I’ll admit it…..I’ve been brooding. I’ve been angry, hurt, frustrated, and torn up inside since the loss to the Suns on Weds night. I’m sure most of us have been a little cut up. Then I realized something…. The season had ended, but the playoffs had just started. It was an awakening of sorts. That’s when I got my little smirk back. It was just beginning, I had found my swagger.
Two things happen after a defeat, it either gets under your skin and eats away at you, or the humility wakes you up. Mental toughness is the deciding factor. Do you hang up the gloves or do you take it as a learning experience? If there is one thing I think I’ve seen in the Jazz this year that we’ve lacked in the past its that mental toughness. This team doesn’t beat itself up anymore. They have a short memory. They know how to rebound from losses.
That’s why I’m going to say that the loss Weds night was probably the best thing that could have happened to us. Blasphemy no? Put away the pitch forks, the torches, and quiet the mob. I of all people would be the last person I would expect to hear this from. Ask Wheatie_87, I’m a negative Nancy. However, I feel like we are watching Rocky III right now. We were coming off a pathetic win with the Warriors. It was clearly just like Rocky fighting Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan). We were riding high after a great run through March and April. We were on coast for the most part, despite a few losses. Well then the Suns rolled around in the biggest game of the season. They went Clubber Lang (MR. "I PITY THE FOOL" T, Himself) all over our butts.
Sad day. *Insert weeping and walling and gnashing of teeth* The Suns knocked us down and as Mickey says in the movie: "The worst thing that happened to you, that can happen to any fighter: you got civilized."
Well it’s a new day now. Apollo Creed joins forces with Rocky to whip him into the best shape he’d ever been in. He worked on his footwork, his fundamentals, and he surprised Clubber Lang in his next fight. He came out and took everything Clubber threw at him, and eventually knocked the sucka out.
We are in that moment, we find ourselves beaten down. Losing home court advantage, losing a practical cat walk against the Blazers in the first round, sharing the division title with the dirt Thuglets…. Now it’s time to grab that title back and whoop some butt. We have the fundamentals, we have the pissed off coach screaming: "We’re gonna eat lightening and crap thunder." Hell, we have to get back to the eye of the tiger.
Apollo Creed: "Now, when we fought, you had that eye of the tiger, man; the edge! And now you gotta get it back, and the way to get it back is to go back to the beginning. You know what I mean?"
With or without AK. With or without Boozer. With or without a large defensive center. With or without championship experience on our team. With or without….. There's no more need for excuses.
Apollo Creed: "If you stand toe-to-toe with this bum, he'll kill you. It doesn't take a man to stand there and get your head beat off...! He's just a man, Rock, so be MORE man than him! Go get him; Eye Of the Tiger!"
So if you’re awake Denver…..I hope you can hear that low rumble that is growing louder as it runs down the Rockies….. it’ll grab momentum as it rolls up to the Pepsi Center. It’s going to blow open the doors and a cold wind is going to sweep across the court. A grey mist will settle softly and out of thin air the NINJA himself is going to appear with a squad of JAZZ men behind him. They are going to walk all over you with swagger and you’re going to feel that nasty chip they got on their shoulder from losing the three seed. So get ready…….cause tomorrow night is going to be the first game of four, where we bury your championship dreams 6 feet under.
We’ve got something better than the Eye of the Tiger….. We have Ninja Swagger! GO JAZZ!