Here is why I am convinced not even the Jazz think they are going to come back from 3-0 down to hand the Spurs a historic upset.
Look at what Utah big man Al Jefferson said to the San Antonio Express-News.
“I just think we’re playing against a team that is at its peak,” Jefferson said. “I don’t see nobody beating them.”
Who says that before they are eliminated?
If the Spurs can win it all is an interesting question, in the next round they will get a stiff test from either Chris Paul’s Clippers or the big front line of Memphis. Then there is the whole Oklahoma City (or Lakers) issue, not to mention Miami out of the East (sorry Boston).
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves, which is what Gregg Popovich is telling his charges right now. Not that the veterans of the Spurs need that much reminding.
The ball is in the Jazz’s court to do something, and that something is to start Derrick Favors and go with their big lineup featuring him, Jefferson and Paul Millsap. Multiple sources have reported the Jazz will go that way. It was a lineup, with Devin Harris at the point and Gordon Hayward at the two, that had success late in the season. In the playoffs, coach Tyron Corbin has gone to it more and more each game, clearly learning to trust it as his best five.
Not that it has helped all that much. Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated went into the numbers.
The Jefferson/Favors/Millsap trio has logged 28 minutes in this series, stretches in which the Spurs have won by 10 points, per NBA.com. That works out roughly to a 17-point margin over the full 48 minutes — a blowout. Of course, the Spurs have won the first three games by an average of 19 points, so a slightly less devastating rout would constitute progress for a badly overmatched Jazz team.
Basically, nothing the Jazz can do is going to win them this series. But they can win a game if the Spurs take their foot off the gas and the big lineup for the Jazz gets hot. It is their best lineup, it gets an odd collection that is their best players on the floor together.
It may be enough for one night. It will not be enough for the series. But Jazz fans may get to see a win and maybe the Spurs have to settle for a “gentleman’s sweep.”