The Utah Jazz talked bravely about their future, rather than dwell on their past.
The words sounded hollow - like some of Karl Malone's misguided free throws as they bounced off the rim against the Seattle SuperSonics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.John Stockton will be 35 next season and Malone 33 next month. Their time might have run out, but they wouldn't admit it.
"If people think we're too old, shame on them," Malone said. "We'll be back."
"We're not going to cry outside the door or jump off a building or anything like that," coach Jerry Sloan added.
Seattle's 90-86 Game 7 win over the Jazz was the closest Sloan, Malone and Stockton have been to the NBA Finals. In 1992, Utah lost in six games to Portland. In 1994, the Jazz bowed to Houston in five games.
Utah has made the playoffs for 13 straight years - the longest streak in the NBA behind Portland's 14.
Sunday's loss dropped their record to 6-12 in Western Conference finals, 1-9 on the road.
"It's nice to be part of this, but we have to do something about the ending," Stockton said. "I don't feel like our time is running out. There's more than one way to get it done. There were a lot of opportunities for this series not to go seven games and for us to come out on top."