I remember 25 years ago or so the Warriors with Don Nelson as Head-Coach knew that he could not beat the dominate Utah Jazz playing conventional basketball. So what did Donny do? He took a chance - He determined to think "outside the box". What he did was what the league now calls going "small ball". Mark Eaton, Karl Malone, Adam Keefe or whatever big-non-athletic-unskilled-roll-player-dude we we're playing with at the time had no chance to keep up with Donny's small's. They ran the Jazz all over the court, we chased and chased and chased until we puked our guts up...they buried outside shot after outside shot that we couldn't get out to guard. We tried to match up and even posted up their smalls in the paint, but it was difficult for Karl Malone - it was like Karl was only used to scoring over real big guys, and so when Karl tried backing down diminutive small forwards - he looked strangely uncomfortable doing it. Mark Eaton wasn't skilled enough to score points over players of any size anyway (he had trouble scoring usually even when no one was in his way). With Golden State's quickness, Donny's shorter, faster, better-conditioned players - forced us into huge amounts of turnovers and mistakes. The Jazz seemed utterly confused.
Jerry attempted to match up with players of the Warriors same small size and stature, but it just so happened our little guys were not very good at all, and because the Jazz had always played big for the most part none of them had ever practiced together. So in determination - we went back to our Big-Guys and before Sloan could forge a plan and practice it enough to combat Donny's strategy - the damage was already done and in no short-time (forgive the pun) to the dismay of the Jazz and it's fans the series was over. The Jazz's toast got buttered in the series, the proverbial fork was stuck in us, Sloan and the organization we're embarressed in defeat. As much as i dislike the guy it all happened because, Coach Nelson knowing he couldn't beat the Jazz at their own game - took a calculated risk, put in Donny's David's, played small-ball against the Jazz's Goliaths and suprised even Golden State Warrior players, fans and all manner of NBA pundints. To this day the series upset over the Jazz is a feather in the Don Nelson's cap and a thorn in one of Jerry Sloan's sock
Corbin is playing conventional basketball against the superior Spurs team right now- We are not ever going to beat the Spurs the way we have been playing against them in the two games up until now.(for those who haven't noticed yet, the Spurs are good - and yes, I mean even Michael Jordan's 72-10 season Bulls Good) - We might of had a sliver of hope going in to this series with a win streak and playing confident team basketball....I love Corbin 's Coaching job this year and despite the lack of a super-star and dubious talent level - He proved the critics wrong and took this team to the playoffs. So with this being said I have no clue why we made the decision to throw in a guy who hadn't played in a month, which for all intents and purposes - killed any chemistry or confidence that we had going into the series to begin with. (Maybe this was Coach Corbins poor attempt at trying to have a Donny moment).
Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to get at is this - The only way to even give the Spurs a test of any kind or to challenge any bit (with the Jazz being the "huge underdog" as they are in this series), is for Coach (Corbin) to try to come up with some sort of his own "moment of clarity". Something daring or different, a calculated risk.The courage to come up with a strategy that leads to playing basketball "outside of of the box".
Try something that is going to fly in the face of Utah Jazz conventional basketball wisdom. Think about it - Besides kidnapping Tony Parker, what action or change of game plan could the Jazz implement in time to avoid the slippery slope we are speeding down this disasterous hill faster and faster by the minute? - I got an idea, it's not ground-breaking and the plan isn't even all that unconventional for that matter. Jazz fans for days have been clamoring and wondering why we haven't been trying it already in this series and many thought we should of started it with game one. Drum role Please...Please, Coach Corbin, could you just play the Bigs. Maybe, go one step further and to not only play the bigs, but START the Bigs. Yes - all three (Milsap, Jefferson and Favors) all at the same time, all on the same court. I understand because I'm not paid, employed or affiliated with the NBA in any shape or form I must be wrong to question how Howards defense and outside shooting are obviously helping us win the series to this point.
