Jazz desperate for a win in Game 3 against Spurs

Jazz desperate for a win in Game 3 against Spurs

Jazz desperate for a win in Game 3 against Spurs
May 26th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The third-seeded San Antonio Spurs attempt to take a commanding 3-0 lead over No. 4 Utah in the Western Conference finals, as the teams square off tonight at EnergySolutions Arena.

Tim Duncan scored 26 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and blocked five shots as the Spurs held off the Jazz, 105-96, on Tuesday at the AT&T Center to take a 2-0 lead in the conference finals.

Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili both scored 17 points, while Parker also dished out a playoff career-high 14 assists for the Spurs, who improved to 6-2 at home in the postseason.

Carlos Boozer poured in 33 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, while Deron Williams contributed 26 points and 10 assists for the Jazz, who have lost 18 straight overall in San Antonio and fell to 2-6 on the road in this year's playoffs.

In the series opener, Duncan scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead San Antonio over the Jazz, 108-100, at the AT&T Center. Ginobili ended with 23 points and 10 assists, while Parker netted 21 in the victory.

Utah, which is a perfect 6-0 at home in the playoffs, has won two of its last three Game 3s in the postseason, while the Spurs, who are 4-1 on the road in the playoffs, have captured two straight Game 3s.

The last time the Jazz won a conference finals game was on May 24, 1998, when they defeated the Lakers, 96-92, in Game 4 on the road and completed the series sweep.

Game 4 of this best-of-seven series is scheduled for Monday at EnergySolutions Arena.

This is the fourth time that these teams have met in the playoffs. The Jazz are 3-0 against San Antonio in the postseason. Utah defeated the Spurs, 3-1, in the first round of the 1994 playoffs, and in the semifinals in 1996, 4-2, and 1998, 4-1.

San Antonio has advanced to the Western Conference finals for the eighth time in franchise history. The Spurs played the Lakers in 1982, 1983 and 2001, Houston in 1995, Portland in 1999, Dallas in 2003 and Phoenix in 2005. San Antonio is 3-4 in this round.

The Spurs, who lost in seven to the Dallas Mavericks in last year's semifinals, knocked out No. 6 Denver in five games in the opening round and survived a tough six-game series with the second-seeded Suns in the semis. San Antonio is in the postseason for the 10th straight year, and has won three of the last eight NBA championships.

The Jazz have returned to the West finals for the first time since 1998, when they swept the Lakers, 4-0. They are 2-3 in the conference finals. Utah also defeated the Houston Rockets in six in 1997, and lost to Seattle, 4-3, in 1996, the Rockets, 4-1, in 1994 and in 1992 to Portland, 4-2.

Utah defeated the fifth-seeded Rockets in seven games in the first round and eliminated No. 8 Golden State in round two. The Jazz ended a three-year playoff drought by qualifying for this year's postseason. Prior to the 2006-07 campaign, the Jazz last appeared in the playoffs in 2003 when they were eliminated in five games by the Sacramento Kings in the opening round.

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Re: Jazz desperate for a win in Game 3 against Spurs

I played the Jazz -135 today  wink

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Jazz out of synch for first two games
May 26, 2007

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -Matt Harpring jokes that the adjustments the Utah Jazz have in store for the San Antonio Spurs are top secret.

Teammate Derek Fisher says it's nothing that elaborate - the Jazz just need to rediscover the plays they've run effectively for so long before the San Antonio Spurs shut them down in the first two games of the Western Conference finals.

``You guys have been here longer than I have, so you know that the game plan is not going to change,'' Fisher said after practice Friday. ``At this time of year there's no need to change much of anything. You make adjustments you do some things to give yourself a better chance each game.''

So far, the Jazz have adjusted little and not given themselves much of a chance against the Spurs, who lead the series 2-0 entering Saturday's Game 3.

The Jazz admit that the Spurs have had a lot to do with Utah's struggles in the first two games. Other than Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, the Jazz have had no consistent scoring against the Spurs.

Williams scored 60 and Boozer had 53 in the first two games. The rest of the Jazz combined to score 83 - total. And that's for both games.

``There's not lot of space to operate out there. The guys that have ball most of the time, they have the most opportunities. They're finding ways to still score,'' Fisher said. ``The rest of us that don't get as many opportunities, it's a little more difficult to find some rhythm and find some scoring opportunities.''

Fisher has gone 2-for-16 in the series for a total of nine points. Mehmet Okur, Utah's second-leading scorer in the regular season with an average of 17.6 points per game, is just 7-for-28. His 3-point shooting (4-for-12) has actually been better than his overall shooting percentage.

``We're tough when everyone's involved and everyone's playing and into the game,'' forward Matt Harpring said. ``I just don't think we're as good when one or two guys are trying to do it all. But you know, you've got to give San Antonio credit for the defense. Maybe they're making us do that. I don't know.''

Harpring, Paul Millsap and Gordan Giricek are usually the catalysts off the Jazz bench, but haven't been able to get going against the Spurs. Part of the problem is the Jazz have fallen so far behind early that they've played desperately to try to rally at the end.

The Jazz haven't led since the first quarter of the series opener and have been outscored 63-33 in the second quarter.

Games 3 and 4 will be in Salt Lake City, where the Jazz are 6-0 in the playoffs. If that streak ends on Saturday the Jazz will fall behind 3-0 to the Spurs. They're trying not to think about the other possibilities.

``I think it's important to really come out and be who we are. To be smart, to be efficient, to be poised and composed and allow the way we play basketball to win the game,'' Fisher said. ``If we try to win this game on emotion and on the crowd and all those things that we really don't have a lot of control over at times, we'll be in trouble.''

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