Jazz center Jefferson is defended by Spurs center Duncan, forward Leonard and guard Parker during their NBA Western Conference quarter-final playoff game in San Antonio

Can Jazz come back on Spurs? They will go big to try.

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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.”

PBT Podcast: Derek Fisher fired, plus your trade questions from Twitter

Derek Fisher
Associated Press
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Derek Fisher is out as coach of the New York Knicks.

In this latest podcast, NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman discuss the odd timing of that move — we expect another shoe to drop as to why. It’s not that Fisher was a great coach, but replacing him with Kurt Rambis mid-season is not an upgrade. And Luke Walton isn’t available until this summer.

After struggling to figure out what the Knicks are thinking, Helin and Feldman answer questions off Twitter from readers/listeners on the coming trade deadline including discussions of Blake Griffin, Jeff Teague, the Pistons, the Jazz, the Knicks, and more.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Warriors’ center Festus Ezeli to have knee surgery, out indefinitely

Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli, left, of Nigeria, looks to pass the ball as Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in Denver. Golden State won 118-105. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Associated Press
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Festus Ezeli has been a rock-solid backup for the Warriors this season, playing almost 18 minutes a night behind Andrew Bogut giving the team 7.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a contest. Golden State’s defense is 3.6 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court, and he’s part of the team’s long-term plans.

But he’s going to be out for a while now following knee surgery, the team announced and as reported by Monte Poole at CSNBayArea.com.

http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/festus-ezeli-undergo-knee-surgery

The surgery is exploratory, which is why the Warriors say there is no timeline for recovery yet.

The surgery is on his left knee; it was his right one that had reconstructive surgery and forced him to miss all of two seasons ago.

This is a blow to the Warriors’ depth, but little has slowed their march this season. More Mo Speights is not ideal, but the Warriors can just go small more often and run teams out of the building that way.

Ezeli is a restricted free agent this summer and the Warriors would like to keep him on the roster and expand his role, particularly if they do not retain Andrew Bogut. The severity of this knee injury could impact Ezeli’s ability to earn a big contract this summer, but hopefully for him, it’s not that serious.

Russell Westbrook stands behind Kevin Durant, mimics him during interview (video)

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, right, gestures after scoring as forward Kevin Durant stands by during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Thunder won 117-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Choose your spin.

This is why Kevin Durant is leaving the Thunder. Russell Westbrook doesn’t respect him.

or

This is why Kevin Durant is re-signing with the Thunder. He and Russell Westbrook have so much fun together.

Report: Magic open to talking Tobias Harris trade, looking to add experience

Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) grabs the uniform of Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris (12) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
AP Photo/Brandon Dill
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Tobias Harris signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Magic just last summer.

Now, just 50 games later…

Marc Stein of ESPN:

I’m skeptical this is significant. Teams discuss trades for many players for a variety of reasons. That doesn’t mean the player is likely to be dealt.

Orlando in particular has a roster of players who cause significant debate about their value. It’s helpful to know what other teams think of Harris, and soliciting trade offers is a good method to learn his worth.

It’s more intriguing the Magic are looking to add experience. They should probably go the opposite route, but they’ve tried (and failed) for years to accelerate their rebuild. At 22-28 – four games and three teams from playoff position – now is not the time to seek shortcuts. Spend the rest of the season developing young players – and probably securing a higher draft pick in the process.

One of Harris’ best traits is his youth. He’s just 23. See what other teams would offer for him, sure. But, in all likelihood, it’s better to let him grow into the veteran Orlando needs rather than trading him for one when the rest of the team isn’t ready to win, anyway.

My guess is that’s what Orlando will do. Remember, always consider who has incentive to leak this information anonymously and what they’d be positioned to know.