by Nico Fiscella
While most of these historical posts discuss the common Utah Jazz greats like Karl Malone and John Stockton, today’s game was 37 years ago and did not have either player on the court. In the Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns, Adrian Dantley found the bottom of the rim fourteen times to push Utah over the Suns 105-95.
When the first quarter buzzer sounded across the arena, the Jazz were up by eight. Little did Phoenix know, Utah would not trail the remainder of the game. The Jazz found themselves heading into the locker room at half time with an eight point lead.
When comparing the team stats after the game, Utah dominated most categories.
The Jazz shot exactly 60 percent from the field. Phoenix made three less shots while attempting 25 more than Utah. Also, the Jazz were excellent at crashing the glass in this game. Dantley, Griffith, and Bailey all finished with double-digit rebounds. The Jazz finished with 51 rebounds. They rebounded 16 more times than the Suns.
While the Jazz were efficient from the field and dominated the paint, they also led the way in distributing the basketball. Utah had over 30 assists on the night. Ricky Green provided 16 of those for the Jazz.
While Utah did dominate throughout the game, their main issue on the night was turnovers. The Jazz finished with 26 turnovers on the evening, and Darrell Griffith’s seven turnovers in the game put him in an awkward group of players.
During the 1984-1985 playoffs, Griffith was one of 16 players to have over seven turnovers in a game. Michael Jordan and Michael Cooper were the only two to have more than one of these games that year. Jordan had three and Cooper had two.
Dantley finished with 36 points and 10 rebounds. The combination of Dantley and Bailey combined for 62 of Utah’s 105 points. Bailey filled the box score with 26 points and 13 rebounds.
For Phoenix, Walter Davis led the team with 21 points. Davis was one of three Phoenix players to finish in double-digit scoring. Mike Sanders (12) and Alvan Adams (16) also provided some scoring action off the bench.
Unfortunately, the Phoenix Suns ended up winning the series in six games. Utah was sent home early. While Utah fans were devastated seeing their season end, little did they know that they were two years away from a franchise changing draft pick. The number 13 overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft changed Jazz basketball forever. The Jazz selected a power forward out of Louisana Tech by the name of Karl Malone. The rest is history.
The Suns and Jazz are at the top of the Western Conference standings. It’s highly possible they could play each other at some point. While Utah could not get past the Suns in the semifinals in 1984, hopefully they can flip the script this year.
Featured image courtesy Deseret News