Monday, December 14, 2009

Free Jazz

In tribute to Ornette Coleman (who played on an album of Joe Henry's, whose new record will likely crack my End Of Year Top 10), here's some free Jazz- i.e. random, non-associated thoughts about the Jazz.

I hate to say it, but BOOZER IS A MONSTER. I have long derided his ability to have the least impressive 20pt/10reb games in the history of basketball, sneaking in bunches of points during inconsequential minutes, making little impact on the game. But, after a shaky start to the season and- if we're being honest here- a completely douchey offseason, he's coming through in a big way. Of course, you'd have to be stupid not to see the "Contract Year" and "Trade-ability" in his eyes, not to mention "Shove It, Fanbase" and "Do You Remember What I Did To Cleveland?". But, after so much open hostility on my part and a large part of Jazz fans, it had to be said: BOOZER IS A MONSTER.

MILSAP? The question mark is the operative part. This season, after Portland basically weaseled the Jazz into throwing money at Milsap (and look at the karma you get, Blazers, for your conniving ways), we knew it'd be a tough go. Especially with fewer minutes and the insecurity of knowing that you have to- in some ways- defer to The All Star/Olympian On His Way Out. I'm not saying this is a Steve Young/Joe Montana situation, but you've gotta feel for Milsap. I still love his energy and hustle, undauntedness and athleticism, not to mention fearless ability to get points/boards WHEN IT MATTERS. But, again we're being honest here, he's been pretty quiet this year. Last year, as an understudy thrust onto the main stage, he proved himself. So we stopped paying him understudy money, only to continue giving him understudy minutes. Can't blame the guy for being a little lost.

BEST HOCKEY TEAM IN THE NBA. That wretched 4th quarter in L.A. proved it. 3 great periods. And an historically hideous one. Watching the ORL and (second) LA games, it felt to me- even in W's- that their play became more tenative. Haters blame Sloan, but I don't see that. I see a team tightening up. And, mostly, it feels like D-Will sometimes hits the brakes (fatigue? coaching? nerves?). It sort of feels like the old adage about "not playing to win, rather playing NOT to lose" which is an epic recipe for losing.

WES MATTHEWS. The Jazz aren't the best draft team in the league, but- like all-time leader John Stockton- they've gotten some steals. Wes Matthews is the latest.

EXCUSES, EXCUSES. "Kobe was hurt." "Short-handed." "Blah blah blah." The media has no shortage of AP Stylebook-approved excuses for bigtime teams losing to the Jazz. But a W is a W. Orlando was up 18 and couldn't hold on. The Lakers got a clunker from an injured Kobe. Guess what, league? Coming from a team that's had more than its fair share of injuries over the past few years (Boozer, Williams, Okur, Kirilenko, Korver, CJ Miles and on and on), let me just quote Justin Timberlake (who was borrowing from about 18 gazillion other pop culture aphorisms): WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND.

B-RUSS. I'm torn. I was never a big Bryon Russell fan in the first place (my brother would have me shot with rocksalt for saying so), but this whole publicity thing has me divided. Part of me likes that he's calling out Jordan (not that Jordan is listening to the little buzzing mosquito). And part of me is really sad at how desperate and smalltime it all sounds. My least favorite Beach Boy Mike Love called out the Stones (among others) during his Rock n Roll Hall of Fame speech. And the Stones didn't so much as bat a bloodshot eye. I'm not sure if Jordan is Mike Love in this situation (the speech part? yes. the talent/legend part? no.), but it seems like it fits somehow. And, by the way, is Mike Love really Kevin Love's uncle? Please say no.

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