The Utah Jazz find themselves in an early 1-0 hole in their first round, best-of-seven series against the first place San Antonio Spurs. In a series that no one is expecting the Jazz to win or even compete in, Utah showed that they were at least going to put up a fight. Yeah they lost by 15 and no one watching the game ever thought Utah was about to steal game 1, but they didn’t lie down either. Going into the series I thought the two most important keys for the Jazz were going to be minimizing mistakes and not getting buried in the 1st quarter. The Jazz had an impressive start by taking an early 11-6 lead and found themselves answering each attempt by San Antonio to break the game open. In the end the dominating play of Tony Parker was too much for the Jazz to handle as they lost 106-91. Utah ended the game with 14 turnovers and gave up the ball 10 times. San Antonio is a team that will make you pay nearly every time if you give them opportunities to do so.
The Spurs basically showed the Jazz what to expect in this series but there is a lot more room for the Jazz to improve. Devin Harris has been impressive the last stretch of the season and has been playing his best basketball as a Jazz-man as of late, but if he continues to play like he did in game 1 the Jazz will be out fishing sooner than they’d wish. Harris scored a measly 7 points off of 3-9 shooting, had just 2 assists and turned the ball over 5 times. That is not acceptable. If the Jazz can get rid of the “first playoff game” nerves and do what got them here, they will make this series interesting. That means not starting Josh Howard and letting Burks, Favors and Kanter, the future of this team, get the playing time.
There were some positives for the Jazz to take away. Paul Millsap showed up and nearly had a double-double by scoring 20 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, Gordon Hayward had 17 points, snatched 3 rebounds, dished out 2 assists and had 2 blocks. Utah will need more from Jefferson and Harris if they hope to extend this series. As an 8th seed, all you can ask for as a fan is to see them compete and hope the team will use it as experience in the future.