Tag:Utah Jazz
Posted on: January 31, 2012 8:13 pm

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 7

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

Not the best of weeks for Dwight Howard and the Magic. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the seventh weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Atlanta Hawks at No. 9. Somehow, despite losing probably their best player, the Hawks aren't just keeping their head above water but soaring. They've won four of five games since the Al Horford injury. However, not exactly against marquee opponents -- New Orleans, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee. It's a little hard to tell if the Hawks are actually going to overcome Horford's injury or if they're just getting by as a result of a soft spot in the schedule. I tend to think it's the latter and as the season drags on, we'll see the Hawks are mediocre at best and not a top 10 NBA team. -- RY

2. Too Low: Orlando Magic at No. 20. Last week, I had a little fun at Matt's expense when he dropped the Magic after their ugly loss to the Celtics. In hindsight, he was correct. But, unfortunately, he made the same mistake again! The Magic have had by far their worst stretch of the season -- pointing fingers at each other during a 4-game losing streak -- but they're still 12-9 and they're still safely in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. By comparison, the Trail Blazers, who Orlando beat in Portland, are also 12-9, barely in the West playoffs, and ranked No. 11 in this week's Power Rankings. Where's the consistency? These guys shouldn't be below 15, despite how ugly things have gotten of late. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: Washington Wizards at No. 26. This one isn't a disaster but it's hard to really make a case that there are four worse teams than the 4-17 Wizards. Sacramento, for example, is 6-14 despite being in a 4-game losing streak. The Kings have three quality wins over the Lakers, Spurs, Pacers and a sort-of quality win over the Bucks. That's pretty bad for a team in the basement. Washington, meanwhile, had that one shocking, pretty fluky win over the Oklahoma City Thunder plus three wins against patsies (two against the Charlotte Bobcats, one against the Toronto Raptors). Their body of work just screams lower than No. 26. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Utah Jazz at No. 10. It's natural to just assume the Jazz are overachieving and will eventually come back to Earth. That's not a team built with any stars or big names, and yet in the toughest division in basketball, they're 12-7 and in the thick of the West. Their point differential and efficiency numbers aren't great. But they are winning consistently. Not that the Jazz should be higher than 10, but I think we're all quick to discount them for whatever reason. Much in the same way we all wanted to ignore last season's Nuggets, the Jazz could be for real. -- RY

5. Sure Thing: Miami Heat at No. 1. Sunday's showdown against the Chicago Bulls made it clear that these two teams, if healthy, are the clear, clear, clear favorites to repeat as Eastern Conference Finalists. That series will be a blood bath, too. Miami played very well at times but it was far from a flawless victory. With a few days to let it sink in, they're probably feeling pretty fortunate given Dwyane Wade's shooting struggles and LeBron James' predictable late-game free throw gaffes. The TV ratings for the potential Chicago vs. Miami East Finals are going to be absurd. -- BG

6. Wild Card:
Indiana Pacers at No. 8. It's not fair to say the Pacers aren't exceeding expectations and having a great season. They are. They just beat the Lakers, Magic and Bulls last week. But one thing that's unshakeable for me is their bad losses. For example, a loss Jan. 18 to the Kings and then a whipping by Orlando Jan. 24. The Pacers are a bit erratic with their play and while absolutely a good team, I'm not so sure they are in true contender territory, which is normally reserved for the top eight. They're good, but just how good? -- RY
Posted on: January 21, 2012 4:42 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 4:48 pm

NBA fines Favors $25K for ball toss ejection

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors lost his cool in a heated exchange during a Thursday night game against the Dallas Mavericks, and now it's going to cost him.

The NBA announced on Saturday that Favors has been fined $25,000 for throwing the basketball in frustration towards the Mavericks bench and into the stands, an act that earned him an immediate ejection from the game.

Favors' ball toss came after Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki slapped the ball out of his hands during a dead ball, an action which warranted a technical foul but was not called. Jazz guard Earl Watson retaliated soon after, slapping the ball out of Nowitzki's hands in a similar manner during a subsequent dead ball, and was issued a technical.

Shortly thereafter, with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter and the Jazz leading, 71-70, Favors was called for an offensive foul for setting a moving screen on Mavericks forward Lamar Odom. He receive the pass as he rolled, looked at the referee to see the call and then disgustedly threw the ball with an underhand toss towards the end of the Mavericks bench and into the stands. He was immediately issued two technical fouls, per the league's guidelines on that type of action, and was ejected.

The Mavericks went on to win, 94-91.

Here's video of Favors' ejection courtesy of YouTube user CPollnow7.

Posted on: January 20, 2012 7:39 pm

Report: Jazz dangling Devin Harris in trade talks

Posted by Ben Golliver devin-harris-slc

New city, same reality: Devin Harris in on the trade block.

ESPN.com reports that the Utah Jazz point guard, acquired in the 2011 deadline blockbuster that sent Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets, is being dangled in trade talks, with the Los Angeles Lakers as one possible suitor.
The Jazz have made it known that point guard Devin Harris is available via trade, according to front-office sources.

