Posts Tagged ‘Kyrylo Fesenko’

Jazz In Need Of A Miracle?

Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It’s a good thing there are a few days between games in this Lakers-Jazz series, per at least one man keeping an eye on things.

Gordon Monson of the Salt Lake Tribune has seen enough after two games, two tough wins for the home team.

He’s convinced the Jazz need more than the humans in the uniforms can provide:

It’s been a theme throughout the Jazz’s postseason, a kind of tent-revival, chapter-and-verse call for a little belief, a little faith in the face of untimely injuries, a short roster and long odds. Make that a lot of belief, a lot of faith. Somebody — was it the ’69 Mets? — once said that those two agents are precisely what precedes the miracle. Sometimes, they produce it.

Tuesday night at Staples Center was not one of those times.

The Jazz believed, and believed some more, they huffed and they puffed, and never quit, but, at the end of Game 2, there was only a double-barreled blast of disappointment and defeat, again, at the hands of the Lakers, 111-103.

Hallelujah went to hell.

Alongside Kyrylo Fesenko‘s game.

Ever notice how Mehmet Okur suddenly transforms into a much better player when he doesn’t play?

It was the eighth straight playoff loss for the Jazz here in L.A. in the last three postseasons. It was the 10th playoff loss overall through that span to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

So, how’s everybody doing now? Do the Jazz yet trust that they can beat the Lakers?

“I hope so,” said Deron Williams, “or else we’ll be going home early.”

They’re going home for a bit of hope in Game 3.

Williams said something before Game 2 that sounded even more ominous, that sounded more like concession than confidence, though he wasn’t necessarily intending it that way:

“The better team is going to win this series.”

We all know what that means.

The Lakers were the better team Tuesday night, just like they were Sunday afternoon, by just a few numerical breaths.

Gordon might be on to something.

The gap between the top and bottom in the Western Conference is razor-thin compared to what it is between the top and bottom in the East.

The Lakers keep leaving the door open (same as they did against the Thunder in the first round), but their opponents either can’t seem to take advantage of it or don’t have the tools to take advantage.

Maybe it is time for a higher power to go to work in someone’s favor … or maybe the Jazz just need a trip home for a couple of games.

We shall see!


Jazz To Play On Without Okur

Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Whatever the Jazz do in these playoffs, they’ll have to do it without Mehmet Okur.

He’s done for at least the next three to six months after rupturing his left Achilles in Game 1 of the Western Conference first round series between the Jazz and Nuggets Saturday night in Denver.



The Jazz were already up against it trying to upend the Nuggets without the aid of the home court advantage and without the services of defensive stopper Andrei Kirilenko (calf strain) during this postseason.

Okur’s injury all but seals the fate of a Jazz team that, for a time, appeared to be a legitimate contender in the West.

But not anymore.

Not without two of their most crucial pieces sidelined with injuries. As crippling as Okur’s injury is to the Jazz, Kirilenko’s absence might be even more devastating for the Jazz.

Carmelo Anthony feasted on the replacements in Game 1, pounding them for 42 points.

If Jerry Sloan‘s team has any chance in the series, and their hopes are fading with every injury update, it’ll be with Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer channeling their best Stockton-Malone routine from here on out.

But Okur’s injury seemed to deliver a blow to their hopes for making some noise in this series as well.

Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune has some context for Okur’s surgery and recovery, details:

“For it to end like this is horrible,” Carlos Boozer said of Okur’s season, adding, “He had tears in his eyes last night.”

Deron Williams said “we pretty much knew right away” that Okur had ruptured his Achilles. “It’s almost you wish like he would have sat down,” Williams added, “but he was out here playing with us and battling and competing.”

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan will attempt to regroup his team for tonight’s Game 2, in which he will start one of his two young centers — Kyrylo Fesenko or Kosta Koufos — in Okur’s absence. He spoke of a crushing injury like Okur’s as the “cold, hard facts of this business.”

“When somebody gets hurt, it’s kind of a sick feeling,” Sloan said, “but you’ve got to get over that from our standpoint and get ready to play basketball.”

I guarantee the entire Jazz nation has that same sick feeling!