Rocky Mountain Revue: Day 1
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The Sixers got off to an early start, taking a 12-0 lead capped off by a Louis Amundson dunk. The Spurs defense was really lacking, which allowed the Sixers to get many uncontested shots in the paint.
The Sixers stifling defense caused the spurs a lot of problems in the first quarter, and it caused San Antonio to turn it over on six straight possessions, and the Sixers continually deflected the ball out of bounds.
The Sixers built a 20-point lead part way through the first quarter and would maintain it for most the quarter, even increasing it before the Spurs finally got some offense going. After the first quarter the Spurs trailed 32-14.
Offensively for the Sixers Louis Williams and Amundson caused havoc, Williams was able to get inside and even hit shots from the outside, while Amundson dominated Viktor Sankidze inside. Sankidzeís poor defense allowed Amundson to get a couple of dunks. Sankidze also fouled Amundson a couple of times trying to prevent dunks. Sankidze continually would switch leaving his man open.
Early in the second quarter the Sixers built up a 25-point lead, but turnovers allowed the Spurs to cut it to 18. Herbert Hill gave the Sixers a scoring boost in the quarter, he was able to knock down some jumpers which increased the lead. C.J. Watson did a nice job of running the offense for the Spurs, but the rest of his teammates didnít do their job to get open. Everyone for the Spurs would stand outside waiting to launch up a three pointer. Louis Williams would leave the game and not comeback
Thaddeus Young was fantastic, heís a real hustler who was able to create secondary opportunities for himself and his teammates. Stupid fouls plagued the Spurs, fortunately for the Spurs the Sixers missed many of the extra free throws they were awarded. The Sixers lead by as many as thirty in the second. The Spurs offense found a little groove late but for the most part was stagnant all game long. Viktor Sankidze did have one of the nicest plays of the half when he dunked back a miss. After the end of the first half the sixers lead by 31.
The early second half was much the same as the first, the Sixers getting whatever they wanted offensively and the Spurs just not even trying. Jason Smith was getting a lot of oohs and awes from the crowd with his hustle which he rightfully deserved but for all his hard work the Spurs usually ended up with the ball.
Midway through the third the Spurs began to make a run, this run had more to do with the Sixers struggling to run their offense than anything the Spurs were doing. Viktor Sankidze showed he can do one thing very well, which is dunk.
The Spurs continued their run into the end of the quarter. Philadelphias offense completely disappeared while the Spurs found theirs. Sankidze was much better in the third quarter than in previous quarters, though his defense is still weak and he camps out on the perimeter. The main reason for the Spurs cutting into the lead was the Spurs got a lot of shots inside, and got to the free throw line. After the end of three the Spurs had cut a once 35 point lead down to 20.
The 4th quarter began with the teams trading baskets for the first few minutes, but the Spurs continued to chip away at the Sixers lead, cutting it to 13 at one point early in the 4th. Herbert Hill continued his domination down low, he out muscled a lot of guys to get easy baskets, but ultimately it was lack of executing which was costing the Sixers.
The remainder of the game was an excruciating headache to watch, neither team did a very good job controlling the ball and it was just overall sloppy play. The Sixers would win the game 91-75.
Thaddeus Young: He was very exciting to watch, kind of a jack of all trades type player. Heís very athletic but needs to work on his shot selections.
Louis Amundson: he was a monster inside, grabbing boards, and scoring down low. He is an abysmal free throw shooter, so bad that even Shaq would laugh.
Herbert Hill: Really played his heart out today, doing everything he could to help his team. He does need to stop playing defense with his hands so much, and it landed him in foul trouble today.
Marcus Williams: He needs to work on his shot selection and his overall basketball IQ.
C.J. Watson: Heís very good at running the offense, and heís great at slashing to the basket. Heís a Smart player to boot.
Viktor Sankidze: he did have 15 points but he wasnít all that impressive. He stands around on offense and just want to be able to shoot from the outside.
This game started off sloppy, with a lot of turnovers and a lot of fouls. Ronnie Brewer caught an allyoop from Dee Brown to get the Jazz on the board which really got the fans going. But the early part of the game belonged to Morris Almond who hit a nice jump shot, than showed he has some post moves with a fade away jumper. Acie Law had some issues running a screen and role, which lead to two consecutive turnovers which lead to a Brown lay up and an Araujo dunk. Araujo was the story of the first quarter, he had eight points and played hard D. but he did have a problem in that he continually found himself with the ball outside the three point line and not being able to do anything with it. The Jazz took the lead at the end of the first after a Carl Elliot jump shot.