But you can safely assume that Utah won't struggle to find a taker before the March 15 trade deadline, given that Harris only turns 29 next month and has a very movable contract with only next season remaining at $8.5 million.

The Lakers would surely have interest, desperately needing an injection of speed in their backcourt, but the $8.2 million trade exception L.A. created by dealing Lamar Odom to Dallas isn't big enough to accommodate Harris' current $9.5 million salary.
Prior to getting traded to Utah, Harris, 28, was involved in trade rumors for the better part of his tenure in New Jersey. That's the life when you're a good but not great point guard that's not quite in tune with the development life cycle of the team around you. On the season, Harris is averaging 8.1 points and 4.6 assists as veteran reserve Earl Watson has stepped into a big minutes role.

The Jazz, at 9-5, are one of the surprise stories in the Western Conference. Loaded with young parts, they've taken advantage of their always excellent homecourt advantage to run out to a hot start. Given that they've played almost twice as many games at home (9) as on the road (5), there's a sense that the current record is a bit of fool's gold and it's quite possible they wind up as a lottery team when all is said and done.

Still, teams in that situation aren't usually eager to part with their starting point guard, even if he only plays 25.6 minutes a night. Any trade involving Harris is likely to come closer to the deadline and involve young pieces and/or picks and/or expiring contracts, the type of assets that would allow the not-yet-formed Jazz to continue developing with maximum flexibility. The Lakers, in particular, don't have much to offer in those departments, at least not without the help of a third team. 
Posted on: January 17, 2012 7:22 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 7:56 pm

Clippers PG Chris Paul (hamstring) out vs. Jazz

Posted by Ben Golliver
Los Angeles Clippers All-Star guard Chris Paul will not play in a Tuesday night game against the Utah Jazz due to a left hamstring strain, according to Jazz.com.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said that Paul has "no timetable" for a return at this point.

Paul suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of Saturday's 102-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Paul underwent an MRI on Sunday which revealed no major results. He was listed as day-to-day by the Clippers. 

The Jazz game marks the second game of the Clippers' first back-to-back-to-back of the season. The Clippers beat the New Jersey Nets on Monday night and will face the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. 

In Paul's absence, the Clippers are expected to use a starting backcourt of Chauncey Billups and Randy Foye with recent D-League call-up Courtney Fortson used sparingly off the bench. Reserve guard Mo Williams is expected to sit with a minor foot injury and second-year guard Eric Bledsoe is sidelined with a longer-term knee injury.

On the season, Paul, 26, is averaging 18.0 points, 8.4 assists and 2.8 steals per game in 37.3 minutes per game.
Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:55 pm

Report Card: Jazz keep rolling

Posted by Royce Young

Your nightly report card gives you a big picture look at what happened each night in the NBA. Grades are granted based on team or individual performances, and are graded on a curve for each element. Leave your own grades in the comments.

Utah Jazz

Ever so quietly the Utah Jazz have climbed to second in the rough Northwest Division and they haven't done it by beating up on average teams anymore. Sunday, the Jazz topped a rested Nuggets squad on the road and did it by simply outplaying Denver in the second half. The Jazz aren't constructed with big names or go-to players, but with guys like Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and the steady rise of Gordon Hayward, Utah isn't a team that's just going to be pushed over. With spots open at the back end of the West, it's time to start taking the Jazz seriously.

Greg Monroe

It was pretty obvious that Monroe had a serious amount of talent when the Pistons drafted him out of Georgetown. But the Pistons might have found a legit building block player. Detroit lost at home to the Warriors and are mostly terrible, but Monroe continues to be a bright spot. With 25 points and eight boards Sunday, Monroe becoming one of the East's best bigs.

Marcin Gortat

Got to give it up to the Polish Hammer for 24 points and 15 boards in a losing effort. He's been a little bit of a bright spot for the up-and-down Suns so far this season and while Phoenix isn't going anywhere and Gortat isn't going to be All-Star material any time soon, to have that kind of line against a guy like Tim Duncan is a nice achievement.

Danilo Gallinari

Sometimes I don't really get Gallo. He's clearly one of the Nuggets' top offensive weapons and yet he sometimes just appears totally content to become background noise in their offense. With his shooting ability and the way he can create matchup issues, he should not be just attempting six shots in a game. The 12 free throws were good, but Gallinari has to show a more consistent amount of assertiveness.

Detroit Pistons

They just aren't good. The Warriors walked in and picked up their first road win of the year at The Palace and the Pistons obviously were without many answers. That roster is such a complete mess of veteran players mixed with youth that I don't know what to make of it. It's so caught between that it's torturing. Just blow it apart, let the kids play and forget about it. You're losing anyway.
Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:59 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 6:12 am

Paul (hamstring) day to day, MRI results negative

Posted by Eye on Basketball staff

Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul is listed as day to day with a hamstring injury after an MRI Sunday revealed no major results. Officially the injury is being called a strained hamstring.

