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While Jazz and Magic Played, Gobert, Fournier Felt Terror in Paris

even fournier French nba

Friday the 13th is often a date that can elicit an aura of superstition, even fear .   As the Jazz and Magic played an NBA game in Orlando. two vastly divergent storylines played out.  The more important and transcendent story?                                          gobert slams even fournier French nba

The nightmare in Paris sending Frenchmen Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert to their knees.   Fournier somehow blocked out his pain and led Orlando to an easy win, scoring a game high 21 points.  Fournier grew up in a suburb of Paris and often speaks of his love for France and playing for the French National team  but he was so overcome Fournier refused to talk about the attacks after the game  but he used Twitter to articulate the unspeakable pain.

Gobert missed his 2nd straight game with an ankle injury so he had no distraction from the harsh reality back home.  “I wasn’t playing tonight, so I was following everything that was going on on Twitter and everything, my friends, my family,” Gobert said. “It’s terrible. I’m glad that my family is safe. My friends are safe. When you know something is going on and your family is not very far from it, it’s not something that happens every day. It’s very disturbing. It’s a big tragedy, and I hope we’re going to find out everything about it.”

The games’ storyline provided a welcome distraction from images and sounds  of CNN this Friday night in Orlando.   Two of the NBA’s three youngest teams met.  Quin Snyder’s Utah Jazz (2nd youngest team in NBA , 24.6 years old) looked like one of the oldest. Coach Snyder blamed fatigue from playing a third game in four nights. “We were gassed.”  Obviously the Jazz were in somewhat dire straits at tipoff.  Starters Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood both down with minor injuries.  Derek Favors sat down 4 minutes into the game with 2 fouls so it would’ve been easy for the Jazz to bail on this game but Coach Snyder was elated that the opposite happened. “Down 2 or 3 starters, we were gassed but we kept fighting.  When you look at the players that did come in and try to fight.  Jeff Withey  (8 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks) did a terrific job off the bench. It was an opportunity for other guys to step up, and some of those guys did, and that’s why it wasn’t a blowout.”

Orlando’s the 3rd youngest team (25.3) and they got busy disrespecting their elders right away. In their first 15 possessions the Jazz only hit 2 shots.  It was 19-5 Magic by then. Soon the Jazz were 22 points down and Snyder again cried fatigue.  ‘We were dead tonight.  We were on fumes,’. We just wanted to keep playing and whatever was going to happen was going to happen.’’

Among the lowlights Alec Burks, Quin Snyder saying “Look at AB out there trying, we just didn’t have a lot of juice.”   The Jazz 2nd leading scorer came in off back-to-back 24 point games on 16-29 shooting, Friday the 13th, Burks hit only 2 of the 13 shots he took. Where was Gordon? After disappearing late in Cleveland, the Jazz max money man led the Jazz with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assist. Hayward’s coast-to-coast take turned into the NBA’s Play of the Day.

Jazz try to avoid going “oh-fer” on this four game roadie when they play the 8-3 Hawks in Atlanta Sunday.  Among my most surprising takeaways from Friday night in Orlando, now 4-5 Jazz coach Snyder openly blaming his team’s heavy fatigue, a result of playing 3 games in four nights,  for their obviously weak effort. “We were dead tonight. Tonight was as tough a game as we’ve had all (a whopping 9 games) season. We were on fumes” Snyder’s definitely a “new wave coach” brutally honest but in this case offloading responsibility for not having his team ready to play a team the Jazz had owned in recent years.  I leave you with one question.  Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, hearing Jerry Sloan or Gregg Popovich blaming fatigue for a bad loss on the road?  J-Slo or Pop saying  “We were dead”?  jerry:opo ppic

“We were gassed?” No!  That’s because even if they were whipped and down a couple of players, coaches wouldn’t want to give their players an excuse for putting out an effort that got them blown out. It’s that ‘next man up’ mindset that the championship teams, more experienced teams get and live out. The man guiding the 2nd youngest team (2nd year Head Coach Quin Snyder)  in the league is himself the among the youngest head  coaches, Quin just turned 49 October 30th. I’d be surprised if Coach Snyder ever blamed the schedule and fatigue again, the Jazz are, after all, (along with Portland at 24.6) the NBA’s 3rd youngest team (behind Milwaukee and Philly).