The second quarter begun sluggishly as both teams turned the ball over a lot. Kyrylo Fesenko had a few nice blocks, but he looked lost on offense. He also tried to block everything, much in the way Andrei Kirilenko use to, if he would only try blocking those shots which he can, heíd be a lot more effective.
Carl Elliot struggled to run the offense for the Jazz, once he went out the Jazz began a mini run, with Lojeski hitting a jump shot, than Paul Millsap drilling one. Acie Law continued struggling with the pick and pop in the second quarter, which cost the Hawks on a few possessions. Mario West was really hustling out there for the Hawks, he lacks in his offensive game but showed heís good defensively and an overall hard-nosed player who can hit free throws.
The Hawks scored on a lot of broken players, a number of times the Jazz would simply screw up and the Hawks would take advantage of it. The Hawks defense also caused the Jazz problems, Utah wasnít able to get into their offense and usually a big man would be outside with the ball. Jarrius Jackson would hit a shot at the buzzer to tie it at 33 at the half.
The second half begun sluggish just like the first half, both teams turned it over on their first possessions. Utah however did find some offense, adding a pair of free throws from Millsap, and a jump shot from Morris Almond.
Paul Millsap would take over in the middle of the 3rd, adding six pointís three boards and forcing a turn over to give the Jazz a seven-point lead. Millsap also played good defense which frustrated Sheldon Williams. Sheldon Williams struggled throughout the game, he didnít seem strong enough to guard Araujo or Millsap and he wouldnít ever take it right at them.
Despite leading by as many as seven, the Jazz would find themselves down by one with under a minute left in the third. This was because the Jazz allowed the Hawks to get inside for many lay ups. Utah would regain the lead on a pair of free throws and take a one point lead into the 4th.
The Hawks would score first in the 4th, and would eventually build up a three-point lead. Utahs biggest problem was indecisiveness with the ball, this was especially apparent with Araujo, as he had to throw up a bad shot against the shot clock. Atlanta did a very good job of not allowing the Jazz to get the ball inside, but Morris Almond was able to knock down a few open jump shots creating a lot more space for the Jazz to operate.
After the Hawks built up a five-point lead and looked to be running with the game, Matt Lojeski knocked down a long three to bring the Jazz to within two. Which was followed by a both Millsap and Clark getting lay-ups, which would give the jazz the lead. With two minutes left Acie Law knocked down a shot to tie the game.
The Jazz made a lot of errors within a minute but kept getting the lose ball. Utah would take the lead on a give and go between Millsap and Lojeski with around 30 seconds to go.
Atlanta would get the ball with 11 seconds, and goto Sheldon Williams who made the lay up, and was fouled by Paul Millsap, he hit the free throw giving the Hawks a 63-62 lead with six seconds left. Millsap would redeem himself however, grabbing a missed Almond shot putting it up and in and getting fouled. He would miss the free throw but it gave the Jazz a 64-63 win.
Sheldon Williams: he really needs to work on his game, he got abused by Araujo and the much smaller Paul Millsap all night. He is good offensively around the basket but can get pushed out of his comfort zone.
Acie Law IV: The Hawks will really need him to start making smarter decisions on the floor, he really struggled with screen and rolls which resulted in Hawks turnovers. He also needs to select his shots better.
Al Horford: He quietly dominate the game for the Hawks. He lead all scorers with 18 points but it never seemed like he was doing very much offensively. He does have a big frame and is a very smart player.
Mario West: He didnít look for his own shot, but was able to create some opportunities for himself offensively with his defense. Heís not the most talented player but he is a banger and plays with heart.
Ronnie Brewer: He struggled, it was likely his hammy which caused him to leave the game in the third. He did catch a very nice ally oop from Dee Brown to start the game.
Paul Millsap: He had a very normal game by his standards, 12 points and 9 boards. He did get the game winning bucket.
Rafael Araujo: after his domination in the first quarter he didnít do much else. He needs to work on his hands because as it stands now he has butter fingers. He also must find some way to not get caught up top with the ball, because when he does the offense comes to a standstill.
Dee Brown: Plagued by foul trouble, but was able to run the offense decently.
Morris Almond: He is a shooter, but it looked as if he rushed a few shots.
Matt Lojeski: a good shooter but lacks defensive tenacity, and makes a lot of mental mistakes
Kyrylo Fesenko: Has potential, but is definitely a project. I think he may best be served by playing another couple of seasons in Europe before coming to the Jazz.