Paul suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of Saturday's 102-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The injury comes at a particularly inopportune time, with the Clippers embarking on a back-to-back-to-back with games Monday afternoon at New Jersey, Tuesday night at Utah before returning home Wednesday against the Mavericks.

The Clipppers started the season with four point guards: Paul, Chauncey Billups, Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe. They may be down to only Billups by next week. Williams (foot) sat out Saturday's game and Bledsoe (knee) is still 2-3 weeks away from returning.

Posted on: January 10, 2012 5:18 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:39 pm

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 4

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver


The 2011-2012 NBA season continues to skip along. Here's the fourth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Milwaukee Bucks at No. 20. The Bucks are one of those teams that you actually notice when they score. Because it doesn't happen with great regularity. Yet somehow despite a 2-6 record and five straight losses (without Andrew Bogut, mind you), the Bucks No. 20? Their schedule isn't overly difficult and their two wins are against the Wolves and Wizards. Not a whole lot to convince anyone that team is very good. -- RY 

2. Too Low: Houston Rockets at No. 27. The fourth worst team in the league? Really? Worse than the dysfunctional Kings, the raw Cavs and the frustrating Warriors? Yeah, they're 2-6 which is tied for last in the West, but they haven't had any easy road thus far. They've played multiple games without Kyle Lowry who is off to an All-Star caliber start and they're schedule has been brutal. Of their eight games, they've played seven against teams in the playoffs last season with the eighth being against the Clippers. The Rockets might be losing, but they haven't had a fair shake of the schedule quite yet. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 16. Sure, it's basketball aficionado sacrilege to talk mess about the Minnesota Timberwolves right now, what with their internationally-acclaimed rookie point guard impressing beyond all reasonable expectations and the young core finally starting to develop. There are still baseline standards to fulfill, though, and Minnesota remains in the Northwest Division basement, trailing the fourth place Denver Nuggets by 2.5 games already. Their 3-6 record includes losses to the dismal Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Utah Jazz at No. 18. Utah deserves to be where Minnesota was ranked, if not a touch higher, after slapping together a 4-game winning streak completely out of nowhere. The Jazz have been a perennial playoff team by exploiting their massive homecourt advantage to full effect, and they still haven't lost at Energy Solutions Arena this year, a promising sign even if they still lack a signature win. This team seemed destined for chaos and/or rebuilding after a 1-3 start; instead, they're back in the playoff picture, at least for now. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: New York Knicks at No. 14. The Knicks are right where they need to be. They've been frustratingly average. Even in beating Charlotte at home Monday, they flirted with disaster. There isn't a lot from the Knicks yet that show they're a real contender in the East. Tyson Chandler is nice, but do they honestly look that improved defensively? They have enough talent to win games and stay in the playoff hunt, but who would you take them to beat in a seven-game playoff series in the East? Would you even take them to beat the Sixers or Pacers right now? -- RY

6. Wild Card: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 12. Every other team in the NBA has played at least eight games. Some have already played 10. The Clippers, meanwhile, have played just six through Monday. How does that make sense? It doesn't, and it also gives us significantly less evidence to determine how legit the Clippers are with their division-leading 4-2 record. They grade out exceedingly well offensively and below-average -- but not terrible -- defensively, so there's a decent chance they can make a push towards perennial top-10 status assuming they can avoid injuries. Then again, their wins have come against Portland, who played incredibly flat, and three teams destined for the lottery. -- BG
Posted on: December 31, 2011 5:13 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 5:16 pm

Andrei Kirilenko to remain in Russia for season

Posted by Ben Golliverandrei-kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko, arguably the NBA's best remaining unsigned free agent, has taken himself off the market.

RT.com reports that Kirilenko will remain in Russia, where he is currently playing for powerhouse CSKA Moscow, rather than return to the NBA during the 2011-2012 season.
“During this month I considered different options, weighting out all pros and cons, and I came to the conclusion that I should finish this season with CSKA,” Andrey Kirilenko told CSKA’s official website. “We’ve developed great team chemistry, the real team in the first part of the season. It would be inappropriate to stop halfway. It would be unfair toward my teammates and, more importantly, toward fans. I know how many people count on me.”

“To play for CSKA is a great pleasure and fun, and I will do my best to win all the tournaments we are participating in. I am thankful to club’s management for patience in my difficult situation. Thank you very much to all the fans for their support. Come to our games to cheer for CSKA,” the 30 year-old added.
Kirilenko, 30, played 10 seasons for the Utah Jazz, posting career averages of 14.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.6 assists. Back in October, the versatile two-way player signed a three-year contract to play for CSKA Moscow, but the deal included an opt-out clause which would have allowed a return to the NBA.

A star on the Russian national team, Kirilenko was reportedly being pursued by the Sacramento Kings, among other teams, during the abbreviated preseason free agent period.

In November, Kirilenko endured a scary fall, suffering a concussion and breaking his nose when he slammed his head on the hardwood. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com