking, but the Jazz will be in the mix.  Sign Wesley Matthews.  He's Jerry Sloan.  Tough, works hard and is the best defender, outside a healthy Kirilenko, the Jazz have on the roster.

An athletic big man (Gasol, Bynum, Stoudamire and Odom are tough finds) ...and with Memo's injury status unknown...the Jazz should and will take at look at what's available this summer. I wouldn't be surprised if they try again to move AK's contract East or use Detroit's #1 pick to achieve that goal.  Getting longer is a must to compete in the West with L.A. and Denver and yes, Oklahoma City.

This will be a challenging summer for Kevin O'Conner and the Jazz.  Draft Lottery May 18th, Draft Night June 24th, Free Agency July 1st.  It will be a summer to ..... Buckle Up !!!


5/6/10

Pace Mannion

by Pace Mannion

Well, the Jazz had two tough losses in LA. Some would say that they have "no chance" of winning a game, much less the series.

My take on this is that the Jazz didn't even play that well on the road and had a chance to steal game one but didn't get it done. Now they are back at Home where this team plays much better and with more confidence from the role players.

Now, that being said, D-Will has to play like the best playmaker in the league. (which we all believe he is) Booz needs to continue attacking both Bynum and Gasol. Don't settle for jump shots because it is the easy thing to do, go right at the two bigs and draw some fouls and get to the line and help your team get to the bonus early. Milsap, well ... just be yourself and continue to amaze us all with your work ethic and ability to succeed in the paint. Perimeter guys, Wesley, CJ, Korver and Ronnie, be aggressive at both ends of the floor, especially when defending Kobe. Make him work for everything he gets, then make him defend at the other end and try to wear him down. DON'T let Kobe be the difference maker down the stretch. Make someone else take the big shot, Kobe wants that pressure, not all players handle it as well as he does.

Last in my opinion, get out and run more!!! Playing this team in a half court set most of the game is difficult. They are long and athletic, get some easy baskets in transition which will make your sets even better when you execute. I believe the ESA will be as loud as ever, keep the fans in the game with the effort that they are accustomed to from a Jerry Sloan coached team. LA has not played well on the road for some time now. Get out to a good start and make them play catch up. Win two at home like OKC did and then it becomes a real series and puts all the pressure on the Lakers. One thing the Jazz have that OKC didn't have is playoff experience and knowing how to win on the road.

I believe there is still hope for the Jazz to pull this off!! It won't be easy but the Jazz have found a "Will", that I don't think they had until Memo went down. They are a true Team right now and are very dangerous because they believe they can win this. How many of you believe the same?

Go Jazz!!!
Steve Brown

by Steve Brown

Takin’ Care of Business

No chicken little, the sky isn’t falling. I mean we’re not the Atlanta Hawks. There’s no 43 point loss hung on us. The Jazz are down 2-0 in their Western Conference Semi-final series with the Lakers, but it’s a competitive 2-0.

They did what they had to, win at home, no more, no less. They held service at home, now the Jazz must do the same. If the Lakers break through at Energy Solutions Arena in 3 or 4 THEN you worry, but not before the Jazz have a chance to answer back with a pair.

Credit the Laker defense, sure they made life tough for Utah. But don’t expect a field goal percentage in the 30’s from the Jazz at home. Rebounding will always be tough against the Laker length, but the margins weren’t that noticeable during the season and my money says the home court will rein in some of that differential.

Two competitive losses on the road to the defending champs shouldn’t send Jazz fans into a tailspin. Hang on to those bandwagon seats just a bit longer, you might find the view significantly improved by weeks end.


Ron Boone

by Ron Boone

Another quick start for the Lakers only to not be able to put the Jazz away. What a fun series to watch as the Jazz just continue to fight back and not let the big bully L.A. Lakers push them around. The bench for the Jazz came to life in games one and two and got the team back in the game. With Price, Korver, Koufus leading the way.

With both Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer leading the way the Jazz have let the bully Lakers know they have a fight on their hands. The team has done a very good job of grinding out games this season and I believe that's what it going to take to win this series.

We have watch commercial, after commercial about how size matters, well believe it, size does matter in basketball as well. The front line of the L.A. Lakers makes the Jazz front line look like a J.V. team. The Jazz are short on big men for this series with Memo and Andrei being out, but the heart of the team is as big as the great Salt Lake. One concern would be points in the paint, that means the amount of layups, dunks and offensive rebounds the Jazz give up.

So size does matter, and yes I am talking about basketball.

HA, HA - Go Jazz


David James

by David James

I went to the gym this morning and standing at the urinal, I hear a voice to my right, “Do the Jazz have a chance?”
“A chance to what?”, I ask, while thinking, can you give me a minute here?
“A chance to win four games in this series.”
“No.”

Do you really need to bother me at a time like that to ask me something this obvious? The Jazz trail the Lakers two games to none and it isn’t as if this has snuck up on any of us. The Lakers knocked the Jazz out of the playoffs two years ago. The Lakers knocked the Jazz out of the playoffs last year. The Lakers beat the Jazz three times in four meetings this year. In the season finale, Jazz fans rooted desperately for a win over the Suns so they could avoid the Lakers until the conference finals, but Phoenix won, so now the Jazz are losing.

Fans can’t be surprised, maybe disappointed, a little, because the season will end in a week to 10 days, but not surprised. The Lakers are a better team.

Now let’s check the e-mail:
Thanks Dave, you big fat downer, don’t you have anything for us? Can’t you pick us up a little bit?

Signed,
Every Jazz fan

Deron Williams career is a three act play, and this is the end of the First Act, Deron breaking into the league, adapting to the pro game and earning his stripes. The second act starts next year and for the first time Deron will have legitimate shooters on the wings. Andrei Kirilenko and Ronnie Brewer are good players, but they don’t have to be defended 20 feet from the hoop. C.J. Miles and Wesley Matthews are good players and they need to be defended on the three point line. They are getting major post-season playing time for the first time and both guys are performing well.

It should make them better players for the Second Act, the prime of D-Will’s career. While Mehmet Okur’s perimeter shooting may still be useful it won’t be as crucial when other guys can spread the floor, which means the Jazz can put a true shot blocking, defensive-minded center in the game without grinding the offense to a stop. The emergence of Miles and Matthews in this post-season means the Jazz can now construct a team in the mold of a traditional champion. They need a shot blocker at the rim and they still need a big time stud on the roster. They need another player who is a mismatch every single night and preferably he plays on the front line.

Maybe the Jazz will get lucky with the Knicks draft pick. Maybe they have acquired so many “assets” they can afford to make a 2 for 1 or 3 for one trade down the line with a team trying to avoid the luxury tax or a team that is blowing up a roster and starting over. There are a lot more possibilities for the Jazz now that they have discovered two wing players who can perform in the post-season.

Additionally the win over the Nuggets guarantees the Jazz at least five home game and several extra million dollars on the bottom line (between $5 and $10 million I would guess). This unexpected return at the end of the season might make it easier to spend aggressively in the off-season and Carlos Boozer, Wesley Matthews and Kyle Kover are all free agents.

Most importantly, Deron Williams turns 26 next month. He is just entering the prime of his career.


5/5/10

Craig Bolerjack

by Craig Bolerjack

I have no issue in the way the Jazz are fighting the Lakers. Undersized yes, but Millsap and Boozer continue to attack, and attack will be the key in both Games 3 and 4 at home.

The Lakers are good, but not unbeatable. LA is a very opportunistic team. Give them an advantage and they take it. So, at home the Jazz have to lessen those opportunities. Early momentum will be key, offensive rebounds and an 80% night at the FT line would be nice. Improve at the line, improve your chances to win Games 3 and 4.

I realize AK hasn't play in nearly 2-months. But if he does indeed return in Game 3, his size and wing span will make a difference against the ridiculous length of the Lakers. It may be for short periods of time, but enough to give the Jazz extra attack space.

Jazz are in a hole. It has to be a 1-game at a time approach fellas. But never underestimate the power of Energy Solutions Arena.


4/28/10

David James

by David James

NBA history says the Nuggets should beat the Jazz tonight in Game 5, but this is the night to go against the odds. Carmelo Anthony is calling out his teammates, demanding support, but not holding himself accountable for his 9 turnovers. J.R. Smith is firing off tweets about the "selfish" Nuggets, but not holding himself accountable for shooting less than 35% from the field. Denver is taking on water, the wheels are coming off, pick your favorite cliche.

Denver should do what Dallas did last night. The Mavericks returned home down 3-1 and rallied the troops, the bench players stepped up, the Mavs harassed the Spurs into turnovers and used a lot of adrenaline and energy in the building to get fired up and dominate the backboards. The Mavs used a fairly typical script to extend the series and the Spurs weren't desperate, they know they can go home and win the series in Game 6.

The Jazz have momentum, as unlikely as it seemed when Mehmet Okur went down. Deron Williams has been brilliant and missing two key players hasn't been a problem because C.J. Miles, Wesley Matthews and Kyrylo Fesenko have embraced larger roles. I expect the Jazz to close out the series in Colorado.


4/25/10

Ron Boone

by Ron Boone

Jerry Sloan didn't win coach of the year, but like Nate McMillan of the Portland Trailblazers, Jerry had one of his best seasons as a coach. Lots of injuries to key people. Losing two or more starters at a time forced Sloan to mix and match lineups.

