SAN ANTONIO – For all those years and more than a thousand games under Jerry Sloan, the Jazz were the Jazz. Sure, they watched video and analyzed stats and scouted opponents.
But at the end of every day, the Jazz were the Jazz. They played at their pace, played their style, played their game. Come beat us, they said. We’ll do what we do.
Part of the trouble with the Jazz in this matchup with the Spurs is that they have not been able to establish the identity that helped them close the season with a rush and get into the playoffs. Utah has not been able to pound the ball inside to their bigger, bulkier, supposedly tougher front line.
Near-rookie coach Tyrone Corbin seems unsure of himself about when to go big and as a result he’s allowing Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to dictate the lineups and the pace of play. It’s been the Spurs who are getting the ball inside and doing damage close to the basket.
If the Jazz are going to have any chance with the series shifting to Salt Lake City, they’ll have to get center Al Jefferson involved in the low post. He shot just 5-for-15 in Game 2. He made 8 of 16 shots in Game 1, but even then did not have a damaging effect.
“They’re getting him off his sweet spots,” said Jazz point guard Devin Harris, “sending double teams from different areas where he’s not used to seeing them. We just have to watch a little film and adjust accordingly.”
Jefferson maintains it’s possible.
“You can’t say we don’t have any confidence,” he said. “We’re here for a reason. They did what they’re supposed to do on their home floor. We’ll go home and have confidence right there.”
But only if the Jazz remember who they are.