Right now the Miami Heat are playing the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the San Antonio Spurs are one win away from putting the Memphis Grizzlies back into hibernation for the season. All four teams are great defensive clubs -- and those clubs seemed to be the exact type of teams that used to put the clamps on the Utah Jazz this season.
How did the Jazz do against these teams?
Well . . .
The Jazz played 11 games against these four teams and finished with one win against all of them. Utah went 1-3 against Memphis, 1-2 against San Antonio, and 1-1 against both Miami and Indiana. We played two overtime games (winning one) and playing much better at home than on the road. None our our four wins were on the road.
If you put it all together, the Jazz scored only 93.4 ppg against these four teams, which is -4.6 ppg less than our normal season average of 98.0 ppg in the regular season. We also gave up +2.3 more ppg which means that our nearly equal own PPG vs off PPG for the regular season ended up being a near 7 point margin of defeat.
The Jazz did lose four games by 15 or more points, which is bad.
But by the same token, we're a lottery team, and we beat each of these Final Four teams once each. So that has to count for something. Right?
What do we take from this? (you know, aside from the moral victory) If we make a defense first team we can start to punish teams like these teams punished us. I think that's the way the NBA is going. It's important to be able to frustrate teams with good defense, and if we're going to be a real contender we're going to have to become one of these teams.