Monday, December 29, 2008

Where Amazing Happens, and gets undercut by workmanlike

Halfway through the third quarter tonight in Utah in a game that the Sixers needed to avoid what will wind up being a pretty awful road trip, second year man and future franchise hope Thaddeus Young got the ball in the open floor with his team down eight. Driving down the left side with men on his wings, he faked a behind the back pass, drawing the defender to the passing lane, then brought the ball back and windmilled it for the jam. It was a "Woo!" moment, a basket of startling body control, and something I've never seen before; pure highlight candy. The reaction shot of the Sixers bench saw the reserves erupting.

And two second later, the Jazz had thrown the long outlet pass to the frontcourt to Deron Williams, who worked Andre Miller into the air for his fourth foul, hit the shot and the free throw. Boom, door closed, nine point lead and the Sixers without their assist guy. I'm still watching the game as I'm writing this, but I'm confident that the Jazz won't trail again in this game -- and no, it's not because my team will have quit. It's just that the Jazz win games like this, year in and year out, by simply taking your heart with execution.

It's not enough to get them in to the true upper echelon in the Association. Heck, the Spurs do the same thing with dramatically better bigs, and when they face a team with a truly good defense, rather than just a willing one, they aren't going to score enough unless Deron Williams does something spectacular. But in terms of simply knowing how to play the game and manage momentum, they get everything from their talent. And to think that Jerry Sloan has never won Coach of the Year...


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