Well what else is new over look again, but I think Jerry could care less about things he has no control over. The great thing about the Playoffs is it's a new season, you get to start all over, and of course the warm weather. I'm so ready to complain about how hot it is, play golf, sweat, in and out of air conditioning. Enjoy your favorite hot weather drink; ice cold tea for some, ha, how about a adult beverage.

The Jazz have the talent to go a long ways in the Playoffs. They don't have a problem scoring on any team in the leaque, but the defense needs to be consistent. Great year for Boozer, he put up all leaque numbers and his running mate Deron Williams should be first team all league this year. In the absence of two starters, Deron and Carlos need to continue to shine. But more important the bench must support, support, support.

Turn the air on in here, it's hot, wheres my beverage?


4/18/10

David James

by David James

I am picking the Nuggets in seven games.

I know, in the pre-season I picked the Jazz to win 51 games and go out in the playoffs’ second round. I under shot the win total by two games and now I think I have over shot the playoff win total by a series.

There are several reasons to pick against the Jazz. They have struggled with the Nuggets, losing three out of four head-to-head this year and five out of seven since Denver acquired Chauncey Billups. The Jazz are without Andrei Kirilenko because of a calf injury, which means a difficult match-up with Carmelo Anthony becomes even more of a problem, barring a sensational performance by Wesley Matthews. The questionable health of Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur is also a potential problem. Finally, as good as the Jazz are at home (32-9), the Nuggets are even better (34-7), just a single game behind Cleveland, the NBA’s best home team. The Jazz not only gave up home court advantage, they gave it up to a team that is great at home.

The good news for Jazz fans, Denver has injury issues. The Nuggets Kenyon Martin is battling a knee injury and has played in just 10 of the last 31 games. Head Coach George Karl is battling cancer and he has a large personality and a tremendous leadership role. If the Nuggets lose one of the first two games at home, they are very vulnerable. The Jazz need Deron Williams to turn in one of his monster 35 point, 15 assist performances.

If the Jazz put any pressure at all on the Nuggets, a vulnerable team could crack. Denver was a brilliant 9-2 down the stretch at home, but a very mediocre 5-7 on the road. They don’t have their leader, George Karl, and Adrian Dantley can’t possibly be Karl, because he doesn’t have his experience, his reputation or his personality. A.D. has a thankless job. If the Jazz win one of the first two at home, they’ll have a chance to win the series in six. I don’t think that is the way to pick, but it is what Jazz fans should be hoping for.


4/11/10

Craig Bolerjack

by Craig Bolerjack

I read Ross Siler's article this morning concerning games the Jazz would like to have back this season.

Let me include Game #3 against Houston at home back in November when a little known rookie named Chase Budinger scored 17-pts off the bench in a 113-96 win.

And Game # 55 against Atlanta back in late February. After sweeping a 4-game road trip against Houston, New Orleans, GState and Portland, the Jazz come home with a wave of momentum and give up a 31-pt 4th quarter to the Hawks and lose 105-100.

I believe most wins and losses even out during an 82-game schedule, just like good and bad calls. But when you break this schedule down, there is no question the Jazz should be a 55 win team with 2 to play.

So my question is ... have Williams, Boozer, Matthews, Miles, Millsap and the rest grown past those 2nd or 4th quarter lapses? Blow a quarter in the playoffs, especially on the road, and your playoff run is short lived.

Also kudos to Jerry Sloan for piecing together lineups over the past 2-3 weeks with AK and Memo out of the lineup. Boozer and Millsap on the court together. Williams and Price. Gaines and Jeffers. Get this team healthy and it should be a strong playoff run!


4/5/10

Ron Boone
by Ron Boone

As the season winds down, the pressure is on. Every team fighting for the second, third, fourth, and even the fifth spot in the playoffs.

Every team would like home court advantage. Especially the Jazz, who at this point have one of the best home records in the Western Conference.

The months of February and March have been very tense because of the five-team race for positioning. I like the Jazz's chances. They are finishing strong and playing with a tremendous amount of confidence.

Health will be the key for all the teams in contention.

The Jazz travel schedule has not been bad this year as far as flight delays. But on our recent trip back east, the plane had battery trouble, which delayed us an hour or so. While waiting for a battery I was told that an airplane battery is about the same size as a car battery. How can that be? That's something I'd better investigate.

After the battery was installed I asked Memo if he felt better now that the plane had a new battery. He said, "I feel better, but there are question marks in my head". I agreed. If a car battery and a plane battery are about the same size I have question marks in my head as well.

The reason my confidence is high for the Jazz this season is because they have more fight in them. They are not giving up and continue to grind out games.

Happy Spring


David James

by David James

The nightmare continues. The Jazz can’t beat the Lakers in L.A. and most of the time they can’t even compete.

The Jazz have lost 14 straight games to the Lakers in L.A. and 12 of them by double digits. Friday the Jazz were overwhelmed at the start of the game, buried in a 29-10 Lakers’ run right out of the game. The Jazz spent two quarters inching back to within four at 75-71 and then the Lakers quickly dropped another 13-0 run on the Jazz.

The Lakers length and athleticism really bothers the Jazz. On a night Kobe Bryant was a miserable 5-23 shooting the ball, the two longest Lakers hurt the Jazz. Lamar Odom had 26 points and 10 rebounds while Pau Gasol has 14 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists. He was a single assist away from a triple double and the Jazz still look like they are a long way away from beating the defending champs.

The Jazz have lost three out of four to the Lakers and the Nuggets and they are 0-3 against the Oklahoma City. The Jazz have 2-1 leads in the season series with the Mavs and Suns, but that leaves the Jazz with a 6-11 record against the other top five teams in the west. To break it down further, the Jazz are 2-8 on the road and 4-3 at home. Not exactly the kind of record that inspires hope in the post-season.

Maybe we will feel differently after we watch the Jazz play OKC and Phoenix in the season’s final ten days, but I think it underlines the importance of opening the playoffs against the Spurs and Blazers, the two teams the Jazz are 8-0 against. With five games left in the season, the Jazz, Suns, Mavericks and Nuggets are all tied for second in the west at 50-27.


4/2/10

Steve Brown

Ours is not to wonder why….
by Steve Brown

The voice behind me at last month’s NCAA Sweet 16 at Energy Solutions Arena was pretty adamant..”the college game is so much better than the pro game.” It was said with such authority I had to examine my own feelings on the matter. At the time 6 minutes had been played and 8 points had been tallied. That’s 8 points total.

There hadn’t been a single memorable play, on offense or defense, by either team. It was hard to fathom how my upper-bowl neighbor could make his pronouncement with the evidence in front of him.
Apparently his neighbor was wondering the same thing. In response to the question, our college game proponent told him it was because these players played for the “right” reason.

I’m sure the right reason to him was anything not involving money. By this logic the further down the totem pole you got, the more pure the game. So maybe junior Jazz is the best game, after all, they play the “rightest” reason.

The exchange behind me brought to mind an oft-repeated sentiment among some Jazz fans. It usually deals with the play of Carlos Boozer. No one can dispute how well he’s played this season, but I often hear “he’s doing it for a contract.” To which I reply..”so what?”

Do 20 points and 10 rebounds count any less if done for a contract? To my knowledge, when they total points at the end of the game, the team with the most points wins. Not the most “pure” points or points scored for the “right” reason, whatever that would be.

Anyone who thinks most NBA players don’t play for a contract, is naive. It’s a job people!!!! Why do you (fill in the blank with your occupation)? Nothing wrong with that, its capitalism at its finest.
It was Shakespeare who proffered..” a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” To which I add…” Boozer’s 20/10 line for whatever reason will win just as many games.”

Let’s enjoy the run and leave the motivations for accomplishments to those who are trained in the art and make their livings figuring it out, although why they’d want to do that, I can’t figure out.


4/1/10

David James

by David James
Who are these guys?
One minute the Lakers are rolling along with a seven game win streak and the best record in the west. The next minute they have lost three of four and wrap up a disastrous road trip by getting blitzed by the Hawks. Is this an old team that’s been getting by on reputation and is now fading, or is this a talented, bored team, locked into a playoff spot and unable to find any urgency or purpose?

A little bit of both, but it is mostly the latter. At the season’s start, I picked the Lakers to win it all, but after watching the Cavaliers all season, I think they can take the Lakers. The question for the Jazz is, can the Lakers flip the switch and play their best ball Friday night in their final regular season meeting with the Jazz. The Jazz have six games left on the schedule and on paper this is the biggest test.

The Jazz are a miserable 3-8 against the Lakers in regular season and playoff games over the last year and a half. The Jazz are currently third in the Western Conference so they wouldn’t see the Lakers until the conference finals, if both teams advance that far, but a loss to the Lakers could easily drop the Jazz to 4th in the west behind Phoenix, setting the Jazz up for a potential second round playoff match-up with the Lakers.

It is high stakes for the Jazz and they will be without Andrei Kirilenko who is still sidelined by a calf injury. The Lakers will be missing Andrew Bynum. I think you have to pick the Lakers, until the Jazz prove they can win in L.A. and the Jazz have lost 12 straight games in L.A. in the regular and post-season, dating back to January 1, 2006.


