According to STATS
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
By LYNN DeBRUIN
AP Sports Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Al Jefferson waited seven years for this. Yet instead of experiencing playoff excitement, the Utah Jazz center has been part of two embarrassing losses with a team he acknowledged was "unraveling" before his eyes against the San Antonio Spurs.
Now down 0-2 in their first-round Western Conference series, the Jazz need to turn things around in a big way with Game 3 set for Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
That means more production from their bigs.
Jefferson, for one, is pushing for more minutes for Utah's big lineup that entails bringing second-year pro Derrick Favors in at power forward and moving Paul Millsap to small forward.
"I think the big lineup could hurt them if we get into it earlier in the game instead of doing it when we're already down," Jefferson said Friday.
Favors is all for it.
"I'm ready for anything," the 6-foot-10 forward said. "If (coach) gives me minutes, I'm ready for it."
The Jazz have lost two games by a combined 46 points, yet when Favors is on the floor, Utah has outscored the Spurs by six points.
When he left Wednesday's game in the second quarter, the Jazz were down just five only to see San Antonio close out the half on a 22-2 run.
Granted, the run also coincided with the return of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan.
"That run could have happened if I was still in the game," Favors said.
But the athletic, energetic Favors wants the challenge.
When he looks across the floor at Duncan, he isn't intimidated but motivated.
"What he's accomplished, that's what I want to accomplish - whether it's MVP, championships, All-Star (teams)," said Favors, who is averaging 8.5 rebounds and eight points in 23.5 minutes in his first two career postseason games.
Favors is not cocky enough to believe he's there yet. But he's confident he can get there.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin acknowledged he needs to get Favors on the floor more.
"He's played well the minutes he's played," Corbin said.
"If the big lineup is the answer or him at 4 and playing smaller, we've got to see," Corbin said. "We've got to make sure we're giving ourselves chances to win and we need everybody to play better, and with him on the floor, we are better."
Jefferson certainly hasn't played up to his Western Conference player of the week award he won in mid-April when he posted three double-doubles and averaged 20 points, a league-high 15.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 blocks during a 3-0 Jazz run.
In two postseason losses, he is averaging 13 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 assists in 31 minutes. He has made 13 of 31 shots.
"I know I can be better than what I've been," said Jefferson, in the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season in 2005. "But I'm just a little more frustrated, too, with everything that's been going on and the way we've been playing and the way things are kind of unraveling as a team.
"But we've been through it before, many times this season. We just got to get it together as a team because no one man can do it. We don't have any superstars."
Jefferson is quick to give Duncan credit for keeping him off his spot, and sometimes even preventing passes from going inside to him.
Corbin said the Jazz also need to execute better, and that means setting better screens, making better passes and getting the ball deeper in to Jefferson.
Jefferson said he needs to do a better job of holding his position against the physical Duncan.
"I'm just going to stand my spot, let him do all the fighting and tell my teammates to give me the ball," Jefferson said.
Despite using the word "unraveling," Jefferson insisted the team chemistry that he raved about all year remains intact.
"It's been a roller coaster ride all year," he said. "We've been through it and always find our way to bounce back. I think we got one more bounce back in us."
The Spurs expect as much.
San Antonio center Boris Diaw knows Salt Lake City is a tough place to play.
"We know the third game will be the hardest in the series," Diaw said.
Corbin, who learned from Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan, said Sloan relished these situations.
"Your back is up against wall," he said. "Who's going to continue to fight? That's what you want to see in these situations. It's easy to fold your tent and go home and say, `Oh, it's too much to do.' But fighters fight, competitors compete. Guys that want to quit will quit."
Naturally we can expect the Jazz to do some tweak on their line up and try to get MORE physical is you can imagine!!! And you can see how they will play very hard at their home.
However there is nothing they will do that could slow down our Spurs!!! This time the Jazz loss could be close but the Jazz will be convinced after Saturday that they have zero hope to win any game vs this Spurs team in this PO!!
It's all about keeping energy level very high all game long despite the distractions from the fans and the loud arena~
I expect the Spurs winning game 3 in Utah Saturday night and then sticking that Fork in those Jazz on game 4 to complete the sweep operation successfully!~
Go Spurs Go!
Keep Pounding on that Rock Baby!
Last edited by spurscrazed; 05-04-12 at 11:03 PM.
Utah plays better at home but no well enough to win....
“I think he’s going to be a star. And as time goes on, he’ll be the face of the Spurs, I think.” ---- Coach Pop on Leonard
Jazz shootaround — Hayward says Utah will fight for its life in Game 3 against Spurs
Notes following Jazz shootaround Saturday morning at EnergySolutions Arena.
Utah's expected to start Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, Josh Howard, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson against San Antonio in Game 3. All Jazz players except Earl Watson and C.J. Miles are active.
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said he might use a big lineup featuring Millsap, Derrick Favors and Jefferson earlier in Game 3. However, Corbin again said he doesn't like the overall matchup with the Spurs, since San Antonio's able to space the floor with high-percentage 3-point shooters.
