SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 5: Enes Kanter #0 of the Utah Jazz reaches in on Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter of Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at EnergySolutions Arena on May 05, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Spurs won the game 102-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Game 4: San Antonio Spurs (3-0) @ Utah Jazz (0-3)
Specifically remember getting destroyed by 40 points by role players, and get angry. And play hard.
The Jazz are in trouble. Utah has been hemorrhaging blood, and there is plenty of it in the water now. The Spurs want to end this, tonight. The Jazz need to fight to stay alive. We're going to learn a lot about our current team, and the players who make up this team tonight. Who wants to fight when their back is to the wall? Who is going to give up early? Who is going to play selfish? Who is going to run the offense against improbable odds? Who is going to stick up for each other? Who is going to stand tall at the end of the game? Who is not going to be intimidated? And ultimately, who do you want to keep on the team as a result of the answers to all of the previous questions.
Tonight the Jazz have to win. Period. We owe the Spurs a loss for the beat down we got in Game 2. Tonight may be our last chance this year to repay that debt of honor.
If the Jazz win it does not solve all our problems. But we do live to see another day, and we get a playoff win -- something we have not had in a number of years. If the Spurs win, then our season is over. That's it. And we'll finish 36-34 overall, playoffs and regular season combined. We're a .500 team with this core and good enough to make the playoffs with a little help.
I felt like the Jazz could win a game this series, and my money was on Game 4. (Just like I was expecting a blowout in Game 2) The Jazz can still surprise the world by pushing this series to a Game 5. (Very few people thought we would) Because the Jazz exceeded my expectations this year I am giving them the benefit of the doubt. They've earned it from me. They won more games than I thought they would. And they made the playoffs when I thought they would not (how many of us said they would as a pre-season prediction?)
As a result, yes, I believe in this team. And I believe in some of the players on this team. And I'm not going to quit on them. They've earned it from us fans. They worked hard, despite all the obstacles they had to face this year -- and are now facing yet another one.
I don't care. I root for the Jazz. And I am rooting for a win tonight.
San Antonio is a very talented club; however, that doesn't mean we should lose just because we're supposed to lose. If we play rough, if we force the issue inside, and give the Spurs guards a legit reason to stop penetrating -- who says we can't dirty up their pretty little uniforms a bit and fight for four quarters?
"Hey Enes, Tony Parker said that Turkey shouldn't be part of NATO because of their high Muslim population! Go tell him how you feel!"
We've talked about toughness before on this blog. You can be tough without behaving tough. And the Jazz can play smart, and not be intimidated -- but in this series we haven't really seen that. When our Top guy is conceding the series with a game to play still it makes you feel bad. The Jazz need to play tough tonight. Play like the old Jazz would play like.
We have to pay them back for Game 2 still, when they flat out embarrassed us. I was getting trash talk text messages from Houston Rockets fans after that game, and their team didn't even make the playoffs. I know that game isn't ancient history for some of our players. Put those guys on the floor tonight Tyrone, and pay the Spurs back.
Play tough. Don't be intimidated. And remember the beat down we got in San Antonio. Defend your home court. Defend your honor. Play hard. Win.