Saturday, February 21, 2009

Great article about Larry Miller by Phil Miller

Phil Miller used to cover the Jazz before moving to Minnesota to cover the Twins. I guess I'm not the only one who sees the similarities between the Jazz and Twins. Anyways it is another good perspective on the amazing life of LHM.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Larry H. Miller

I guess today's news wasn't a complete shock, since Larry had been undergoing severe health problems as of late. But I was under the impression that he was on the road back to good health after having his legs amputated. I don't know what to write, especially what to write that hasn't already been written by others in these past few hours. I'm happy he's free from the pain he surely must have been experiencing. I just feel a little empty inside. He has meant so much to the state of Utah. Few people have done as much as Mr. Miller did to improve Utah. He will be greatly missed. It really would be fantastic for the Jazz to win the title this year for Larry H. Miller. Make it happen Sloan!

More good luck for the Jazz

Some more positives for the Jazz that have happened over the past couple of days:

1. Amare Stoudamire's eye injury will keep him out for 8 weeks. In my mind, this guarantees a playoff spot for the Jazz. The Suns looked like they were going to have a big second half of the season comeback after scoring 282 points in 2 games, but this is a huge crippling blow to the Suns.

2. As for teams ahead of the Jazz, Manu Ginobili will be out for 3 weeks. The Jazz are currently 5 games behind the Spurs. I think the Spurs will survive, but the Jazz could jump to be just a couple games back from them.

3. Did Houston waive a white flag yesterday in trading their starting point guard to the Magic? Rafer Alston is gone, and while their backup point guard is better than most, the Rockets just lost their starting backcourt this week. The Jazz are only a game and a half behind Houston. They should pull ahead of them when all is said and done.

4. New Orleans got back Tyson Chandler after the Thunder declined the trade because Chandler didn't pass a physical. Well maybe he is somewhat hurt, but it has to be awkward going back to the Hornets. "So, no hard feelings, right Tyson?" The Jazz are only a game and a half behing the Hornets and they play them at home on Saturday.

5. The Jazz were the biggest winners in the trade deadline. No western conference playoff contender gained a valuable piece through a trade. No team will improve like the Jazz will as they get back 2 Olympians/all-stars in Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko.

6. The Jazz just beat the Lakers and the Celtics, the two best teams in the league, in one week, even without Carlos Boozer. When healthy, and when they want to, the Jazz can beat anybody.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finally some luck for the Jazz

Here are a few things that have happened over the past couple of days that have been good for the Jazz:

1. The Hornets trade away Tyson Chandler to the Thunder. They might make the playoffs but surely the Jazz will finish ahead of them in the seeding and if by chance they meet in the playoffs, the Jazz would dominate them.

2. By taking on Chandler's contract, the Thunder now don't have a ridiculous amount of money to throw at Paul Millsap this summer.

3. The Heat trade for Jermaine O'Neal and are definitely not able to sign Carlos Boozer this offseason (or Millsap for that matter.)

4. Tracy McGrady is out for the season because he needs surgery. Well, maybe this one isn't as big, he hasn't been that effective and it's not like he ever led Houston out of the 1st round anyways.

5. Andrei Kirilenko returned to the Jazz last night and played very well in limited action. He returned much sooner than I expected, for a while I feared he'd be gone until the playoffs rolled around.

6. Carlos Boozer had a shoot-around practice before last night's game and looked fine. He didn't favor a leg and did most of his patented moves at 70% speed. I wouldn't be surprised if he returns for the next game vs Boston on national television.

Things are looking up for the Jazz!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why the Twins should sign Crede

The Twins have been mentioned in connection with 3B Joe Crede. I'm hoping the Twins sign Crede and here is why. Of course the Twins would survive without him and they have Buscher and Harris who can play 3B. But Crede would give the Twins better defense at 3B and he would allow Harris to back-up Casilla and Punto should one of them slump or get hurt. Crede would also add a nice right-handed bat with home run power. Crede was an all-star last year, and he also hit 30 HR in '06. Sure he's been hurt but he's willing to take a one year deal, and so even if he is a bust, he wouldn't hurt the Twins, who have cash to burn. It sounds like if the Twins want Crede, they can have him, as their main competetor, the San Francisco Giants, have dropped out of the running.
Check out the potential lineup with Crede in it:
CF Span
2B Casilla
C Mauer
1B Morneau
3B Crede
LF Cuddyer
DH Kubel
RF Young
SS Harris

Make it happen Bill Smith.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jazz looking primed to go on a run

