There weren't very many reasons for Utah Jazz fans to cheer on Monday. Their team started the game by allowing the Houston Rockets to hit seven of their first 10 shots, then gave up 17-4 and 8-0 runs to fall behind by 20 in a second quarter that ended with a very big/very loud dunk by James Harden detonation, and abandoned all hope of a comeback by letting their red-clad guests shoot 12 for 18 from the floor in a 36-20 third quarter that gave Rockets coach Kevin McHale enough breathing room to yank his starters. Plus, Gordon Hayward missed the game with a strained right shoulder, so there wasn't even anyone super adorable to clap for. Total bummer.
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So maybe that's why, when Rockets reserve James Anderson drained a 3-pointer to give the Rockets a 50-point lead — and no, that's not a typo — at 125-75 late in the fourth quarter, the remaining members of the EnergySolutions Arena crowd threw their support behind the bad guys:
Or maybe they just wanted to hear what cheering sounded like after spending what the Salt Lake Tribune's Bill Oram pegged at the better part of 2 1/2 quarters booing the hometown team. Not that Jazz center Al Jefferson blamed them, according to Oram: "If I was them, I would have booed us, too. That’s what we love about our fans. They’re going to tell us the truth. We should have been booing ourselves."
Big Al's take made sense following a 125-80 loss, but — strange as it may sound — it could've been worse.
For one thing, while the 45-point defeat was the worst home defeat in Utah history, as Jazz radio man David Locke noted, it's only the fourth-worst loss since the Jazz came to Utah, behind 46-point losses to the Golden State Warriors in 1986 and the Los Angeles Lakers in 1986 and 2000. It's also 11 points clear of the worst loss in franchise history, which came back in 1979, when the Jazz were still in New Orleans and sensibly named.
Plus, five final-minute points by young wings Alec Burks and Kevin Murphy kept the final margin from hanging at 50, which would've earned the Jazz entry into a fairly ignominious club — only 33 teams since 1960 have lost a game by half-a-hundred or more, according to Basketball-Reference.com, with the last such beatdown sustained in 2011 by the post-"Decision" Cleveland Cavaliers at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers. (The Cavs nearly joined the list again last year, trailing by 50 heading into the fourth quarter of an April 2012 game against the Detroit Pistons, but that game ended as a relatively respectable 39-point drubbing.)
Avoiding the worst loss in Utah history and suffering one of the 34 worst losses in the last 53 years — now there's something to cheer about.
Hat-tip to ClutchFans.
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