3/29/10

Thurl Bailey

by Thurl Bailey
It’s all about consistency, teamwork and especially health as the Jazz finish out the single digit remaining games of the regular season. With a very favorable schedule and not much time to practice, I look for a few guys on the team to get some healing time in before the playoffs. AK of course has to get that new calf injury 100% healed if the Jazz expect to have their best defender on the floor, not to mention the damage he can do on a stat sheet. Deron’s been getting beat up pretty much the entire season. His wrist, ankle and shoulder could use a little more than ice to see him through.

The biggest question that’s been asked as of late is, who don’t the Jazz want to see in the first round of the playoffs. I’m going to answer that from a players standpoint rather than my media mentality. The important thing for the Jazz is to have home court advantage going into the first round. Although there are strengths and weaknesses to every team, the biggest concern right now is just getting the best possible position they can. Let the chips fall where they may after that. The Jazz are playing some of the best basketball in the league right now and there are certainly other playoff bound teams that would rather not face THEM too early in the playoff race!


3/22/10

David James

by David James
Despite unexpected losses to the Kings and Clippers and a beating at the hands of the Suns Friday in Phoenix, do the Jazz still have a shot at catching Denver and winning the division? My immediate answer was no, they don't, but then the radio voice of the Jazz, David Locke walked me through both teams schedule. The division race might come down to the final night.

The Jazz have to sweep this week. They host Boston tomorrow. Wednesday the Jazz are in Toronto and then they have a back to back Friday at Indiana and Saturday at the Wizards. Washington will also be going back to back. The Jazz return home where they will be heavy favorites Monday the 29th against the Knicks and two days later against the Warriors. The Jazz could have a seven game win streak when they open April with an almost certain loss to the Lakers in L.A.

The big question, will the Jazz bounce back at home against an Oklahoma City team that has beaten them three times? The Jazz go back to back the next night at Houston. But Houston will also be playing back-to-back. Will the Jazz be able to split those two games. The Jazz finish with games at New Orleans, at Golden State, and then back to back at home with Phoenix and the Suns are also going back to back.

If the Jazz go 10-2, which is difficult, but possible, Denver would have to lose five games for the Jazz to win the division.

Denver has to play in Boston on the second night of a back to back. The Nuggets have to go to Orlando and they also have to play at Dallas on the second night of a back to back. The Nuggets also have to go to Oklahoma City and then host the Lakers on the second night of a back-to-back. And the Nuggets have a 6th difficult game when they go to Phoenix to close the season on the second night of a back to back.

The race could easily come down to the season's final night.


Ron Boone

by Ron Boone
Try and figure out an NBA season; it's harder than trying to figure out a relationship (well that might be stretching it a little to far).

Hurt players, sick players, back to back games, long road trips. And than there's always the coulda, woulda, shoulda when it come to winning games.

Players have gotten bigger, faster, stronger, but how to play the game hasn't changed enough to scare you. Pick and roll, back door, give and go, those old plays still work. Man I love this game.

So here we are, four weeks before the season's end and the Jazz is fighting for their life trying to get home court advantage. Why? Because they are so damn good at home. It's like eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you know how good it is. Now for all you die hard PBJ eater's, I am NOT comparing PBJ to basketball, we all know there is no competition for the number one sandwich in the world. Hey I know people who eat a PBJ everyday. Also there is a Jazz player who confess to eating about thirty PBJ's a month.

I think the team is starting to gel at the right time. If the Jazz can stay healthy, get home court, they shouldn't be afraid of any NBA team. Why? Because the Mountain America three's are falling.
... Buckle up it's the law.


3/9/10

Steve Brown

ROWDIES BRING EUROPEAN FLAVOR TO JAZZ GAMES
by Steve Brown

FROM THE SOUND OF IT YOU WOULD THINK YOU WERE AT A EUROPEAN SOCCER MATCH. I TURNED ON NBA-TV THE OTHER DAY AND WATCHED A PAIR OF GREEK TEAMS BATTLE. THE ARENA NOISE WAS SYNCHRONIZED CHANTS, THE SAME SOUND I GREW UP WITH AS A BOY IN ENGLAND AT SOCCER MATCHES.

FEW SOUNDS IN SPORT RIVAL THE UNIFIED CHANTING OF SEVERAL THOUSAND RABID FANS. EURO BASKETBALL FANS CONTINUE THE SOCCER TRADITION OF CONTINUOUS BEDLAM. IT MAKES THE HAIR STAND UP ON THE BACK OF YOUR NECK, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY A TRANSATLANTIC TICKET THESE DAYS TO FEEL THE THRILL.

JAZZ FANS WHO ATTENDED THE UNVEILING OF THE JAZZ ROWDIES SECTION IN ENERGY SOLUTIONS ARENA GOT A TASTE OF THE SAME ATMOSPHERE. NEVER SITTING FOR THE ENTIRE GAME, THE ROWDIES SECTION MORE THAN LIVED UP TO THEIR NAME AND CERTAINLY EARNED THEIR TICKETS IN THE LOWER BOWL.

NOWHERE IN THE LEAGUE HAVE I HEARD A BETTER REPRESENTATION. KEEP IT UP FOLKS AND UTAH WILL ONCE AGAIN EARN THE REPUTATION AS THE TOUGHEST ROAD VENUE IN THE NBA.


3/9/10

Pace Mannion

by Pace Mannion

Jazz have a four game roadtrip, that in my opinion could be a real turning point in where they end up in the play-off race. I predicted a four game sweep on the last roadtrip and I think they will do it again this time. Why? You ask.

I believe this team has come together as a group. There is one true leader in D-Will and as Thurl put it "an anchor" in Carlos Boozer. As much as I hate to agree with Thurl, I do believe that Carlos has been a real professional and has played some of his best basketball during the last two months. I have noticed how much Carlos is cheering for teammates when he is in the game or resting on the bench. His defense is better as well, and we all know that there aren't many players in this league that can do what he can around the basket.

Then there is D-Will who has been great this year and will continue to get better. Yea, he has had some bad games but usually backs it up with a good one. We really don't know how bad the wrist really is..... but it obviously causes him some pain during the game. I like his positive approach and how he so complimentary of his teammates during the games. He has been there to pat AK on the head after a good play. He has been able to keep everyone involved in games when he might want to try and take over. The maturity that he is showing this year has been one of the reasons he made the allstar team and why he is the best playmaker in the NBA.

The last point I want to make on why the Jazz will have a good roadtrip....... MONEY MAN, Yep, Memo is playing great and is playing with so much confidence that I believe he will carry them on certain nights on this trip. He has had his struggles on the road this year but I think he will finish strong and have a terrific playoff run as well.

Go Jazz!!!!!


Craig Bolerjack

3/9/10

by Craig Bolerjack


Flying out with the Jazz Monday on this current 4-game road trip, I sense this team understands what's ahead. A 20-game stretch that will decided home court in the 1st round and a realistic shot at a division title and beyond. They were in similar situation last year and failed. To be a champion, you must push on to the next step and we'll get a good idea how far they've come this week in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and OKC.

One player that really intrigues me is Memo. Welcomed a new son a few weeks ago and lost his focus. Understandable. Memo is a family guy, but looks to have the focus back. If Okur continues to mix up his game inside and out, Boozer and the Jazz should put up gaudy numbers in the paint.

Another thought. 3-point shooting. Over the last 5 games the Jazz have attempted 99 3-pts...nearly 20 a game and connected on 42%. Has Sloan given the green light to take the 3...or has the 3 become a desperation shot ? 14 3's won the game in PHX. One thing is certain, a consistent Memo and Kyle Korver stretches defenses and allows Williams and Boozer to work the pick 'n roll in more wide open spaces.

And from my chair the most important stat of this road trip ? 1st quarter +/- . Handing out 10-pt leads and then playing the catch-up game doesn't work in this league. Boone....time to break out a new tie !!


3/8/10

Thurl Bailey

Road Trip!!!
by Thurl Bailey

Never saw the movie, but I would bet that the Jazz are pretty revved up for their 4 game road trip. Although they have a great chance to sweep up on the road, I'm just a little skeptical that they will go 4-0. Only because of what happened in LA against the Clips. They played well enough to win there, but could never quite get over the hump.

Pace likes them at 4-0. It's about time he got some confidence in them.

The two toughest games will be the first at Chicago and the last at Oklahoma City just because both teams are pretty decent at home and I just don't think that they (the Jazz) have figured out the perfect formula on the road yet, although they are close.

Key players on this trip outside of the obvious D-Will and Boozer.... Memo!
Keep showin' me the money baby!


3/4/10

Ron Boone

by Ron Boone
And down the stretch they come and every loss is hard to get back. With twenty-two games left the Jazz find themselves in a snow ball fight with five teams for the third spot and home court advantage.

The star talent in the leaque is starting to change again, I think every five years a new star is born. Kevin Durant is turning out to be everything they said he would be. So often the critics miss the hoop on stars. Next to Kobe and Lebron, he might be the most difficult to defend and the Thunder is one of the teams the Jazz are trying to fight off.

I wish the weather person would make his or her mind up, one day die hard golfers are on the course in sweaters and long johns, the next day skiiers are flying down the slopes. I guess the man upstairs is not a golfer and he's taking care of everyone.

