Utah Jazz will go with big starting lineup of Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap
Ronald Martinez, Getty Images
SALT LAKE CITY — Like the NBA's ad campaign, something big is coming to the Utah Jazz lineup tonight at EnergySolutions Arena.
After hinting about it at Sunday's practice, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he will go with the Utah's big lineup to start this must-win Game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs (6 p.m. MT, TNT).
That lengthy first five includes 6-10 Al Jefferson, 6-10 Derrick Favors, 6-8 Paul Millsap, 6-8 Gordon Hayward and 6-3 Devin Harris.
The Spurs didn't shoot around at the arena — they used the Jazz's practice facility instead — but their starting lineup includes 6-2 Tony Parker, 6-6 Danny Green, 6-7 Kawhi Leonard, 6-8 Boris Diaw and 6-11 Duncan.
Corbin cited defense as being the main reason for the change shortly after the Jazz's morning shootaround session. The No. 1 Spurs have scored an average of 28.7 points in the first quarter of their three blowout victories in this first-round series against the No. 8 Jazz.
"We'll see if it gives us a little punch there. It's been good for us in the past," Corbin said. "We'll see if we can force our will on these guys a little more than us making all the adjustments to them. We want to still run our offense and try to see if we can get the ball inside a little more and get points in the paint more."
The Jazz were one of the most dominating interior teams all season, but Tim Duncan and crew have outscored Utah 170-108 in the paint so far.
"They've taken advantage of us there," Corbin admitted. "And that's been one of the assets that's been great of us all year long and we've lost that in this series."
The Jazz have clearly been a better team when the up-and-coming Favors has been on the floor.
Utah has lost three games to the Spurs by a combined 58 points, but the Jazz have only been outscored by San Antonio by one point in Favors' 79 minutes of action.
This will be Favors' first playoff start. He came off the bench in 54 of his 63 appearances this past season for Utah.
"I just treat it as a regular game," Favors said. "Just come in, play my part, do my role and come out and play hard."
Corbin credited Favors at practice Sunday for taking the losses personal and for playing a fired-up brand of basketball.
"It's been hard. You don't want to lose," Favors said. "It makes me want to go out there and play harder, just try to get a win and just try to take it back to San Antonio."
Favors' insertion into the starting lineup will move veteran small forward Josh Howard back to the bench. Howard started the first three games of the series, averaging 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds after working his way back from a knee surgery.
Game 5 would be Wednesday at the AT&T Center if the Jazz can pull off an upset win tonight. No team, however, in NBA history has ever rallied out of a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.
"Each guy that steps on the court has to play his best game for us to have a chance," said Corbin, adding that that has been the case all season while Utah went 36-30 and surprised many by making the playoffs. "We have to have all of our guys play well for us to have a chance because were still developing. We need all of our weapons."
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