Saturday, April 26, 2008


You would think by the way the fans are reacting to Thursday's loss that the Jazz were just eliminated from the playoffs.  As we drove home from the airport we listened to one fan after another call into the radio station we were listening to and complain how the team should have done this or should have done that.    

It was a bad loss, don't get me wrong, but it was only one loss.  Taking the glass half full approach, as far as I can tell the Jazz still own the home court advantage, they still have a series lead of two games to one, and they get to come back to the friendly confines of the ESA to redeem themselves.  In my estimation things are still looking pretty good.  

Prior to the start of the series I felt that the Jazz coming into tonight's game would be sitting with lead of 2 to 1.  I didn't think the wins and losses would have occurred where they did, but regardless they sit win wise right where I thought they would be.  

I didn't think a loss would come on their home court.  I won't blame the loss on foul shots because by doing so you would also have to take into consideration that in the previous two losses the Rockets shot about 10% lower in FT's than their yearly average.  Would it have changed the outcome of the game had they shot consistent with what they normally shoot?  I don't know.  Possibly.  It definitely would have made things a lot closer. 

I think the hustle plays are what made the difference.  It was apparent the Rockets were playing with more energy and determination than what the Jazz had showed up with.  They out rebounded the Jazz.  They had 16 offensive boards, 7 of which came from Landry who is a bench player.  That's too many extra possessions in a tight game.  They had more steals than the Jazz and fewer turnovers. 

I think the teams showed up that night with two different mindsets.  The Rockets came into that game in survival mode.  If they lose that one their series is essentially over.  They were playing with a sense of urgency.

The Jazz on the other hand appeared to have shown up thinking that because of their usual success at home that this was going to be just another win at the ESA.  I think a lot of us felt that way.  

They won't make that mistake tonight.  I am expecting the Jazz to come out refocussed with a sense of urgency themselves.  The Jazz historically respond well after a tough loss.  I don't expect tonight to be any different.  

I think tonight's game is huge in that it will determine the outcome of this series.  The Rockets have the chance to steal back the momentum along with home court, whereas the Jazz can basically put the series out of reach.  The Jazz need to get a win.  I think they will.

I am still feeling pretty confident with my prediction of the Jazz winning it in 6.  After tonight they will be one game closer to doing so.