I'm enjoying being bald although you must keep your head covered in the Winter because it's cold, and Summer because it's hot. I try to shave my head every two days to keep it looking nice. How about the caller to the broadcast wanting to know how I made my head shine? Made me laugh. After I shave my head I put aftershave on and it burns like hell. Now it time for the cocoa-butter to keep my head soft, the shine is not intentional.

The Jazz lost two road games that good teams are suppose to beat [Sac,LAC] - now is not the time to take a vacation, that's three months away.


3/3/10

Steve Brown

Trade Geography for Practicality?
by Steve Brown

Only in the convoluted world of sport can New Orleans be considered the West. As part of the NBA’s “let’s force a square peg into a round hole” philosophy, it’s a situation that makes perfect sense. To the rest of us, its just plain stupid.

The league’s division of east and west to populate the playoffs is long due for overhaul. As this is written, 11 western teams have 30 or more wins compared with just 7 in the east. Should a 29 win Miami team gain a spot ahead of three western teams with better records simply on the basis of geography?

The top 16 teams in the league should vie for the title, period. Doesn’t matter if it’s a team from the east or the west. What historical significance does east vs west hold? I mean, north vs south makes a lot more sense if you’re looking for geographical divisions. So let’s end all the silliness and just have the best teams decide the title.


Craig Bolerjack

by Craig Bolerjack
FACT: We have seen vast improvement on the road. But two costly slip ups at Sacramento and the LA Clippers, leave every Jazz feeling edgy and frustrated. You can't win the Northwest Division and home court advantage losing to lottery teams on the road. From my chair I see the need for consistency. Tempo. High energy tempo, night after night, game after game. Bury a team early and don't let up. I understand runs in the NBA, but teams that challenge for Division Championships, have the confidence and attitude to put teams away and the Jazz have been too inconsistent.

And speaking of inconsistent. Free throws come to mind. As of March 2, not one Jazzman is shooting over 80%. (Memo 79.9% and Korver 79.2 % ) FREE THROWS are FREE for a reason and can easily determine a win or loss. On average, 3 to 5 games a season are determined at the line. (Look at the box score and the final seconds of Monday nights game against the Clippers).

The Jazz have proven how good they can be. The frustration is...WHY don't they believe it ?


3/2/10

Thurl Bailey

It was tough to watch a great basketball player like Deron Williams step up to the free throw line at a crucial time in LA Clipper game and miss not just one but both shots. As I watched his face after the second one bounced off the side of the rim, I instantly realized why he is as good as he is....he cared.

It is I believe, moments like that one that makes him one of the best. To be human, to fall short of one's goal, to fail at a moment when all eyes are on you is sometimes a lonely walk back to the lockerroom.

But, often times it's not so much about the missed shots, or the turnover, it's more about how you respond the next time out. All I can say is ... Look out Steve Nash!

~ Thurl Bailey


3/1/10

David James
by David James

The Jazz are going to finish third in the Western Conference.

Sure there are six and a half weeks left in an extraordinarily tight playoff race and I might have missed on a prediction or two, but look at the standings and schedule with 45 days to play.

The Nuggets lead the Mavericks by a half game and the Jazz by a full game. If you take a look at the schedules it is clear which team should emerge with the second spot and home court advantage in the second round and which team should fall to fourth and a second round match-up with the Lakers, if they get that far.

The Mavericks have 22 games left while the Nuggets and Jazz have 23 games on the schedule. Home court advantage is huge and the Jazz have nine games in Utah, the Nuggets have 11 in Colorado and advantage Mavericks, they play 12 home games.

Dallas is catching another break. The Mavericks play just seven more playoff teams, the Jazz face nine and the Nuggets have to play 13, including Phoenix tonight. That is a major disadvantage for Denver.

One more break for the Mavericks. They play just five more back-to-back sets including the Bobcats tonight, the Jazz play six and the Nuggets play seven. To further complicate the Nuggets problems, on the second night of the back-to-backs the Jazz and Mavericks play lottery teams almost exclusively. Meanwhile, the Nuggets draw five playoff teams on the second night of back-to-backs, including the Mavericks, Lakers, Celtics and Suns twice, including tonight.

If Denver dominates a tougher schedule they will enter the playoffs on a tremendous roll, but I think they could easily drop to fourth place and give the Lakers a nasty second round match-up while the Jazz look like they are on track for a second round match-up with the Mavericks and I expect Dallas will have the home court advantage.


2/15/10

David James

Is the Jazz glass half empty or half full?

My radio tag team partner Pat Kinahan makes fun of me every time I use that phrase. Of course you regular listeners to the morning show on 1320 KFAN know PK makes fun of me once or twice a segment, no matter what I say.

The fact is there are a lot of Jazz fans who think this year's team is about to suffer the same fate as last year's team. The Jazz had a 12 game win streak last year, but collapsed, lost seven of the last 9 regular season games and dropped to 8th in the Western Conference where they were quickly knocked out by the Lakers in five games.

This year's team is different and I think they will finish strong down the stretch. Last year's team was plagued by injuries and they tried to re-integrate Carlos Boozer into the line-up when he was healthy. I believe Paul Millsap was distracted by his impending free agency last year and now he will flourish with the security of a multi-year deal. Clearly Andrei Kirilenko is playing better now in the starting line-up than he did last year off the bench.

In addition, C.J. Miles is more experienced, Ronnie Brewer is a better passer and undrafted rookie Wesley Matthews is playing impressive 4th quarter minutes. He wasn't on the roster a year ago.

Some people will tell you the schedule is more difficult down the stretch, but that is only partially true. Sure there are 19 road games and only 12 home games and yes, there are still 9 back-to-backs on the schedule, but after going 3-17 last year on the second night of back-to-back games, they are 4-6 on the second night this year. And take a look at the opponents down the stretch.

The Jazz have just one game left against an elite team. They are done with Cleveland and Denver and play the Lakers in L.A. Step down a level and they are done with Orlando, San Antonio, and Dallas and have single games left with Atlanta, Boston and Portland and only the Blazers are on the road. They've only played the Suns once and if Phoenix trades Amare Stoudamire that could be a major plus.

This Jazz team is not a fluke. They are 10-1 against the Mavs, Spurs, Suns and Blazers and the only loss was early in the season when the Jazz were playing poorly and Dirk Nowitzki went nuts in the 4th quarter. The Jazz just went 13-2 during a stretch in which they played mostly at home and only had two back-to-backs. They will slow down, but this team won't hit the wall.

I picked them to win 51 games and go out in the second round of the playoffs and right now, I think that pick is right on the money.


2/11/10

Thurl Bailey

by Thurl Bailey

Like Butta!
Plain and simple, the Jazz are just on a roll! Okay, so they lost to the Lakers at home. So what! The Lakers are great team and even without Kobe they are a really good team. Now let's be realistic here...the Jazz will not go the rest of the season without any slip ups, but now it's not just about how they're winning, it's also about when they do lose, how they lose.

There can no more losing to teams that are playing for lottery picks. The Jazz have graduated now beyond that.

Look for the Jazz to continue to play well after the break. The key for them is to continue to trust each other especially defensively. Put themselves in position to win games against teams that aint decent at home.

I'm picking the Jazz to win 3 out of the next 4 games


2/9/10

Pace Mannion

by Pace Mannion
Two more games before the All-Star Break! Can the Jazz stay focused and finish strong? I think they can. D-Will has turned the corner and become the true leader that this team needs. He is keeping everyone involved and being more vocal than ever before, he can be more critical of his team because they are playing with more confidence than ever. That means if he has to be hard on someone he doesn't worry about that player going into a shell and not performing. He is also quick to let guys know when they are playing well and he knows what players need to be praised and which need to pushed harder. I believe D-Will will come back from the allstar game with more confidence than ever. This is a goal that I think he wanted, expected and deserved. He is the best playmaker in the league and knows it. The allstar weekend will just add to his leadership qualities.

The biggest reason for the success of this team that coincides with D-Will's play is what AK has done since being inserted into the starting line-up. Not only is he enjoying the game again he is making others better. His passing, shooting and what he brings on the defensive end has taken so much pressure off everybody else that they can relax and let the game come to them. I feel some of the stars of this team have tried to do to much at times because they felt they had to, now with AK's play of late they don't need to try and take over games because they now have more help.

I hope this team can finish strong and get some much needed rest during the break and come back ready to pick up right where they left off. It would be nice to finish in the top two in the West and have home court until the Western Conference Finals. I believe this team is playing its best basketball and has a chance to catch the Nuggets and finish second in the West. How they come out and play after the break will decide if they have found out who they really are and tell us how far we think they can go.

D-Will.... Enjoy the All Star Game! We will all be watching.

First though, win the last two before you go.


2/4/10

Craig Bolerjack

by Craig Bolerjack
This is one of the most impressive runs I've seen by the Jazz since the Stockton to Malone days. And just 4 weeks ago all the talk centered around making a trade. I heard Deron tonight in the locker room mentioned he was trying to do too muchback in Nov. and Dec. He felt the need to carry the team...( maybe it was All-Star pressure ) . But it's obvious Williams is more comfortable in his role and trusts his teammatesmore now, than anytime during the season.

