Emptying the Noggin – Jazz beat the Suns

• I opened the broadcast tonight talking about how each era of Jazz basketball has had their first moment. If we look back at the Frank Layden lead Jazz of Jazz 1.0 we would go to the wins in the Lakers series, if we move to the Stockton and Malone era it would be finally breaking through to the Western Conference Final is 91 and the Boozer and Deron era had the huge win in Houston in Game 7. Tonight was that moment for Jazz 4.0 much earlier than anyone other than Kevin O’Connor anticipated?

• I truly hope that in some way I have been able to convey to you who these guys are and what this means to each of them. Paul Millsap was near tears as he talked to Ben Bagley after the game and then Al Jefferson was the same way in the locker-room. Jamaal Tinsley and Josh Howard had been left on the NBA scrap heap. Earl Watson pushed his optimism onto this team. Devin Harris had to regain his mojo that was stolen from him in New Jersey and ripped away from him in Dallas. The list goes on and on, each has a story, each is worth rooting for. Tonight I took a moment to walk into the locker-room to shake hands and thanks and congratulate each one of them. I felt like I did that on behalf of you.

• The Jazz have something that has made them dominating. It is the big line-up and the combination of Favors, Millsap and Jefferson together. In the 2nd quarter with 9:00 left the suns were on a 8-0 run and the Jazz went to the big line-up. The Jazz closed the next 9:00 minutes on a 24-15 run. The first part of the run was with Kanter in and it was 8-0 and then Al Jefferson and Steve Nash came in for the final 6:43 and the Jazz outscored the Suns 16-15. Then with 10:00 left in the 4th quarter and the season in the balance the Jazz went back to it. Trailing 76-75 the Millsap, Favors and Jefferson lineup ran away with a 21-6 run to clinch the game with 1:00 left. Think about this in 18:00 mins of basketball the big lineup allowed 21 points. That comes out to 56 pts per 48.

• The final numbers tonight after the last minute of garbage time with the big line-up the Jazz outscored the Suns – 49 to 28 – for the season with Paul Millsap at the three the Jazz are 304 to 232 in 148 mins.

• Al Jefferson showed his value again with the game on the line he scored 8 straight points to seal the game and give the Jazz an offensive option late in the game. His performances v. Dallas, Orlando and tonight are playoff winning worthy. It was really neat to talk to Al after the game. You can question and nit pick a lot of things about Al but his heart, desire and intention are undeniable.

• How wonderful for the man who has more understanding of this franchise and what it means to have the night he had in Paul Millsap. This night was Paul’s vindication, he can be a power forward on a playoff team. He evidentially can be a small forward on a playoff team as well.

• I am nervous to write what I think about Derrick Favors but if you have read my stuff all year you already now what I think. He will be the next Jazz all-star. He will be an all-star numerous times and the Jazz will not be sliding into the playoff at the last moment as long as he is on the team. He is dominant. He is really close to Dwight Howard, he just may be more advanced offensively.

• In 04 Dwight was 6’10.25 and 240 lbs with 7’4.5 wingspan and 9’3.5 standing reach. In ’10 Favors was 6’10.25 and 245 lbs 7’4 wingspan and 9’2 standing reach. Favors no step vertical was 31.5 and max vert was 38.5 – Howard’s was 30.5 and 35.5 I will do more on this tomorrow but they are really close in their per minute performance as well.

• Favors was the best player on the floor. His defensive domination was crazy. The blow on Gortat ended Gortat’s night.

• Harris hit the three’s – Hayward, the 6’8 shooting guard, hit some shots but had 8 assists to tie a career high.

• The mantra all year was meaningful minutes, Hayward played 42, Favors put in 29, Burks got 11 and Kanter had 7. All of them held their own and all of those minutes are a world more valuable than anything Cousins is doing in Sac, Wall is doing in Washington etc.

• Tyrone Corbin !!!!!!!!

• Finally in February 2010 Kevin O’Connor traded the Jazz all-star with a specific plan in mind, he wanted a point guard that would allow the team to be competitive, he wanted length and athleticism (Favors) and he wanted one or two more draft picks. 14 months later the Jazz are back in the playoffs with insanely good pieces for the future. It is amazing foresight by O’Connor.

• PLAYOFFS !!!!!!