Utah Jazz will not give up, will continue to compete

Published: Sunday, May 6 2012 9:00 p.m. MDT

Utah's Alec Burks is deflated as the Jazz are defeated at home by the Spurs in Game 3 of the NBA playoffs.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Game 4: San Antonio Spurs (3) at Utah Jazz (0), 6 p.m. MT, Monday at EnergySolutions Arena (TNT)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have taken a pretty good beating over the past week.

They've put up 58 fewer points overall and been outscored 170-108 in the paint in three blowout losses to the San Antonio Spurs.

They've witnessed Tony Parker pick-and-roll like John Stockton, seen a rejuvenated Tim Duncan look like he's bathing in Oil of Olay, watched helplessly as Matt Bonner, Stephen Jackson, Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal have chucked 3-point daggers into the bottom of the nets, and marveled as Gregg Popovich channeled his inner Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Red Auerbach.

The Jazz's defense has become suspect, their confidence seemingly shattered, their aim all skewonkered.

They've even fallen into that bleak no-NBA-team-has-ever-conquered-a-3-0-deficit territory.

But get this: The Jazz want more.

They aren't ready to throw in one of the white towels fans waved around at EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday while the team stumbled against the Spurs again.

And not just because they're fearing the season-ending task of cleaning out their lockers.

"We're trying to rewrite history," a still-hopeful Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We're going to come out and compete, man."

While winning this series is out of reach judging history, the Jazz are at least hoping to extend the education they're receiving from the San Antonio School of Hard Knocks.

For this young team, valuable lessons have accompanied the vile losses.

That's why the Jazz scoff at the notion that it would've been better for them to lose their way into the lottery — and keep their pick that's heading to Minnesota — instead of getting smashed by the Spurs.

"Experiences are invaluable. Just playing in the postseason is good for us as a team," said Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward, who's getting his first taste of NBA playoffs. "We just have gotten outplayed thus far, but I don't think you should ever play for picks."

Corbin knows the Spurs would like to teach the Jazz one more thing: learning how to deal with being swept.

"If we don't learn the lesson from the first three games then (Monday) night won't be fun for anybody but San Antonio," Corbin said. "We've got to make sure we understand that these guys aren't going to give up. They're not going to allow us to come in and win a game. They want to finish you right now. They want to embarrass you. They wan to bury you. They want to bury you in your home floor in front of your home fans."

That lump of a lesson is one Corbin would prefer to delay as long as possible.

"We know we have one game left to extend this series and we want to try to get back to San Antonio," he said. "Nobody's going to feel sorry for us, and we can't feel sorry for ourselves."

It'd be easy for the Jazz to sulk in dejection — and Corbin admitted the team was down after Saturday's defeat. But at what could've been their last practice until next fall, players didn't shy away from acknowledging their own weaknesses and their opponents' strengths.

Seeing as they haven't been able to celebrate success yet, they're determined to learn from losses.

"Any team like us, a young team who are trying to establish themselves, you need to take notes from a team like San Antonio," Jefferson said. "They just do everything the right way. You've almost got to play a perfect game to even have a chance to win against them."

Added Big Al: "Sooner or later, we want to get to the point that we be like a team like San Antonio."

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