Watson attended shootaround. He's still on crutches but he's been around the team when possible.
Jefferson used Hayward as a body shield while Corbin was being interviewed. While a smiling Hayward walked in front of an obscured Jefferson, the media continued to talking to Corbin as Utah's center snuck away.
"We've got to just fight for our lives out there tonight," Hayward said. "We don't want to go down 3-0."
Corbin on his team's mentality during practice Friday and shootaround Saturday: It was good. The guys understand where we are and how we have to get better, how we have to play better. We're down two games but it's not the end of the world and we've got an opportunity to get one here on our home floor tonight. We know we have to play better in order to be successful doing that.
Difficulty defending the Spurs: They have the three-headed monster. They have the post game in [Tim] Duncan. They have the penetrating game in [Tony] Parker. And they have perimeter shooting in the guys they have on the perimeter and they all can shoot it and they spread the floor to the 3-point line. You've got to pick your poison at times. You would hope you could stop all three. But in order to stop one you've got to give up something, and they've been taking advantage of all three.
Reluctant to use big lineup against Spurs: At times it's good for us, at times it's not. The way they space the floor, the rotations are a little longer and you have two 4 men; two guys that are used to helping in the lane and they spread the floor, so the rotations are even more because you have two guys going to help. … It's a hard thing to do — once you're used to going to help — to stay home. … But it's been effective for us at times during the year and we need to use it.
Keep Pounding on that Rock Baby!
I am thinking we get a heavy dose of the Spurs' "nonexistant" defense and something like a 96 to 87, or 102 to 90 win for the Silver and Black. Almost think they may just focus on the 90 point mark, if only because I, myself, do not see anyone holding the Spurs much under 100, much less under 90.
The really high shooting percentages the Spurs have allowed have this season have almost always been associated with points off turnovers, fast breaks (where they failed to box out or get back defensively), or from second chance points also resulting from poor rebounding. So far they have managed to hang onto the ball and hold their own the boards. (Both ends--the rebounding disparity, or apparent one, relates to the difference in offensive rebounding opportunities). Against the Jazz, the Spurs have cut down turnovers and limited second chance opportunities, as well as having taken advantage of their own opportunities to get out and run.
I'm expecting a very aggressive Al Jefferson tonite with a lot of calls going his way and possibly drawing a lot of fouls on Spurs bigs. Also Derek Favors is likely to see increased minutes as they were +5 when he was in the line up. The aggression from all players is likely to lower the Spurs shooting percentage and slow the game pace. Whether that will be enough to beat the Spurs I don't know. No one get hurt please.
@utahjazz 2 hours ago
Spurs Coach Popovich on ESA (Energy Solution Arena)crowd - "I wish they were cheering for us cause they're really loud. They do a great job here."
Keep Pounding on that Rock Baby!
get it? Jazz hands???
NO D, NO RING!!!!
With 26 points on 4 of 4 shots from distance in only 20 minutes of PT. Efficient eviceration.
Wolves' fan: ginobili vs. the wolves is like he's just kind of laughing to himself all game...kind of like he thinks it's cute that they're trying to play basketball.
Great win for the Spurs!
Game 2 was a Devastating loss for Utah and killed them.
They recovered at home and played loose a good first half. But Spurs had them trapped and suffocated them at the second half.
Spurs played like a TEAM in the second half and dropped a HUGE Hammer on the Jazz.
Manu started every momentum in his pass to Bonner at the end of the first half. Bonner 3 was the Turning Point as Sean mentioned!
Tony Parker went off at the fourth and they could not stop him. TP was too much for them to handle as he picked the perfect time to drop those daggers!!!!
Those Jazz already gave it all they got in the first half but hey they are young and are not experienced enough to last four quarters. They just quit as soon as they saw the Spurs being super aggressive at the second half. Good thing Spurs kept all their weapons and daggers to the fourth!!!!!
Notice how Harris gave credit to the Spurs they played very good at the after game conference interview. Barkley picked up on that and said I would have just said we will play hard on Monday and come back....
Tim Duncan played an outstanding game defensively and offensively.
Tiago Splitter was GREAT! I am so glad we had him there...
SJAXON was HUGE in that second half. Pop had him there at the right time to drop some bomb 3's and defend them well.
Diaw played solid and I am so glad we have him.
Leonard was solid on defense.
Green was a very special player in that game and he was fearless! Give him a lot of credit for what he did to affect the game offensively and defensively!!! Hope he continue to be as aggressive and solid.
Despite our bigs being in foul trouble, out bench was huge key to bring us back into the game so DEPTH is key here.
Spurs should now finish those Jazz come Monday and relax waiting on the outcome of Clippers - Grizzlies series.
Bring the Brooms.
And stick a fork in dos Jazz at their home!!
Go Spurs Go!
Keep Pounding on that Rock Baby!
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