Also, AK has undergone a rebirth. Since the tears and frustration in Houston, Kirilenko is a complete basketball player again. He's involved, he understands his role and he's smiling for the first time in 3-years.

I have to praise Kevin O'Connor. He's worked the phones, but didn't make change for the sake of change. And Wesley Matthews is the find of the year. A smart, young player beyond his years who understands what it takes to play in this league and it starts with defense. His play has become infectious in the locker room and on the floor and that says a lot about this young man.

Great week, but I don't think Jazz fans will totally buy in until the Jazz beat Denver. Buckle up. Saturday night here we come...


2/3/10

David James

by David James
The Hot Rod Hundley Media Center is fabulous and if I sound a little surprised it is because I am. When "sports guys" become "art guys" the results are mixed at best.

I covered Steve Young's induction at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio and the room with the bronze busts of the greatest players and coaches in the history of the sport is awe inspiring, dramatically lit. But right around the corner is another room with the history of all the league's that have challenged the NFL and failed. The history is interesting, but the little posters look cheap and the lighting is straight out of your 4th grade classroom.

I covered John Stockton and Jerry Sloan's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts and again the quality of the displays wildly. The second floor has a bunch of beautiful and interesting trophy cases, but the third floor is awkward at best. All of the inductee's photos are displayed above your head on a domed roof that curls back over your head. Trying to read them, I thought I was going to fall over backwards.

The Energy Solutions Arena is home to the Utah Sports Hall of Fame, but I'll bet half of you have walked by it and never noticed. There are several dozen plaques on a wall on the concourse, but they are hidden in a wide open space. The Hot Rod Hundley Media Center is very dramatic, but by the very nature of the room, few of his fans will see it in the course of a normal game. One entire wall of the media center is covered with Hot Rod quotes and memorabilia. An autographed jersey, a press pass from the Jazz first season in New Orleans and Hall of Fame trophy. There are also photos of Hot Rod interviewing Frank Layden and broadcasting with Jim Nantz. The wall remembers and honors his All-America career at West Virginia, his All-Star career as a Lakers and his broadcasting career. There are trade mark quotes from his broadcasts, like "hippety-hop" and "the cow hide globe hits home" as well as every wood of the call of the John Stockton shot that sent the Jazz to the NBA Finals. Up close you read the words, but from a distance, they form the images that capture Hot Rods career as a player and broadcaster.

Unfortunately it is in part of the arena fans never see. A decade ago, after Karl Malone said something about wanting to be traded and never playing in a Jazz uniform again, the Mailman made up with the fans by holding an open house. He put a large chunk of his extensive memorabilia collection on display and Jazz fans waited in massive lines to tour the team's locker room and shoot a free throw on the court where their heroes play.

It is time for the Jazz to hold another open house. Let fans shoot a free throw, tour the locker room and training area and let them read the walls in the Hot Rod Hundley Media Center. Bring Hot Rod back to sign autographs all day, in an era of big money contracts and a looming labor dispute a day full of nostalgia is good business and the right thing do. As Hot Rod has often said, "You gotta love it, baby."


2/2/10

Ron Boone

by Ron Boone
What a run the jazz had the month of January. They had games where they were in control from start to finish and a few where they had to grind them out. The luxury Jerry Sloan has being deep at a number of positions is paying off right now.

It does help to have talent and players with the right attitude right now as well. When was the last time Andrei Kirilenko looked as happy as he looks now?

All-Star weekend is near lets hope there able to maintain the momentum.

What a great retirement party for Rodney "Hod Rod" Hundley. So glad I got a chance to be apart of his legacy. The Rod Hundley center [media room] is something special, with lots of history.

I didn't want a new years resolution but i have been spending a lot of time at the gym, trying to get the body I had twenty year ago ... "yea right". My mind is trying to fool my body and it's not working. Beginning to wonder why anyone would torture and beat them self up to stay in shape, hell let yourself go, go get a cheeseburger and fries, sit on the couch and watch yourself balloon two or three sizes. At least you can get a new wardrobe ... XXXL .... wow, no thank you.

That's the reason i still have the drive to stay in shape, plus it's healthy. Lots of retired player struggle with this "Charles Barkley" ...


1/12/10

Craig Bolerjack

by Craig Bolerjack
So why the turnaround against Dallas and Miami ? Every Jazz fan has their theories, but from my chair, it's TEMPO...

Since returning from the wrist injury Deron is running this team in high gear. It's allowed athletes like Brewer, AK and Matthews to be athletes ... run the floor, block shots, rebound. Utah's defense feeds off that tempo ... Boozer is moving his feet better, Memo had an AK like game in the 1st quarter against Miami and steals are out of sight allowing more fast break points and points in the paint. The recent tempo surge has also allowed the Jazz to spread the floor, allowing Korver, Boozer and Millsap more room to work.

As a team, the Jazz are averaging 114.5 pts and 55% FG in the 2 wins against the Mavericks and Heat. And the Jazz are finally helping themselves ... averaging just 7 turnovers in the 2 wins.

Are the Jazz fixed? Impossible to say. Some players may fear being traded, while others may have taken their game up a notch to help themselves out of town.

By the way ... Booner broke out a pair of black velvet shoes against Miami ... I say keep them on until we wear out this win streak ...


1/11/10

Pace Mannion

by Pace Mannion
Jazz fans, why is it the Jazz are so inconsistent? How can a team with so much talent play so well one night and look so bad the next? Is it chemistry? Is it youth? Do they have a true leader? Is Jerry Sloan the right guy for the job? Are the better when AK plays 30 minutes or more? Will Korver getting healthy help turn them around?

So many questions and so few answers... Lets look at a few of these, first, Jerry is the right guy PERIOD. His system has proven itself time and time again, so that is the easy one.

They are better when Ak plays 30+ minute for sure. He is the best defender this team has and is one of the few to leave his man to help a teammate. He shoots better and is a very good passer from the 3 or the 4 position.

They will be better when Kyle is healthy. He is the best perimeter shooter on the team and can make clutch free throws down the stretch. Having him on the floor spreads the defense and allows D-Will more room to operate as well as more space for Boozer in the post. The question is can he defend well enough at the position? Kyle is very intelligent and has made up for less athleticism while he has been in the league so I believe he can handle the defensive end.

Now for the tough ones....Chemistry, youth, consistency and Leadership. Great teams have great chemistry. Meaning they like each other and are willing to sacrifice personal goals to help the team and more importantly a teammate. I love to see D-Will give up an easy shot for himself to get a teammate a lay-up or see AK come from nowhere to block a shot with no hesitation of leaving his man who might score because he came to help. The little things teams do, helping a teammate off the floor, pointing to a teammate for making a nice pass or thanking them for helping you after you have been beat. That brings unity and I don't know if it is always there.

I don't like the youth excuse because this team has enough veterans to be good.

Leadership is what I have always harped on about this team. D-will can't do it alone but I believe he can do more. I spoke with Paul Pressey a coach from the Hornets and x-teammate of mine and asked him about Chris Paul and his comments were interesting. He said that Chris Paul is a great player and leader. He studies his teammates and knows who to pat on the back and who needs a kick in the ass. Even if it meant telling someone something in front of thousands of fans. He is willing to be the bad guy once in a while. His work ethic is never questioned so he can tell anyone who he thinks might be taking posessions off to pick it up. I don't question D-will's work ethic and I believe he is better than Chris Paul. I just wish he would take this team and make it his. If that means hurting someones feelings for the good of the team, then so be it.

I think this team has a future and will be in the playoffs but it will take some changes in attitude and leadership to get them there.


Ron Boone

by Ron Boone
It's ben a few weeks since I blogged - I had a virus on my computer, and my way of getting rid of a virus would be to take some anabolic - But that doesn't work, so it cost me a few hundred bucks, pissed me off since I'm not into computers controlling my life.

Anyway, the last time I blogged was a little before Christmas and things were and still going well. Had a wonderfull Christmas, my daughter did a great job and the grandkids had the most fun - as it should be. Ya see it turned out to be a party; music, food, and lots laughter. Then we went back to New York by way of New Jersey .

Again, I dined with Travis, Boler, and Joe, we traveled thirty minutes by bus to eat at a restaurant recommended by Scott Layden. Wow ... thirty minutes by bus, but the food was good, sure the streets were dirty, but it's New York, it's cold, so what do you expect this time a year, people are rude and in a hurry, but hell, THAT'S NEW YORK, THE CITY SO NICE THEY NAMED IT TWICE.

Anyway the Jazz beat New Jersey and we are now into January and the Jazz have struggled to win games. Now I'm starting to wonder, how good are they?

Deron and Carlos are making a push for the NBA All-Star game and the field is stronger this year. Great win against Dallas, in Dallas, an effort like that every night will put you in the playoffs for sure. The team is still in pretty good position to finish strong and make a run in the playoffs; but I'd like to see them catch fire about now and run off a string of games.

Went to the doctor last week to get the glove ... is there a more intimidating sound than when the doc snaps on the glove? You feel violated but know it's nessesary.

Oh Ya ... we should be proud of David James for keeping his shoes shine.


Steve Brown

PANIC ATTACK
by Steve Brown

There it was last week... three straight Jazz losses and the sky was falling. Long time Jazz fans can remember much more robust collapses than 3 straight, but they didn't elicit the kind of rampant angst of last week's shortcomings. Sure, there are greater expectations as Jazz success has risen, but that alone can't explain the community-wide breakdown. At the risk of offending my colleagues in sportstalk radio, I lay much of the blame at their feet.

