Adam Keefe has not adopted the BYU rule despite recent indications that he might have. Keefe is willing to play games on Sundays.
It's just that he hasn't been asked to the past two weeks.Keefe started 75 of the Utah Jazz's final 76 regular-season games, missing only the night his twin daughters were born. He's also started in seven of nine playoff games.
But both games he hasn't started in the postseason - Game 5 against the Rockets and Game 4 against the Spurs - landed on Sundays. He didn't play at all - thanks to the coaches' decision - on Sunday against the Spurs after playing all of 17 seconds in the series finale against the Rockets.
It was just a coincidence that both of his days off came on Sunday. Now it looks like he'll be spending more and more time on the bench as the playoffs progress. Keefe, as was the case a year ago in the playoffs, has become the odd man out in Utah's rotation.
Bryon Russell has been getting the majority of the minutes and has now moved into the starting role. Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said he went with Russell because the Jazz had been getting off to slow starts. Since Russell is a better outside shooter, it creates more space for Karl Malone, John Stockton and the others to work with because opponents have to guard Russell on the outside.
"Bryon gave us better spacing," said Sloan, explaining the change in the lineup. "That's not to take anything away from Adam. Adam Keefe has played great for us all year long."
Russell ended up playing a game-high 45 minutes of the possible 48, including the entire second half. Chris Morris played the small forward spot for the three-minute stretch when Russell was out.
NOTHING ON THE LINE: Malone, who shot 825 regular-season free throws this year for an average of more than 10 per game - didn't get to the line at all Sunday.
He was asked about it a couple of times, but he wouldn't bite by issuing a verbal answer. By his rolling of the eyes and shaking his head, however, it was clear he was not pleased with the officiating.
It was just the second time in Malone's 126 career playoff games that he didn't shoot a single free throw. The other time was two years ago, also against the Spurs.
Only once during the regular season this year did Malone not go to the line. He didn't take a foul shot in Utah's Christmas Day win over the Rockets.
WISHFUL THINKING? In the middle of the third period, Spurs officials decided to announce that Game 6 tickets would go on sale Monday morning. It didn't seem to matter that San Antonio was trailing at the time and went on to lose, falling behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
In a released statement, the Spurs acknowledged that if Game 6 is not necessary, fans will be able to receive refunds at the point of purchase.
And who says the NBA has no heart?
TEXAS-SIZE CROWD: Game 4 brought 28,587 spectators to the Alamodome, the second-largest crowd ever to watch the Utah Jazz in postseason play. Sunday's attendance knocked Game 3 (26,086) from the spot.
So, what's the biggest crowd ever to see a Jazz playoff game?
The answer is 34,215 people, on May 14, 1996, at the Alamodome, as the Spurs defeated the Jazz, 98-87, in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. Utah, however, went on to win the series, 4-2.
NO PRACTICES: Both the Jazz and Spurs opted not to practice Monday. Utah returned home immediately after Game 4, while San Antonio planned to leave for Salt Lake City mid-afternoon Monday. Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Delta Center.
BACK IN TOWN: Rick Majerus is back in the Alamo City for the first time since leading the University of Utah to the NCAA Championship game.
He returned to San Antonio to provide Jazz playoff analysis for a Salt Lake television station and to participate in a Texas Association of Basketball Coaches clinic.
SIGN LANGUAGE: A sampling of fan-made signs displayed in the Alamodome Sunday.
- "The Mailman will not deliver on Mother's Day"
- "D as in David"
- "Hey Utah, get the flop out of here"
- "Spurs kicking some Jazz"
- "Return to sender, the Mailman can't deliver"
- "Hey Karl, here's your diaper, cry baby"
- "Lights out in Utah"
- "The Spurs don't need Rogaine to look good"
- "Remember the elbow"
- "Spurs got game, Malone's got Rogaine"