That officially means that the Utah Jazz are leading the Northwest Division, half a game ahead of both the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trailblazers.
This win streak began on Friday night at home, as the Jazz beat the Sacramento Kings, 127-113. Even though both teams forgot to bring their defense, it was somewhat like an All-Star game in the sense that everyone was just looking to score. You could see this especially in Carlos Boozer who scored thirteen consecutive baskets and had 33 points on the night. Kings forward Ron Artest had his hands full guarding Boozer, as he was frustrated into getting two technicals and was ejected in the fourth quarter.
The Kings were kept in the game mostly buy guard Kevin Martin, who scored 32 points on the night.
The Jazz had a bunch of players with good statlines including:
- Deron Williams, who had 16 points and 14 assists.
- Kyle Korver, who came off the bench to give 15 points on some outside shooting.
- Andrei Kirilenko, who played like the All-Star he was back in 2004, scoring 25 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks. That's an insane stat there.
They were helped out by the Rockets, as Yao Ming missed the game due to an injury and they surely missed his defense. The Rockets also seemed to be able to get nothing done offensively, shooting 36-82 from the field. Tracy McGrady led Houston with 21 points, but really hurt them as he shot 10-24 on the night.
For the Jazz, things were different. Ever since the first round of the playoffs last year, Boozer has made a reputation for himself in how much trouble he can cause when Yao has to defend him. Without his partner there, he had a really off game, scoring only 13 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
So who carried the offensive load for Utah? Williams, Kirilenko and Kover, who each scored 17. This was Korver's highest point total since he came to the Jazz. Deron had a game high 12 assists and Kirilenko played great defense throughout the goal.
This leads us to last night when the Jazz beat the Spurs, 97-91. How the hell did this happen? The game being in Utah had some effect on it, as the Jazz are killers at home.
The Spurs got 26 points from Tim Duncan and 29 from Manu Ginobli. But what they didn't get from Duncan was defense on Boozer. Carlos had 23 points and 7 rebounds, but what was so impressive was that he had 7 assists on the night. He was able to find an open man when he was in trouble, and hopefully he'll be able to contribute in that area more often.
Tony Parker was also held to 5 points and 3 assists. Williams (11 points and 14 assists) and Ronnie Brewer (8 points) kept him in check throughout the game. Kirilenko had another superb game, with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Even Mehmet Okur had some quality plays last night. Watch him, a big slow center, come out of a curl for a three pointer!
In a nutshell, we've learned that the Jazz win when they do the following:
- Boozer being a beast in the paint.
- Williams going out of his way to set up his teammates and playing good defense against opposing all-star point guards.
- Kirilenko being an option on offense.
- Korver and the rest of the bench coming up big.