Every waking minute of every day, well at least Monday through Friday, devoted to dissecting every nuance of the sports world, the microscope continually focuses on failure. After all, its not nearly as much fun to cheer on success and produces many fewer phone calls. Need proof, Utah's Sugar Bowl win over Alabama had a much shorter shelf-life than Max Hall's postgame tirade. Add to that, life, especially competitive life say over an 82 game season will probably have more "downs" than "ups".

This isn't meant to dissuade anyone from the cathartic "venting" over sportstalk radio, but the next time the Jazz hit the skids, and they will between now and April, take a deep breath, then make that call to DJ & PK, vent your heart out, then get back to work and be glad your boss isn't the entire sports fan world.


1/8/10

David James

by David James
Carlos Boozer is stirring the pot, again. That was a problem last year in New Jersey with his "opt-out" comments and over the summer when he talked about going to Chicago and Miami, but now I think he is saying something that needs to be said.

After beating Memphis without Deron Williams Boozer spoke about how fun it was to play when the ball was really moving and everyone had a role and a chance to create. He made similar comments after a win in Philadelphia without Deron Williams something about it is great when the ball isn't with one or two guys all the time.

Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Miles had similar quotes, although not as pointed because they aren't as accomplished. If you are looking for the source of chemistry problems in the locker room, there you go. This is an issue with every team at every level of basketball. Junior Jazz coaches solve it by letting their kid handle the ball and shoot it every time. Jerry Sloan has a series of difficult problems to solve.

First, I believe Boozer is right. The Jazz are a better team when everyone is handling the ball. Passing the ball forces every defender to adjust their position on the court, one mistake and there is an opening. The best NBA teams have five guys who can pass the ball. When a player is open, by even a little bit, whoever has the ball can deliver it on time and on target. Think of Magic's Lakers, Olajuwon's Rockets and even the Divac/Webber group in Sacramento, they could all pass the ball. Stockton and Malone had their greatest success after the Jazz traded for Jeff Hornacek and Bryon Russell learned to pass the ball off the dribble.

The problem is just having everyone pass the ball isn't enough. They have to be good at it. There are nights the Jazz are sharp and there are far too many nights when they turn the ball over 20 times or more. The Jazz are averaging over 15 turnovers per game, putting them in the bottom third of the NBA. Ironically, Carlos Boozer, the guy who touched off this mini-firestorm, already has ten games of four turnovers or more and the Jazz are 1-9 in those games. If you want to handle the ball more, you can't throw it all over the gym.

Jerry Sloan has been down this road before. In the mid-90's I was at a Jazz practice, when they were still open to the media, at Westminster's little Payne Gymnasium. The Jazz were working on their offense, getting everyone involved. The ball was flying all over the place and finally someone threw a pass off the folded up bleachers, a good 30 feet out-of-bounds. Jerry left off a blast about if you bleeping guys are going to throw the ball all over the bleeping place, I'll put the bleeping thing in this bleepers hands and no one else will ever get it. Of course, he was pointing at John Stockton.

The Jazz are an underachieving 19-16 right now and there are probably a lot of reasons why. But clearly there are chemistry problems and have been dating back to last season. As the Jazz rearrange the roster, and I believe it will look very different 18 months from now, they need to compile a roster full of guys who can pass the ball without turning it over.


1/8/10

Craig Bolerjack

by Craig Bolerjack
Headed to Memphis with the same thoughts most fans are mulling over; Who, what, makes this team click? Deron's injury allowed everyone to get involved in the offense against the Grizzlies, but don't think Deron's importance to this franchise is lessened because of it.

Bold move by Jerry Sloan to play Sundiata Gaines. But the kid is a quick study, the Jazz did their homework on this bulldog.

My recent interview on FSN with Greg Miller was interesting for two reasons: 1. I actually got to know the man much better than I did before and thought he doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve like his late father 2. The passion to win and compete burns just as deep.

In my opinion, a move will be made, but only if it makes sense, not a quick fix trade, but a move that benefits the franchise and the fan base.

On approach to Memphis, and what do you know, Boone just woke up ...


12/14/09

Thurl Bailey

by Thurl Bailey
With the return of CJ Miles to the lineup the Jazz are looking like a force to be reckoned with. It was so great to see a team who at one point was down by 18 at home to a very good Orlando Magic team, weather the storm and show them who house it was!

Although the NBA scedule teaches it's players that because of an 82 game regular season schedule, players have to have short memories in wins and in loses, the Jazz surely didn't forget what happened earlier in the week in Laker territory when the bottom fell out in the 4th quarter. On Saturday, the Lakers didn't stand a chance as the Jazz proved that Jerry's age old hoop philosophies still work in the new era.

The timing couldn't be more perfect for the Jazz to be on a roll. After Monday's game at the ESA vs the Timberwolves (speaking of short memories),
the Jazz will be on the road for their annual pre-Christmas tour. Although a few of the teams they'll be facing aren't playing too badly, the Jazz on paper are the better of them ... but what's paper worth these days? Nothin'!


12/8/09

Craig Bolerjack

by Craig Bolerjack
It's amazing the talent of the Jazz when they bring their "mental" fight with them. Case in point, 3rd quarter against San Antonio.

From my chair, Williams broke through his slump, played basketball and the Jazz followed. By far the most dominating attitude adjustment of the season; and more of the same will be needed this week.

The Lakers have Kobe, the most dominating player in the league today, and a terrific compliment of big men.

Orlando is a beast: Dwight Howard turns 24 this week; and with the addition of Vince Carter, this team is a big player in the East...

If the Jazz expect to be a player in the West, this is the week to make a statement.

Booner... I want to see a new tie in L.A. - Spend a buck this week!


12/7/09

David James

by David James
The Jazz tuned up for the most difficult week of the season to date, by blowing the easiest road game of the season. How did they turn a 50-36 second quarter lead at Minnesota into a loss? It is easy when you lack leadership, defensive toughness, a shot blocker and focus. You can quibble with the order, but I think all four are facts.

I believe they need to acquire a big defensive-minded guy in the middle. They also need Deron Williams to get to 30. D. Will may not want to hear it because I think he has about as much patience as Jazz fans, but John Stockton, Steve Nash and Jason Kidd, all got better results as they got closer to, and into, their 30's. Physically and statistically he is at his peak, but like the other Hall of Fame and future Hall of Fame point guards, he will be better mentally and emotionally in five years.

This week is big for the Jazz. They will measure themselves against the Spurs at home Monday, at the Lakers Wednesday, back-to-back with Orlando in Utah Thursday and home versus the Lakers Saturday. I think they have to go 2-2 in order to be considered a contender, and that's what I was picking until they blew the Minnesota game. Now I think 1-3 is more likely, but this team can shoot themselves into games they shouldn't win and … well… you saw what happened in Minnesota.

The Jazz clearly have flaws and they clearly have too much talent at some positions and that is why I am eager to see what they do at the trade deadline.


Pace Mannion
by Pace Mannion
Let's look at where the Jazz are, I have been asked all last week about what I thought about the Jazz this year. My response was always the same....ask me next week. I believe this week will tell us all "where the Jazz are". This will be the toughest week of the season to date. The Spurs who are not playing very well are in town tonight, the Lakers on Wednesday and back home Thursday with the Magic. Then to make it even tougher the Jazz get Kobe and co. back home on Saturday.

DJ, Thurl and Myself made predictions for this week and we included the Minnesota game also for a 5 game stretch. Thurl went 3-2 and I said 2-3 along with DJ. Obviously we were all counting on them winning in Minnesota. This is the problem for this team, playing down to opponents, especially on the road. They have shown signs of being very good and then lay an egg on Saturday night just when we were all starting to believe.

I think the Jazz will struggle this week unless they decide to continue playing defense and sharing the ball. You can't allow any team in the NBA to shoot 50% or better and think you can just out score them. This team has proven it can defend better than last year and when they move the ball and get good shots they can beat anyone. That is why it is so hard to predict what this team will do, we never know what team is going to show up.

So, tonight is the start of a very important week for this team, I've heard players say this will be a good test to show us where we stand with a few of the elite teams in the league. If the Jazz want to compete this year and grow as a group we will find out this week.

So, like I said before, ask me at the end of the week or watch all the games this week and we will all have a good idea of " where the Jazz are".

12/3/09

Craig Bolerjack

by Craig Bolerjack
Two big questions this weekend...

(1) How will the Jazz respond to 3 days off ? When the motor is running hot, you hate to turn it off. 3-straight wins by an average of 20-ts. And whether you're a Boozer fan or not, the man has been running extremely hot. 25-pts 70% fg the last 5 games. ( I sound like Locke) !

(2) Blending. CJ expects to play Friday night, Korver is close. Sloan is paid to win, but you don't survive in this league without understanding balance. Sloan will find minutes for CJ, but the trick is not to disrupt the success the Jazz are having. When this team finally dresses 12, Sloan will have the deepest bench in the league and more options than Boone has ties!


Ron Boone

by Ron Boone
The home stand has been good for Jazz in few ways. Treatment for injured players, home environment; their season record was under "five-hundred" at the time and they needed to get on a roll before the Christmas trip.

