After last night’s entertaining 116-112 loss to Utah last night, there seems to be a general consensus around the interwebs that this is going to be another entertainingly long series. Now, this might be true, as the teams seemed pretty even last night, but there were some worrisome developments:
1. No Pretty Boys: The Jazz players are just as ugly as the Warriors. We’re not up against the groomed mustaches of Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse. Deron Williams has some weird, toupee-like thing on his head. Matt Harpring looks like he was a fullback on the 1973 Notre Dame football squad. And Mehmet Okur looks like a sailor.
2. Carlos Boozer: Dominated the glass yet still had an off-game offensively, shooting just 6 for 15. He’s going to top 25 points soon enough, and when he does dominate the offensive end, how will that affect the game? The man is a whale. A whale that is on land and sweats a lot.
3. The Point Guard Matchup Is Even: Deron Williams outplayed Baron Davis, who didn’t seem to be at full speed. A big reason that the Warriors could push the Mavs into chaos was the Dallas’ dearth of a point guard. Last night, Williams controlled the game, running with the W’s at his whims and with ease. And Baron couldn’t bully him at all. As the series progresses, who’s going to look fresher: the vet with the tweaked knee and partially-torn hamstring or the young kid who’s knocking on the upper echelon of point guards?
4. Rebounding: The Jazz were expected to win the battle of the boards, but by this margin (+20)? Consider this stat: the Jazz had 20 offensive rebounds, while the Warriors only had 22 defensive rebounds. Will Nellie continue to absorb the beating on the glass or will he pull an Avery Johnson and ditch the scheme to adjust to the other team?
5. Jerry Sloan Is Death: If the grim reaper revealed his face, would anyone be surprised if he looked like Sloan? Jokes aside, he knows what he’s doing. Whereas Dallas went small to matchup with the Dubs, the Jazz didn’t change a thing, going with four big guys and one guard for most of the game. Sloan’s easily one of the best coaches ever, and it’s going to be interesting to see the coaches’ chess games.
6. Kirilenko & Harpring Will Do The Bullying Around Here, Thanks: Jason Richardson and Stephen Jackson both shot well under 50%, thanks to great defense by the Jazz forwards. Kirilenko’s length took the W’s by surprise, as he had five first-half blocks (most coming from the weak side), and Harpring’s meathead frame is rock on the block.
7. Utah Is Very, Very Good At Home: Just like GSW, the Jazz haven’t lost at home in the playoffs yet, and they have the home-court advantage. The W’s were a terrible, terrible, terrible road team in the regular season (remember that?), and the Jazz were/are a great team at home (31-10 reg. season, 3rd best in the NBA). The biggest win in the Dallas series may have been stealing Game One, because that negated the Mavs’ home court advantage. That won’t happen here without a Game Two victory.