Spurs One Win Away from Finals
West Conf Finals (Game 4): Spurs 91, Jazz 79
- Very physical game, and the difference in this game might have just been the free throw line. Both teams played tough defense and the rebound margin was basically equal. The Jazz actually were better on Def.FG% with 40.6% to 47% for S.A. But the most glaring disparity between the 2 teams had to be free throw attempts--Spurs had 41, Jazz 20. The Spurs ended up with 16 more points from the free throw line. The Jazz also did not help their cause with 17 TOs.
- Spurs overcame their previous 4th quarter issues by outscoring the Jazz 28-17. They had been outscored by an average of 11 in the 4th for the first 3 games, and allowed the Jazz at least 30 pts in the 4th in each game.
- Manu took over down the stretch scoring 16 of his 22 in the 4th. He banged a big 3 with 9:00 left that put the Spurs up by 4, and the Jazz would never get closer. For the rest of the quarter, he was camped out on the foul line by flinging his body wily-nily into any Jazz player close enough--Manu was 12/15 from the free throw line. His Argentine compatriot, Oberto, had another solid performance finishing around the basket (even few little post moves) for 11 pts. Fab was also a major nuisance on the offensive glass tapping out multiple shots for extra possessions, including a big tip-in in the 4th (though it looked illegal)--Fab had 11 boards, 6 off.
- Parker got some his patented deep drives for 17 pts, but had some issues with his jumper which led to a 6/19 night. Duncan had somewhat of a ragged game where he continued to have issues protecting the ball--5 TOs, after 8 in Game 3. He missed a handful of foul shots but did find a way to pitch in 19 & 9. And most importantly, he returned to form on the defensive end with 5 blocks after having his hands tied by foul trouble in Game 3.
- One thing you can count on in the NBA, rarely do you see the Spurs string two poor defensive game in a row. After one of their worst def. efforts in Game 3, the Spurs were suffocating tonite. Their help defense was excellent, and they were digging down on the post & recovering perfectly. They held the Jazz to 17 pts in the 4th quarter, and some of those points came on uncontested shots after the game was decided. Made Boozer take mid-range jumpers, and Duncan got back to being a force on the baseline after having his presence severly limited by fouls in Game 3. The only minor sorepoint was the Spurs let up 18 fast break points, sure Pop let his team know about this.
- Think we used up all the superlatives we could think of for Deron already. Deron continued to be nearly indefensible for the Spurs--27, 10 assts, 3 stls for Deron. And he was doing a ton of damage with his pull-up jumper. Boozer had an alright game with 18 (9/16) & 9 rebs, but he was contained fairly well and was forced to take a lot of jumpers, instead of doing much damage down low.
- The Jazz had trouble again getting much offensive support around Deron & Boozer. After getting nice support from the bench in Game 3, the bench did not offer much more then some rebounds in Game 4. And Okur continued his disappointing post-season run offensively--only 7 pts. Memo is only averaging 7 ppg, 5 rpg on 26% shooting for this series. Not acceptable from a guy who was a borderline all-star (last-minute add to West All-Stars) averaging 17 & 8 rebs in the reg. season.
- Although Okur & Kirilenko brought little to the table offensively, both were key to the strong defensive effort by Utah. Memo once again did a solid job defending Duncan on the ball & managed to cause some of Timmy's 5 TOs. Tonite AK47 showcased some of the roving ability he let loose in every game of the Warriors series-- AK had a solid game with 4 blks & 8 rebs (3 off).
- Can't really blame the Jazz defense in Game 4, did a admirable job containing Duncan & keeping Parker on the perimeter. The Spurs only shot 40.6% overall & were held to 13 pts in the 3rd. What came back to haunt the Jazz in this one was their major flaw--Utah had 27 fouls which led to 41 FT attempts for San Ant. For Game 5, the Jazz have to obviously count down on the fouls, but also need their role players to step up offensively.