Since the format change that expanded the first round of the playoffs to a best of 7 series (from the best of 5) it's been pretty impossible to win three elimination games in a row. [Note: it's my personal opinion that the format change was made to a) make it harder for the better team to lose the series and b) increase the NBA's revinue with another home game, and another televised game] That said, three wins does not equal four wins. The Jazz need four wins to win the series.
To act like we've won would be foolish, and would be reciprocating the disrespect that the Denver Nuggets (and their fans) have had for the Utah Jazz in this series. After Game 1, and all their
criminal thugs overtly counter-culture employees were laughing and smiling while their bad shots went in, the series was already decided -- in their heads. Let's not stoop to that level and feel that this series is over just because the Jazz won three games. Credit was not given for Utah wins in Game 2 and 3, though little flickers of humility were seen after Game 4. Again, in order to prevent being humbled ourselves (our team and us fans) it's better not to gloat and make grand gestures towards the Second Round of the playoffs. We're not there yet. And woe to any of us who feel like we are.
Utah has been in this situation before: in 1992 vs. Seattle; in 1994 vs. Denver; in 1996 vs. San Antonio; in 1997 vs. the Lakers; in 1998 vs. San Antonio; in 2007 vs. Golden State; and in 2008 vs. Houston. The Jazz have gone into Game 5 in each of those seven series' up 3-1. Yet, the Jazz have only won Game 5 four times. (57.1%) Of course, the Jazz have WON each of those 7 series -- but relying on statistics and history will only get you so far.
I don't want the Jazz to be the first team to lose the series after being up 3-1; and going into the remaining game(s) with the idea that the series is won will be foolish. After all, the Jazz HAVE lost 3 games in a row (three series clinching elimination games, btw) before in the NBA Playoffs: in 1987 vs. Golden State; in 1993 vs. Seattle; and in 2001 vs Dallas. (That last one was the Calvin Booth game where he defeated Stockton and Malone with a buzzer beating tip-in)
A large indicator that our team is finally growing up has been its' ability to win games on the road against playoff teams during the regular season. The Jazz have already done this once in the playoffs this season. Doing it again -- finishing the Nuggets in 5 -- would further propel our young team into the next round with momentum. (Getting into a road groove would serve the Jazz well if they were to face the Lakers -- a team that we have had difficulty competing with on their home court -- alternatively, finishing the series early here would give the Jazz more time to scout out Oklahoma in the 2nd, get healthy, and have practices to smooth out our rough edges)