Feel Good Story…Utah Jazz? (Utah 127, Golden State 117–OT)
Derek Fisher’s wild and unbelievable ride in the NBA continues. Underrated defensive role player on the threepeat Lakers (his defense on A.I. made the Philly Finals series much shorter), that miracle shot in San Antonio, and now the amazing theater last night. Returning from his daughter’s emergency surgery in New York, he forced a key turnover on Baron Davis with under a minute left in regulation, and nailed the clutch 3 with a minute left in overtime to seal Game 2. He’s one of our favorite players (the only Laker we never hated) and we wish him all the best in his personal troubles.
We also can’t overlook fantastic performances by Deron Williams (17 pts & 14 assists), Andre Kirilenko (20 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 blocks), Okur and Boozer combining for 53 points and 31 rebounds. Baron Davis and Jason Richardson led the way for the Warriors with a combined 63 points. But the Warriors gave this game away. Three missed free throws and that huge turnover all in the last minute of regulation wasted a 5 point lead.
We have to admit we can’t feel much hatred for Utah because of how fantastic the basketball has been on both sides. Two teams that bring out in each other–it’s like the anti-San Antonio-Detroit. The Jazz seem to be the better team, with a great point guard (Williams), great interior presence (Boozer), a power forward who shoots 3s (Okur), a resurgent defensive monster (AK-47), excellent hustle (Millsap) and veteran leadership (Fisher). Plus their fan base is nearly as rabid as Golden State’s–think that MJ taking those titles away from them a decade ago drove them to even higher levels of madness. San Antonio and Phoenix better watch out if the Jazz advance (if the Warriors somehow come back and win 4 of 5, they’ll be out of gas for that series); they are not to be taken lightly.
That said, Friday night is do-or-die. Just let this series live. We miss watching fun basketball.
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