The current Utah Jazz players are probably sitting back in their homes -- or on beaches somewhere -- miles removed from the rigors of a season in the NBA, or even the playoffs. But, several former Utah Jazz players are still fortunate enough to be able to play, and are still in the thick of things at the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
The first round of the playoffs is now complete as of Monday, May 5 -- and the second round is about to begin this week. However, not all former Jazz players who began the playoffs have been fortunate enough to survive the first round.
There have been some casualties, most notably the trifecta of former Jazzmen Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll -- whose Atlanta Hawks were bounced by the Indiana Pacers after a valiant effort by the No. 8 seed Hawks to pull off the upset fell just short. Devin Harris and his Dallas Mavericks also felt the seven-game pain of losing, dropping a lopsided decision to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, May 4.
On the flip side, you had the Brooklyn Nets featuring Deron Williams -- and Andrei Kirilenko in a limited role -- upending the No. 3 seed Toronto Raptors Sunday in another playoff series that went to seven games. And Derek Fisher helped his Oklahoma City Thunder win its playoff series over Memphis.
Rip City had its own unique flavor this week as well, with former Jazzmen Wesley Matthews and Mo Williams helping the Portland Trail Blazers to its first playoff series win since 2000. The Blazers also were taken to the brink by a game Houston Rockets team -- but former Weber State star Damian Lillard’s buzzer-beating three pointer sent Portland into the second round.
It was a great week for many former Utah Jazz players. But, here’s how they all did at the 2014 NBA Playoffs first round. While the list is dwindling, there are still many in the hunt for a title. Click on the photos for their stories.
Wesley Matthews, Portland Trail Blazers
Matthews was pivotal for Portland in this first round, giving the Blazers 39 minutes and 15 points per game during their 4-2 series win over Houston. With mighty San Antonio next up for Portland, the Blazers will need Matthews more than ever.
Mo Williams, Portland Trail Blazers
Mighty Mo played big for Portland throughout the Blazers first round series against Houston, averaging 25 minutes and about eight points in each contest. Though his shooting was down a bit from his regular season numbers, he was called on -- like Matthews -- to do the little things.
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
D-Will is trying to dispel rumors that he can’t play well in the postseason. That might have to do with the fact that he has some peer pressure from Paul Pierce and KG -- but it might also be that he’s trying harder. You can tell by his numbers (17 PPG in 36 minutes against Toronto in the first round) that he wants it; the question is, can he deliver against Miami in the second round?
Andrei Kirilenko, Brooklyn Nets
Newsflash…HOOTERS in Moscow is now open for business! OK, now that we have that important piece of Andrei’s wife’s business out of the way -- on to more important items, like his basketball career. On that, he is playing sparingly for the Nets, and averaged 10 minutes and one point per game in the first round. Great news all around!
Derek Fisher, Oklahoma City Thunder
Fisher is still around -- as are his Thunder, who finally started playing like they weren’t going to be shockingly eliminated roundabout Game 5 -- and limped to a 4-3 series win over Memphis. Fisher played 25 minutes in Game 7 -- and you’re likely to see him play in the second round against the L.A. Clippers as well.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
What goes up must come down, and Millsap -- who arose like a mighty oak early in this series -- fell from grace later. His minutes increased as the series against Indiana wore on. But, his numbers decreased as did his shooting -- which was flat-out awful in Games 6 & 7. The Hawks needed more from their All-Star -- but they didn’t get it and now Millsap and the Hawks are going home.
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks
Korver was another former Jazzman -- like Millsap -- who watched his numbers dwindle a bit in Game 6. He did better in Game 7, however, scoring 19 points in 45 minutes of play. But like the rest of the Hawks it wasn’t enough to help them advance to the second round, ending their Cinderella story in sad fashion.
DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks
Carroll started out brightly for Atlanta in this series. But, he ended the series fizzling out as he played over 35 minutes -- yet only scored four points per game in Games 6 & 7. Atlanta needed more from Carroll in this series, and it simply didn’t get enough.
Devin Harris, Dallas Mavericks
Harris battled until the bitter end in this series, taking what the Spurs would give him -- which was about nine points in 25 minutes of play per game. Games 6 & 7 were Harris’ best of the entire series -- and Game 7 was his showcase as he tried to will his team back into contention. In the end, it wasn’t enough and Harris’ Mavs were bounced from the playoffs.