We know the series is 3-1 for the Utah Jazz. But as I've tried to suggest earlier, 3 does not equal 4. The Jazz need to remain hungry, but more than that, the Jazz need to develop the killer instinct that is only possessed by teams with true Championship aspirations, or alternatively, thuggee cult leaders. The Denver Nuggets have their back to the wall, and they know that they can win 3 games in a row against this Jazz team (look at the regular season). Additionally, they've done it before in the playoffs too. They now are playing with nothing left to lose - and as fate would have it, now the lower seeded team playing without two starters and getting key play out of undrafted rookies and bench fodder is the team that has everything to lose. (Playoffs irony?)
This game is bigger than just a close-out game for this Jazz team. If we want our team to be considered a big boy, one that wears big boy pants, then we need to win this game. Ever since winning 9 playoffs games seasons ago the Jazz have never lived up to their potential. Too often playoff seeding was squandered away by dropping road games against bad teams -- only to rely on the fact tha "hey, we'll make it up by winning games at home."
I feel like that mentaility was one of "glass half full", and trying to make the best of a missed oppurtunity. The Jazz teams of Stockton and Malone did not have to make those same mental acceptances. They did not have to worry about looking at losing road games as a 'glass half full" situation. They drank their glass - and they would drink your glass too. They had that killer instinct.
They would beat the Nuggets in Game 5 tonight, in Denver.
This Jazz team has to do that as well - even though the Jazz are playing without two starters. Not having two starters did not prevent this same Jazz team from winning 3 games in 4 tries.
Winning tonight removes the need to say "hey, we'll get 'em on our floor." Their floor has to be our floor. Especially since the Jazz do not have home court in this round, or any others if the Jazz get there.
The Nuggets have had time to watch tape, lick their wounds, forge new bonds, get the media to go to bat for them (Hollinger's fouls article comes to mind) -- Utah has to forget all of that and channel their inner Mola Ram's and tear the still-beating heart ouf ot the Nuggets tonight. A win on their home floor will do that (and make up for them winning the division this year)
To help you get pumped up, here's Pantera with their track "Cowboys from Hell".