Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The case of D-Will v Yatta, the game winners

the two greatest moments of the utah jazz's season have been sundiata gaines' three pointer to win the game against the cleveland cavaliers, and last night's game winning jump shot by deron williams against the oklahoma city thunder. both games left me totally keyed up after. so it got me thinking, which one was a greater moment? i know what my gut said, but i wanted to really break it down. so i will be judging both of them on several key criteria to really get this thing right. whichever one is the better in the majority of categories is the greatest jazz moment of the regular season( assuming that the jazz don't have a comparable moment in the final three games).

the player:
sundiata gaines is a rookie that was called up from the development league to fill the third string point guard role after the jazz traded eric maynor to the thunder. he had only had a couple of minutes total pro playing time prior to his being put in on his big play. he had never made a 3 pointer in his short pro career. he has only made 6 since, and i can remember each of them. so the fact that he made the big shot is made impressive by his being the least likely player on the team to take that shot. ok, maybe fesenko would have been less likely, but come on. and yes, that is a legitimate argument.

deron williams is only in his 4th year, which makes his accomplishments thus far incredible. he is one of the most dominant point guards in the league, with THE most wicked crossover in the game. he made the all star team for the first time this year, which was really over due. he is the hinge that the utah jazz pivot on. simply put d-will is the best thing to happen to the jazz since john stockton retired.

edge:d-will. while the surprising quality of gaines as the rookie is special, great players doing great things is what makes it great.

the opponent:
the cleveland cavaliers are the most dominant team in the nba this season. they have the most dominant player in lebron james. that's pretty much it.

the oklahoma city thunder have lebron's next rival after kobe bryant in kevin durant(i hate that he is in our division, so we are going to be seeing him 4 times a year for the foreseeable future). their young team is going to be a powerhouse for years to come. they are a little rough around the edges, but they can beat any team out there any given night.

edge:yatta. seeing both durant and lebron go off was amazing, but one team is a title contender now, while the other still has a bit to go.

the play:
yatta's play was really not a play. the jazz could have tied the game and sent it to overtime with a 2 point shot, but cavs shut down the pick and roll play. this left the jazz scrambling for anything, and the last/only option was gaines. he hit the shot falling down with a defender in his face. crazy. the buzzer sounded, the game was over. the moment was perfect.

d-will's play was actually a play. d-will curled around a screen set by boozer, the defense was slow rotating, and d-will popped up for a game winning 20 footer. perfect play, as the thunder were obviously expecting the ball to go to booz. the shot was clutch, especially since the long 2 is the least efficient statistical shot. d-will had missed a similar shot at the end of regulation. however, it wasn't quite the end of the game, there was 5 seconds left on the clock. this allowed the thunder to get the ball to durant for a last 3 point attempt. miles fouled him on the shot, but no call was made. this tainted the moment, but it doesn't change the fact that the jazz made the play.

edge:yatta. it was simply magical.

the importance:
the cavs game was against the cavs. it was a statement game against the top team. it was in the middle of the season though, so the actual importance of it was simply a win.

the thunder game was the 5th game left in the season. win this game, we end up in 2nd place in the western conference. lose, we are 5th. major implications for playoff seeding. it was also a statement game, as we were avoiding a sweep by a potential playoff opponent. of course, the next night we lost against houston, and ended up back in 5th anyway. that doesn't change the fact that it has major last minute implications in a very tight western conference race.

edge:d-will. major playoff implications against a division rival for the win.

sundiata was wearing throwback green. his shot was as he was falling down. he has way too many teeth in his smile. he looks like derek fisher, who looks like a ninja turtle. it was after kyle korver hit a behind the backboard shot to put them in that position. lebron.

d-will hit his career high with that shot(42 points). he was redeeming himself from his missed shot at the end of regulation. d-will carried the jazz the whole game. it was after his own three point shot put them in the position. the durantula (way better nickname than king james).

edge:d-will. it was really the whole game for deron. this shot, as amazing as it was, was only the exclamation point on one of the most powerful performances in his storied, short career. the fact that he won the game was as much the production of his first shot as his last. i was in awe, and totally justified in my love of deron williams. he is challenging john stockton as my favorite basketball player ever.

so d-will's shot is the greatest moment of the jazz season. but just so you don't forget, the greatest moment in jazz history was john stockton's game winning 3 to send the jazz to the nba finals. never forget:

1 comment:

  1. good break down of everything...i was impressed!! haha. and honestly that stockton video will never get old