I think all is well in the Jazz locker room and it shows because the confidence level is very high.

Playing at a all-league level is Carlos Boozer, his numbers are great and even his defense has improved. Many people that I have come in contact with that were not Boozer fans are supporters now; I'm impressed with his game, but not his judgement. Why ... because the day before Thanksgiving I mentioned to Carlos I was going to bake my favorite cake, he ask the name of it, I told him German Apple, he said "sounds good". I said the hardest part of making the cake is peeling the apple, then he said with a very surprised tone in his voice, "OH IT'S A SCRATCH CAKE?"

Come on now the recipe is forty years old, it's a Louisiana recipe, it's old school - we don't cook out of a box. So I thought okay I'll give him a slice, yea right, didn't take long to change my mind because two day later I had the last piece.

Well I hope Boozer and the players had a nice Thanksgiving, I sure did. Of course, the win on Thanksgiving day capped off a wonderful day. Forgot to tell you, when you eat the whole cake it would be wise to get a workout the next day.


11/24/09

Ron Boone

by Ron Boone
November so far has turned out to be a productive month for the Jazz. Seven and four is not bad - considering they have played short-handed from the start of the season.

The team has learned a few things since going two and two on the recent east coast road trip. Getting everyone involved on offense and trusting your teammates on defense, can make your job a little easier.

After winning a pressure game in San Antonio and a hard fought game against the Detroit Piston things are looking good. But after the win against Detroit Saturday night, I went home and tried to watch ESPN, expecting to see coverage of the Jazz win and coverage of the Nebraska Cornhusker spanking Craig Bolerjack's Kansas State Wildcats. Instead I was stuck listening to Charlie Weiss and Notre Dame football. Ten minutes on there lost and why he should be fired. My question is, is Notre Dame that important to College Football that they deserve so much coverage? Does that make them America's College Football Team? When was their last NCAA championship? How about Idaho State just once to be their lead story.

Okay back to basketball.... GO JAZZ


11/19/09

Craig Bolerjack

By Craig Bolerjack
Great win in San Antonio. Critics will say Parker and Ginobili didn't play, but the Jazz didn't have Memo, Korver, CJ or Ronnie. From my chair, the pieces are coming together, but can they, will they play with this same team like, share the ball mentality over a long period of time ? Stay tuned...the upcoming home stand will provide the answer. And how will Sloan blend CJ and Korver back into the lineup ? Talent is a good thing as long as minutes don't become a locker room problem. How do you not give minutes to Maynor and Matthews ? Balance will be Jerry's next challenge as we head into December and the pre-Christmas road trip ... Boone . .put a shine on those shoes ! We expect better ... ...


11/18/09

Ron Boone
by Ron Boone
Winning two of four on the recent road trip to me was a success.

The team played well and now have some momentun coming home, where they will play six of the next seven to round out the month.

Wesley Mathews and Eric Maynor took advantage of extended minutes and boy did they put on show. Averaging over thirty minutes a game each, the both of them put up numbers that can't be ignored; Maynor played under control and made good decisions that led to a victory in Philly - we just might see Deron and Eric on the floor alot this season with Williams playing the two position.

I love New York and Boston has the best sea food so Boler, Travis and i went to a no name restaurant, no the name was no name oh hell I'll fiqure it out; Hot Rod turned me on to it so now you understand. I had sea food chowder, Boler and Travis stuff there face as well, then we were off to Philadelphia where they have a crack in a bell they won't fix.

The sun was shining in Cleveland for the first time in twenty years - I didn't visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the city is rockin' because of the baseball team, and now LeBron James is jumping over people.

I worked with Steve Brown for two games because Boler was away doing college football.. and Yes, when Steve sits down his feet do touch the floor, and he does shine his shoes.


11/11/09

David James

by David James
"No rebounds, no rings."

If Pat Riley said it once, he said it a thousand times. Magic Johnson's Lakers were very talented, but they couldn't beat the Celtics unless they did the dirty work. The Jazz need to learn the same lesson.

In New York the Jazz out-rebounded the Knicks 50-37 and won the game. Two nights earlier, at home against Sacramento, the Jazz and Kings split the rebounds 38-38 and the Kings won 104-99. The Jazz out-rebounded the Spurs 41-36 and won 113-99. Is anybody seeing a trend? No? Keep reading.

The Mavericks out-rebounded the Jazz 50-37 and won 96-85. The Rockets out-rebounded the Jazz 46-38 and won 113-96. The Jazz out-rebounded the Clippers 48-35 and won the game 111-98. The Nuggets out-rebounded the Jazz 42-39 and won 114-95.

If you are scoring at home, the Jazz are 3-0 when they out-rebound opponents, 0-3 when they are out-rebounded and 0-1 when they are tied in rebounding. It would be easy to say, "Boozer, Okur, Millsap, get in there and rebound", but it isn't enough. In the win over the Knicks, Deron Williams and Ronnie Brewer combined for 11 rebounds and they had 13 in the win over the Spurs. Against Sacramento they combined for three rebounds. Conclusion... the guards MUST rebound if the Jazz are going to win.

Of course, Deron Williams has calf and back injuries and he didn't particpate in the shootaround this morning, so the Jazz maybe doomed in Boston tonight. Captain Obvious reports the Jazz can't beat the Celtics on the road without him. Still the message for the long run is clear, this team has to rebound well, as a group, or they aren't going to win.


11/10/09

Tom Nissalke

by Tom Nissalke
What do you think? Are they any good or not? How about Boozer? Are there leadership problems on the floor? Locker room? I get asked these questions everyday in the gym, lunch, at prison ministry or at the movies!

1. Are they any good? They have the potenial to be a play-off team or even advance a couple of rounds if they can improve their defense to just be average. Right now its very poor but shows flashes from time to time. You can play "D" if you listen to scouting reports, your coaches and have a Desire to play. The biggest problem is running their offense under pressure late in games. If this phase improves,other parts of their game will follow.

2. How about Boozer? I would be happy he came back. He has flaws in his game as all players but is the only Jazz player who can play with his back to the basket and over power people inside. Sure he has problems with top bigger players[Garnet]but so does everyone else. A plus!

3. There is a leadership problem on and off the court and it shows. Williams is the guy who will be as he continues to mature. The foreign players are good guys but its hard to take over. Think if you were playing in a different country, would you be the leader? Probably not. The plus is that there are no guys trying to lead in a negative way.

They do need Korver and Miles back for fire power reasons. Maybe they won't be zoned so much. Everyone needs to be patient until the 2nd {season] starts in January.


11/9/09

Pace Mannion

by Pace Mannion
Tonight the Jazz take on the New York Knicks. What team will show up? The team that played so well against the Spurs or the team that looked like they had never seen a 2-3 zone defense before with the Kings? This is an ongoing problem for the Jazz, a team that has played up to its competition as well as down to it!

We all know that the Jazz have the talent to compete with anyone in the league. Yes, I said anyone! From the Lakers to the Knicks. The Jazz often struggle to get ready for the weaker teams and find a way to play well against the best teams. Why? It is easy to play against Kobe, Lebron and Garnett but playing the Kings, Knicks and Warriors is when a team shows its mental toughness. Those weak teams need to be put away early and never let back in the game. I know that every team has some good players (This is the NBA) but the Jazz have talent and a great system in place to succeed. Tonight is a game where the Jazz need to blow out the Knicks and rest some of the starters for the Celtics tomorrow night. Also, as David James has pointed out, the Jazz have the Knicks pick this year so every loss they have only helps get more Ping Pong Balls. One last thing. D-Will needs help leading this team. Who will step up and help him?

Will the real Utah Jazz please stand up!!!!


11/6/09

Thurl Bailey

by Thurl Bailey
Winning has always been the cure for pretty much anything that ails a basketball team and the Jazz at least for one game found a way to bounce back from two sickly performances against the shorthanded Rockets and Dirk Nowitzski (okay, Dirks teammates helped a little)

The Jazz were nothing short of Outstanding on defense against the talented San Antonio Spurs. Kudos to Carlos Boozer for leading the attack both defensively and offensively. Tim Duncan never knew what hit him.

The key word for the Jazz as they face a Sacremento team that shouldn't stand a chance at the ESA... consistency! Oh and Wes Matthews is the real deal!

11/5/09

David James

The Dallas meltdown is a new Jazz low.
By David James

I can't remember the Jazz getting outscored 44-18 in a 4th quarter. I can't remember the Jazz getting outscored 36-9 in the last 8:10 of a game. They led by 16 points with 8:10 to play in the game and didn't even have a chance to win at the end. How did they blow it, let me count the ways.

Nowitzki v. Okur- Dirk came into the game shooting 41.4% on the year. He was 3-7 shooting in the first half and he didn't attempt a free throw. By the end of the night he had 40 points on 12-22 shooting and he was 15-16 at the free throw line. It seemed like Dirk scored on every possession at the end of the game. The truth is he only scored on 12 out of 17 possessions as the Mavs rallied to take the lead. Jerry Sloan said he didn't double more because the other players are so good, but I would have given moved Okur to Dampier and put Millsap into the game in place of Boozer and his horrendous help defense.

