The Utah Jazz got their first win of the season Wednesday night. I know, I know, it’s just one win, right? For most teams, yes, but for the Jazz, this is more than just one win. This is for the 25- and 20-point blowout losses. This is all of the frustration from being winless.
I am not naive to the fact stated earlier, but still, for a moment let’s look at the positives of their first win.
On Wednesday, a no-name, D-league player was called up to play for a winless and frustrated Utah Jazz team. He was called to fill a hole so big that it made the Grand Canyon look like the water ditch in front of my grandma’s house. This hole was caused by Jamal Tinsley and John Lucas III, two point guards whose shooting averages and points per game resembled something straight out of a church league. They average a combined total of seven points per game and have been shooting a whopping 27 percent from the field. We won’t even mention their 3-point percentage, because it is almost nonexistent.
In five minutes, Diante Garrett, the former no-name player, scored more points and dished out more assists than those two point guards did in the last seven games. He continued to find the open player for easy scores. The Jazz played like they wanted the win.
When they got down by 16, the game suddenly changed, and they said, “No! We are not going down like this again.” Gordon Hayward showed up, along with favorites Jefferson, Williams and Kanter. On Wednesday night, I had never been more proud to be a Jazz fan.
It is easy to cheer for a team when it is on top, but you find out who people really are when the deck is stacked against you. Let’s look at the production of each player during Wednesday’s game and see why the Jazz won and made me extremely proud to be a Utah Jazz fan.
Gordon Hayward. In the first half, Hayward had only scored five points with a measly 36 percent shooting average. In the third quarter, the question “will the real Gordon Hayward please stand up?” was asked. And stand up he did. He finished with 27 points, scoring 22 of them in the second half. Gordon is earning the large pay he demanded by averaging 17 points a game and quickly proving that he is the leader of this team
Enes Kanter. Kantar proved Wednesday night why the Jazz drafted him over other point guards and did so without truly seeing him play. He had a double-double in the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The beast was unleashed, everyone cleared the room, and chaos ensued, leading the Jazz to a win.
Richard Jefferson. Jefferson has been struggling all season. On Wednesday, a light flipped on, and suddenly the Jefferson who played for the San Antonio spurs came alive. He scored 22 points on 7-11 shooting. This man deserves the game ball because he is the reason the Jazz won. He hit the big shots and made plays down the stretch when it mattered.
The Jazz will soon host the San Antonio Spurs, and although a win is extremely remote, the monkey has been lifted off our backs, and our home team can get back to doing what they do best: keeping the games close and giving the fans something exciting every night.
I, for one, will be cheering for the Jazz, not because they are the greatest team in the league, but because they are my team. My newfound respect for them requires that I cheer, holler and show them they will always be my team. Go, Jazz!