Lets try something radical, something out of the ordinary - something that goes against what has already become "vouge" in the new NBA of having to play a 6' 7" wing man - no matter howpoor or injured the small forward position might be playing.
We need to bring back the past, summon the ghosts of Red Aurerbach, a day when the "Twin Towers" put fear in the heart of opposing basketball want-a-bees', and the Tall-Guys dominated the game in-side the paint and ruled basketballs kingdom.
Wasn't it the Wright Bros.. who were laughed at when they set forth to create the first human flying bird-man? Wasn't Benjamin Franklin scoffed at while out flying a kite, in the rain and wind - and really did any people watching him that day think that this mad-man might have a chance to be on to something.
Well, the time is Now for the Jazz to throw all caution to the wind, let their kite sail and try something new, give in to a different approach ...Please Coach Corbin, bring the Jazz mind trust together and let's Play Ball, Lets play "Large-Ball". Think of it - The Jazz, "Large and in Charge". Favor, Millsap, Jefferson, Hayward...and hey why not, Burks at point? Even bring in Kanter to play small-forward - (OK , I went a little too far with that one). Look at things right now... What really do we have to lose. Do the Jazz faithful being down 2-0 really believe we have a chance to come-back and win this series now? Playing the exact same ball we have in the past two games.
Why can't it be the Jazz that mix it up some? Make the Spurs conform to our-play for once. Maybe it won't be the game-changer, but really can it be much worse than it is now? It's worth a try, isn't it? Why not?
The Spurs might mock us some, and deep-down inside think to themselves that "we can beat back the Jazz against anyway they play", but I'm sure Layden and Sloan might of had that same impression and chuckled some when the Warriors walked out on court (all 6' feet 4' inches of them). This Jazz amusement changed quickly to bewilderment however, when the small-ball players with big-hearts turned the tables on the Jazz and upset our Bigs in game three of the series. It was Don Nelsons unorthodox strategy that won the Warriors that series - changing game three and in the end led winning the series to the Jazz's demise.
With this Big line-up we might go on and lose by another 20 or 30 points or more but, I doubt it. I think we would play better. Aren't we already losing at the 20-30 point level anyway? Corbin might be all out of Coaching options and ideas for a Jazz team to pull a one game upset. But, I think he knows down in his heart that the mystery to beat this Spurs team is not going to be found in what he has already implemented and thrown at the Spurs up to this point in the series.
Sometimes just one small victory can change a battle...One win might just be enough to give the players a seed of hope, a ray of light...and at other times, an upset over a seemingly indestructible opponent might just cause glance enough for a stumble.
Playmates of 3rd grade Lew Alcindor probably made fun of this tall-geeky kid chucking in un-thinkable style hooks toward the basket. But, in the end Kareem as he would become to be known had the last laugh, Isn't he the one who has scored more points than any other NBA player in League history? In other words, not to bad for a guy with that funny looking pitch at the basket that would ultimately alter the course of NBA basketball.
My two cents here, would be to get rid of the conventional style type of basketball the Jazz are playing in this over-matched series against the Spurs up to this point. Play some poker, throw all the chips to the center and take a risk, a calculated risk. You must admit it would make for some very entertaining basketball and if by chance the Jazz were to go on and win game three... it might lead to only the third time a number eight seed ends up beating a number one? Could lighting strike twice/? I don't think the chances are great, but then again you might want to go ask - Lee Trevino (What, you say. Ask a golfer?
Remember Stockton's "Shot", or Billy Paultz and his Whopper Boppering of Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon in critical game seven? The decision to play the Jazz's Goliaths against the Spur's Davids (or not so Goliaths) and to go on and win the series with what has already been determined to have a forgone conclusion...might go down in time as the greatest of Jazz folklore and legend.
On a sour note....One question before I end my commentary. Why did the Jazz with Stockton and Malone never win a World Championship? Answer: The Owner, Management, and Jazz Coaching Staff always played it to safe.
But then again - maybe that's why the Jazz we're always good. Whatever happens I will always be a fan ...Go jazz !!