The Jazz are going into the all-star break on a high note, after defeating the Lakers. Now, they will get some much needed rest. Millsap stands to benefit the most from the time off. Hopefully all will heal completely from their sores and bruises. Currently, it sounds like Kirilenko will be back for the next game, while Boozer hopes to be back soon after that. Here is my prediction for the next 10 games:

Feb 17 vs Memphis Win
Feb 19 vs Boston Win
Feb 21 vs New Orleans Win
Feb 23 vs Atlanta Win
Feb 25 @ Minnesota Win
Feb 28 vs Sacramento Win
Mar 1 @ Golden State Win
Mar 4 vs Houston Win
Mar 6 vs Denver Win
Mar 8 @ Toronto Win

Yes, I am predicting a 10 game win streak. The Jazz play 7 of those at home, and the three road games are against weak teams (which often spells doom for the Jazz). Maybe I should have learned from my last prediction to set the bar low and be happy when they do better than expected. But the Jazz need to make a run, and it's feeling like that time is coming now. But these predictions are only on the condition that Millsap comes back from the break at full strength, that AK comes back vs Memphis, and that Boozer comes back by the 2nd or 3rd game.

Here is how I'd rank those games in terms of difficulty for the Jazz:
1. vs Boston (if they beat LA, why not Boston?)
2. vs Denver (lots of pressure for the Jazz to win if they want to catch up)
3. @ Golden State (they already dominated us at their place this year)
4. vs Houston
5. vs Atlanta
6. @ Toronto
7. vs New Orleans (we always beat them at home)
8. @ Minnesota (would be higher if they hadn't lost Jefferson)
9. vs Sacramento
10. vs Memphis

I'm feeling confident for a lot of reasons. Williams is playing insanely good, probably as good as he ever has played. Millsap was playing amazing before his injuries, and he couldn't heal because he kept playing through them. A week of rest should revitalize him. Getting AK back is huge, he already says he has no pain.

And getting Boozer back will be just as big, it will boost the Jazz confidence, and return everyone to their normal roles. Everyone will benefit from Boozer getting back in the starting lineup. Miles won't have as much pressure on him, Williams and Okur won't have to carry the team every night, Korver should get more open looks, Millsap can dominate against other teams benches and can play with Boozer, Williams gets his favorite target back, Brewer can drive inside more, etc.

The sleeping (or better said, injured) giant has awoken. The Jazz are back. And you gotta love it baby!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Karl Malone as TNT Studio Analysist

Some random thoughts after the Jazz trounced the Mavs at home, 115-87.

-Boozer is planning to return February 17 vs Memphis, the first game after the all-star break.

-Kirilenko is planning to return right after the all-star break as well.

-No matter what trades happen before the break, no rivals in the West will be getting 2 all-stars to join their team like the Jazz are in getting back Kirilenko and Boozer.

-If what Boozer says is true, then the Jazz only have 3 more games without him, tonight at Sacramento, Sunday at Golden State, and Wednesday against the Lakers.

-The Jazz could actually end up making a deep run into the playoffs. If other teams start suffering injuries like the Jazz have had, like if a Gasol, CP3, Duncan, Roy, etc. goes down while the Jazz stay healthy, I like our chances. That likely won't happen but apparently this season anything can happen.

-Williams is back. His crossover when he broke Terry's ankles was just sick. I'll take 34 points and 12 assists any night.

-I'd also like to see Korver start. He was fantastic tonight. I think he is less pressured to provide instant offense when he is with the starting 5 rather than the bench. He is also a great rebounder. CJ might be better coming off the bench. He wouldn't feel as scrutinized, or as easy of a target if the Jazz don't start off well. Make this change happen Jerry.

- Karl Malone wasn't too shabby in the TNT studio. I was hoping he woulnd't embarass himself and he didn't. Malone talked about Lamar Odom too much, but it was neat to see him speak of Stockton and Hornacek in reverent tones. He claimed he didn't play with a lot of great players. Ostertag didn't count? Anyways I wouldn't mind seeing Malone doing more of that stuff, or being more involved with the NBA.

- The Jazz played one of their best games of the season. Maybe they knew Malone was watching. Malone claims he helped bring Millsap to Utah. Millsap has much of Malones game, but his personality is more like Stockton's.

-Malone says the thing that impresses him about the Jazz this season is that they don't complain about the injuries they just keep on playing and trying their best. If the Jazz did somehow end up winning the title this season it would be a great story and example of not ever giving up and pressing forward no matter that happens.