NBA Basketball 2011: Utah Jazz's 10 Best Games of the 2011 NBA Season
The Utah Jazz had high hopes coming into this season
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Utah Jazz had high hopes heading into this NBA season. After being bounced from the playoffs in the second round the previous season, the Jazz made several off season moves that fans were excited about.
Unfortunately this season did not go as planned, and the Jazz ended with a losing record for just the second time in 28 years. For a team and for fans who were very excited coming into the season, this was a tough one to watch. At least the future is bright for the Jazz.
Even though it was a difficult season to watch, there were some great moments too.
This is a look back at the top 10 games this season.
10. Highest Scoring Game of the Season: Utah Jazz vs. New York Knicks 1/12/11
The highest scoring game of the season
The Jazz won a 131-125 shootout against Amare Stoudemire and the Knicks.
Deron Williams and CJ Miles both scored 24 to lead the Jazz to their highest scoring game of the season. Five other players scored in double figures. As a team, the Jazz had 31 assists.
The Knicks had four players score more than 20 points, but the Jazz were too much and took the home victory.
9. Tyrone Corbin's First Career Win: Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers 2/25/11
Tyrond Corbins first win as head coach
Following a stretch of 5 straight losses, the abrupt retirement of Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan, and the schocking trade of All-Star Deron William, the Jazz finally got a win for new Head Coach Tyrone Corbin.
Gordon Hayward returned home to play in Indiana for the first time as an NBA player. He scored only 2 points, but threw down a monster dunk that brought the crowd to it's feet. Al Jefferson led all scores with 30 points, and Paul Millsap added 23 points and 18 rebounds.
This game also marked the debut of newly acquired Jazz men Devin Harris and Derrick Favors who came to the Jazz in the trade for Deron Williams.
It was the only Jazz win in a 9 game stretch in the midst of all of the changes.
8. One of Jerry Sloan's Last Wins: Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets 2/4/11
Deron Williams returns to the line up and dominates
Deron Williams returns after missing several games due to injury. He and Al Jefferson both get double doubles and the Jazz beat their division rival on the road. Williams scored scored 26 points and dished out 12 assists, and Al Jefferson added 28 points.
The Jazz overcame 31 by Carmelo Anthony, and 28 by Nene to beat their division rival.
After the game, Jerry Sloan, talking about the play of Deron Williams, stated "It's not surprising. That's who he is. He's able to score for us, he defends, he does a little bit of everything. We're not as good without him, I think everybody knows that."
Who knew that both would not be with the team a few weeks later.
7. Last Second Tip: Utah Jazz vs. Toronto Raptors 3/9/11
Jazz use a good run at the end to steal the game
Two night's after getting embarrassed by Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks in New York, the Jazz fought back and won on an amazing tip by Al Jefferson.
Al Jefferson continued his inspired play by leading all scores with 34, and CJ Miles and Devin Harris added 23 each.
The Jazz played needed a 24-8 run to close the game, and won on a last second put back tip from Jefferson. CJ Miles played one of his better games this season and was instrumental in the comeback.
6. A Halloween Treat: Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 10/31/10
Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder October 31, 2011
The Jazz visited Oklahoma City on Halloween night and played a trick on the Thunder by blowing them out by a score of 120-99.
In the first win of the season, Paul Millsap put in 30 and added 16 rebounds. Four other players scored in double figures, including Andrei Kirilenko with 19.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook got their points, but the Jazz contained the rest of the team for the most part, and came away with a big victory.
Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said after the game, "We were one of the league leaders on defense last season, but we weren't very good tonight."
5. Big Comeback, Big Win: Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers 11/26/10
Deron Williams led the Jazz past the rival Lakers
Anytime the Jazz beat the Lakers, it is a highlight game of the season.
The Jazz found themselves down 19 and the second unit played well to get them back into the game.
Deron Williams scored 29 points and added 12 assists, and Al Jefferson had 20 of his own.
Kobe Bryant scored 31 and was affected by the Jazz physical play. After the game he said, "You could take the softest player in the league and put him on the Jazz and he's going to turn into a tough guy. That's just how Sloan teaches them."
It was a great win for a Jazz team that was in the middle of a 7 game winning streak.
4. Jazz Go out on Top: Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets 4/13/11
Gordon Hayward scores a career high 34
Playing for pride in their last game of the season, the Jazz sent the fans home happy. In a glimpse of what the future holds for the Jazz, Gordon Hayward went off for 34 and the short handed Jazz ended the season with a win, the second of two in a row.
Al Jefferson added a double double, and all 8 Jazz players who were available scored. It was a good ending to a very difficult season.
3. Jazz Lead from Tip to Buzzer: Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Hornets 4/11/11
Jazz pick up a good road win
The Jazz put together a great win on the road in the beginning of what turned out to be the first of two in a row for the Jazz to close the season.
For the only time this season, the Jazz led the game the entire way. They played well and avoided the late game collapse that has plagued them all year.
Overall, it was a balanced effort with four players scoring in double figures. They also got a little revenge from an earlier home game the Jazz lost on a last second shot from Emeka Okafor that sent the game to overtime.
2. Hayward Schools Kobe to Beat the Lakers: Utah Jazz vs. LA Lakers 4/5/11
Gordon Hayward leads the Jazz to a win
The Jazz finally picked up a win at the Staples Center against the Lakers. They broke a string of 17 straight losses in Los Angeles dating back to 2006.
This game was all about the Rookie Gordon Hayward. He scored a then career high 22 points and played good defense against Kobe Bryant. With the win, the Jazz ended a 7 game losing streak. Hayward's monster dunk on the Laker defense helped put him on the NBA map.
Kobe Bryant was very complimentary of a young Hayward by saying, "I'm very, very fond of him. He's a very skilled, all-around player. I think he's going to have a very bright future in this league. He reminds me of a more talented Jeff Hornacek. Jeff couldn't put the ball on the floor as well as he can."
The loss prevented the Lakers from winning 18 straight at home.
It was a great during a stretch where Jazz fans wondered if the team would win again before the end of the season.
1. Millsap, Millsap, and More Millsap: Utah Jazz vs. Miami Heat 11/9/10
Paul Millsap scores a career high to beat the Heat in Miami
The threesome, who many had thought would dominate the league, had been struggling to gain their chemistry. Despite their struggles, they ran the Jazz off the court in the first half and led by 19 at halftime.
The Jazz played a horrible first half but were able to rally back to tie the game and go into overtime.
The story of this game was Paul Millsap who erupted for a career high 46 and led the Jazz back to a victory in overtime. Prior to this game he had hit two career three pointers. On this night he hit three to key the comeback.
Dwayne Wade scored 39 point of his own, and LeBron James added a triple double, but it was not enough as the Jazz beat the Heat in what turned out to be the best Jazz victory of the season.
Do you agree? Did I miss a game? Where would you rate these games?
Leave comments and tell me what you think.