|Fisher, Williams can't save Jazz|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 30 May 2007 19:16|
With Deron Williams struggling because of a sore foot, it was already too late for the Jazz.
By the time Fisher arrived during halftime of Game 5 of Western Conference finals, the Spurs were well on their way to a 109-84 victory that sent them to the NBA finals.
Without much help from their starting backcourt, the Jazz never led and trailed by as many as 29.
``They put us where they wanted us all night long,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. ``There's never a happy ending if you don't win it all. You end up the season as a loser. And that's never exciting.
``The only thing is are you willing to come back and try it again.''
Fisher was returning from New York, where his infant daughter, Tatum, underwent a procedure for retinoblastoma, a cancerous tumor in her left eye. Gordan Giricek started in his place, with Dee Brown prepared to come off the bench.
``We had a successful treatment this morning, as far as we can tell at this point,'' Fisher said. ``And we are just back to day-to-day for a few weeks.''
Fisher left the team in the second round of the playoffs for his daughter's treatment in New York, then returned to the team during the third quarter of Game 2 of the series against Golden State. His dramatic arrival, and his five points in overtime, helped the Jazz win that game.
``The pilots on the plane were kind enough to give me a score in the first quarter,'' Fisher said Wednesday. ``I know miracles are possible and I knew that's what we were going to need in order to come back and win this game. I didn't feel that I was that miracle necessarily.''
Fisher had two points. Andrei Kirilenko led the Jazz with 13 points and Matt Harpring had 11. Carlos Boozer had 12 rebounds for Utah but only nine points.
``I feel like we had more basketball to be played,'' Boozer said. ``I feel like I got cut short a little bit.''
Williams started despite a sprained right foot sustained in the fourth quarter of Game 4, but had only seven points in the first half. He finished with just 11, well below his average from the first four games, and was visibly hobbled.
``I asked him if he was ready to play and he said he was,'' Sloan said. ``I put him out there and he said he should be OK. I think he struggled. He had his uniform on and that's the way it is.''
Without the team-best 29.5 points Williams was scoring in the series heading into Wednesday's game, the Jazz fell apart. They were outscored 34-15 in the first quarter and trailed 55-39 at the half.
The Jazz were in the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1998. They have lost 19 straight games in San Antonio, dating to 1999.
Williams was vocal in his disappointment.
``Some guys were already on vacation. Point blank. On vacation. A long time ago,'' Williams said. ``I think we have a great nucleus. I don't like bashing my teammates, and I'm never going to call anybody out individually. But as a team, some guys need to figure things out, if they want to be here.''
Boozer agreed, contrasting Fisher's dedication in being at the game to ``guys that have vacation plans'' and no ``championship vision.''
Fisher struck a more hopeful note about Utah's future, saying the young Jazz made it far this season ``without really having a team that understands what it takes to get there.''
``It is just not easy in professional sports to have an opportunity to win a championship and we had that opportunity,'' he said. ``As sad as it feels to lose, I just can't, I can't put my head down and I don't think anybody on our team should put our heads down.''