Quantcast

Utah Jazz: Jazz need 1 win to stop Rockets' momentum

Published: Sunday, Aug. 2 2015 3:05 p.m. MDT

In the immediate aftermath of the Jazz's embarrassing 95-69 Game 5 loss to the Houston Rockets Tuesday night, point guard Deron Williams sought — and found — proper perspective.
"It's very disappointing, you know," Williams said, "but it's not the end of the world, not the end of the series."
Such was still the sense Thursday morning, when — after taking Wednesday off — the up 3-2 Jazz practiced for tonight's Game 6 in the first-round, best-of-seven NBA playoff series.
"We have to win one game, they have to win two," Williams said. "So I feel like we're still in control."
"We are," All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer added. "The bad thing about it is after a game like Game 5, you feel like they have all the momentum. And they may have a lot of it, because they won by a big margin. But it's one bad game in a series. That's why there's seven games."
Room for error, in other words.
Even a blunder as bad as Tuesday's, when the Jazz were beaten to loose balls, beaten on second-chance points, beaten on the boards.
Beaten, for all practical purposes, to a pulp.
"There's no excuse, no reason, that something like that happened — especially in a playoff game," Williams said Thursday.
"Hopefully the intensity will be there for us this next game."
Better be, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan suggested.
"We can't let them beat us in every little category that comes up," Sloan said. "They beat us all four quarters in the game the other night. You're gonna have to play. Hopefully we'll have more energy to stay with it."
There is, after all, a sense of decided urgency for the Jazz.
They won a Game 7 at Houston in last year's opening round of the playoffs, but don't want to bank on doing that again.
Besides, the Los Angeles Lakers — who dismissed Denver from the first round with a 4-0 sweep that was completed Monday night — are waiting.
And the Jazz — who will play on Sunday regardless, either in another opening-round Game 7 at Houston or a Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at L.A. — don't want the Lakers to enjoy the satisfaction of seeing Utah endure a grueling seven-game series.
"You've got to try to win right now," Sloan said.
"We really need to win and can't let Houston get a chance to play Game 7," small forward Andrei Kirilenko added. "We need a win."
Kirilenko, like Boozer, felt a shift after Game 5.
But he, too, believes the baby quake can be overcome — despite the fact the Rockets have won twice at EnergySolutions Arena this regular season/postseason, and only three other teams (Portland, Boston and the Lakers) in 2007-08 have emerged victorious from Utah.
"Definitely after the win in Houston they have way more confidence right now, and they feel like they can beat us," Kirilenko said. "And they beat us twice here this year. But, again, what we can do? Just come out and play.
"We've got a game at home, now we're leading 3-2 — it's definitely all in our hands," Kirilenko added. "For this moment, we still have a little bit more chances. But, again, nobody is going to give it to us."
No one is, and Boozer knows it as well.
"For us, we have to look each other in the face and realize that we are in control of this series," he said. "We're up 3-2.
We're at home, in front of our fans. It comes down to a one-game series for us."
In Williams' mind, then, it's not Game 5 that matters most.
"It's definitely behind us," the Jazz point said. "It was behind us as soon as the buzzer sounded. You know, we can't dwell on these games. You have to move on to the next one, and I think that's what we've done."
And the world spins on, too.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company