Randy Hollis: Utah Jazz show grit, class in final defeat

Published: Monday, May 7 2012 11:00 p.m. MDT

"Ty (Corbin) has done a great job of keeping that going," Popovich said. "It is just who they are and they showed it tonight."

Utah's starting point guard, Devin Harris, liked the way he and his teammates refused to give in, despite long odds that led to the inevitable, disappointing defeat.

"This team has been doing that all year long," said Harris, who wound up with 19 points and seven assists. "We could have easily just folded in that fourth quarter when they built that lead, but guys fought it out to the end.

"It shows a lot of character and a lot of heart that we have on this team."

But against the Spurs, all that spunk, desire, determination and heart still wasn't quite enough.

San Antonio will live to fight another day in its quest for the fifth NBA championship in franchise history. Utah, meanwhile, will pack it in until next season.

Still, in spite of this year's frustrating sweep, the postseason experience should prove invaluable for a young Jazz lineup whose key core group moving forward has only three players — Josh Howard, Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley — over the age of 29, and four up-and-coming youngsters who are 22 or younger.

Give 'em a few more years of playing together, and maybe they can build something really special in the Beehive State.

For now, though, Corbin was mighty proud of his team's gritty effort in Game 4 and throughout this entire season.

"We have shown that when things are bad and not going as well as we would like for them to go, we are going to continue to fight," Corbin said. "Any time you have a game against us, you are going to know you have been in a fight.

"Win, lose or draw, these guys are going to give you everything they have.

That's one of the great things about this group of guys that I really respect and love working with them, because they are going to give what they have every night."

And for that, Corbin and Co. should rightfully be proud.

And Jazz fans should be grateful — and optimistic about what the future may hold for this spunky squad in the years to come.

email: rhollis@desnews.com

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