Jump shots- The Jazz became a passive jump shooting team down the stretch. Boozer and Brewer launched shots that were so bad they might as well have been turnovers. Boozer did make a couple and score the Jazz last 8 points, maybe helping him emerge from this shooting slump, but the Jazz needed some one to drive to the hoop and get a lay-up or some free throws to take the steam out of the Mavs run.

Rebounds- Dallas outrebounded the Jazz 50-37. Somebody isn't working hard enough. Okur had 14 rebounds and Millsap had 6 in 22 foul plagued minutes, but after that, no one else came through. Two years ago this was one of the NBA's better rebounding teams and the roster hasn't changed much. Guys just aren't working as hard.

Confidence- This team has none. They may think they can be a good team, but they don't know it and until they cross the line between hoping to win and expecting to win, there will be more of these games. Don't we all expect the Jazz to lose again Thursday to the Spurs?

If you are looking for a silver lining, try these. The Knicks blow too, so the Jazz could be working on two lottery picks and I have always thought this team could be very good, but as currently constituted, they aren't going to win a championship. The organization has a history of moving very conservatively when it comes to personnel matters, but they need to make some deals, and with Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Matt Harpring, they have expiring contracts. If the team continues to play like this, it will be easier to shake up a roster that I believe needs to be changed.


11/4/09

Steve Brown

STYLES MAKE FIGHTS
By Steve Brown

At the height of his career, George Foreman loses to an aging Muhammed Ali, Ali has his jaw broken in a loss to Ken Norton, a guy Foreman destroyed just months earlier and Buster Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson. Its an age-old adage in boxing, styles make fights.

I thought about that Friday as the Jazz struggled at home to put away the Clippers. Watching Aaron Brooks carve up Jazz defenders confirmed what we all know but rarely articulate, there are no perfect teams.

I don't know how good this Jazz team will be, but I do know the high-octane point guards of the league are going to be a problem night in and night out. Deron Williams brings a lot to the table, size and strength among them, but there is a trade-off. Lightning quick guards are always an issue, and Jazz fans may as well prepare for those nights of frustration right now. That doesn't mean you pencil in an automatic "L", but recognize there are no 82-0 seasons to aspire to equalize.

Styles make fights, and speed kills, two of the eternal truths. Now, about blowing a 16 point second half lead in Dallas.... well, thats another blog entry.


11/2/09

Craig Bolerjack

By Craig Bolerjack

Big week for the Jazz...first back to back test of the season. Houston then Dallas. Its a point of needed improvement if the Jazz want to win the Northwest and beyond. I liked the play of Paul Millsap against the Clippers. Always concerned how a player responds to a new contract and Millsap answered after a mediocre night in Denver with 23 and 9 in 25 minutes on the court...

By the way. have you noticed my partner Ron Boone likes to make fashion statements with his suits and ties....Booner...so far I'm giving you a B....I know you can do better !!


Ron Boone

By Ron Boone

I'm scrambling getting ready for start of the season. Without preseason games you feel behind and not in the flow. Also sixty degree weather means you still have golf fever but the first freeze and a couple of excedrin will cure that.

Having the right neck ties and shine shoes make you feel good. So every man in clean clothes or a nice suit should shine his shoes.

PASS IT ON


10/27/09

Pace Mannion

By Pace Mannion

Well, its that time of year again! Yea, you know, when we all try to figure out how the Jazz will do and where will they fit in with elite teams in the Western Conference. Will they stay healthy? Will Boozer, (in a contract year) play better defense? Will D-Will become an allstar and lead this team back to the Western Conference Finals? Will Memo always be open because bigs just can't stay home? (I'll let Thurl answer that one.) haha!

In my opinion, if the Jazz stay healthy they will once again be in the top teams in the west. Right now with Korver, CJ, Price and Ronnie Brewer not healthy the SG position is the biggest question mark the Jazz have. Coach Sloan will have to be very creative with his line-ups and move some players around to fill roles while he waits for the return of one or all of his shooters.

As for Boozer, I believe the answer is yes!!! He will play hard at both ends of the floor. Without an option for him, he has to perform this year if wants to demand big money next year in the free agent market. Carlos has the ability to be a great player in this league. I'm not talking about being an all-star. Numbers alone will get guys on the all-star team. I'm talking about helping your teammates become better players, giving up your body on certain plays at both ends of the floor and helping D-Will as one of the leaders on this team. (Like Karl used to do for John) D-Will can't be expected to handle that role all by himself.

I believe this team has enough talent and has a proven system to be very good if they play hard and together. We all know that the west is difficult but we have seen this team rise up and play well and compete with anyone. So, watch Dwill and the Jazz Wednesday night and see for yourself where you think they will end up this year. Make your predictions!! I'm sure we will!

Big T, get back to us about all those big guys leaving Memo when you get a chance......please.


Craig Bolerjack

By Craig Bolerjack

The Jazz start their 82-game season with much of the same core of players. Health, defense and road wins will be key to the Jazz success.

Back court looks to be stronger with the addition of Eric Maynor. The rookie could have problems with bigger guards on the post ups, but I like his fast rate of development. Memo has worked on his inside game this off season and I hope Ronnie Brewers contract extension doesn't take anything away from this young kids game. Ronnie is jump out of the gym quick and Sloan wants a better defensive effort night in and night out...

I had an in depth interview with Boozer Monday that will air during the pre-game show Wednesday night on FSN....Booze is focused and hints he'd like to reel in some of his summer time radio comments...check it out....see you on FSN..


Thurl Bailey

By Thurl Bailey

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the question, "Thurl, how are the Jazz going to be this year?" I'd be making as much as Paul Milsap. I wish I did have that Crystal ball to look into the future of this year's Jazz team, although I'd probably only use it to make me look that much smarter than Pace.

In my opinion there really is only one word that sums up what we all should be watching for with the Jazz this season….HEALTH. As simple as that may sound, to me it is initially the biggest hurdle that this Jazz team must get over. I'll break it down for you in two parts.

Physical health: Last year Jazz fans anticipated that the Jazz's nucleus (Williams, Boozer, Kirilenko, Okur, Korver & Milsap) would take the Jazz far in the playoffs and possibly to the Western Conference Finals, but never really got to see all of those players play together for any significant stretch of time because of injuries. Although injuries are one of those factors one can never control, let's hope that the Jazz have better luck this season than last. Having C J, Matt, and Kyle out…is not a good sign!

Mental health: This is really all about individual and team attitude! Everybody wants to know how Carlos Boozer's attitude is going to be this year. (That's the second most asked question I get.) Carlos, is going to have his best season ever! Don't be so shocked by my answer. I mean, wouldn't you want to if you were him. First of all, regardless of where he wants to be, (or doesn't) he's a great player and the Jazz are a better team with him on it regardless of how you feel about his defensive skills. You know what you get with Carlos and what you get is a guys who makes a 20 point 20 rebound night look as easy as any player I've ever seen.

The trick will be whether anyone else besides Deron Williams will step up night after night as a leader. Not just with his play but also with his voice and attitude. Whose going to be the guy who leads the rally on the road to knock someone on their ass and set the tone to start living up the legend of Jerry Sloan coached teams? A 15-26 road record just won't do.


Ron Boone

By Ron Boone

Hi, Ron Boone here, this years team should be stronger because of experience. Health will be the key especially in the month of November. With two injuries already to Kyle Korver and CJ Miles the team can't afford another.

A Jazz friendly November will keep the team from getting buried at the start of the season. After starting the season off last year beating Denver 98-94 the jazz posted a 11 and 6 record with Boozer playing in only twelve games and Deron missing ten. The last five years has been good with a november record of 48-32 so they need to keep it going.


10/26/09

David James

Fire the Doctor.com
David James

Why hasn't someone come up with this website? Every coach has to deal with these websites. Players get booed and ripped on talk radio and internet sites (Carlos Boozer currently the franchise leader). Why don't doctors take the same heat?

If I were Kyle Korver I'd be mad at a doctor right now. His knee has bothered him the entire pre-season, but it took a second opinion to find bone spurs. They require surgery ,so although there is no official word on how long he will be out, I expect, like C.J. Miles,Korver isn't playing until after Thanksgiving and maybe longer. Korver is in a contract year, he doesn't need to miss a bunch of time and this could have been handled during the pre-season.

The good news for the Jazz is they have too many guys at the wing position. The Jazz have to play better defense if they are going to advance in the playoffs, and now Jerry Sloan can play his two best defenders, Andrei Kirilenko and Ronnie Brewer, for 36 minutes a night. Sloan can use Ronnie Price at the 2 guard, Paul Millsap at the 3, or Wesley Matthews at either position, for theother 24 minutes per night.Surgery is bad news for Korver, but the Jazz should be OK unless another wing player gets hurt.


Steve Brown

What's Behind Door #2 ?
Steve Brown

A popular '60's game show, revived this year, tried to get contestants to give up a valuable prize for perhaps a more valuable one behind a door or curtain. Invariably greed prevailed, and the gamble was usually chosen, often costing the contestant all they had previously won.

This summer, I have repeatedly been asked "why don't the Jazz trade for better players?" Well, maybe we can take a lesson from those game show risk-takers. Healthy, this is a very talented Jazz team that probably deserves a chance to prove itself before we go throwing it away for "Door #2".

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