Utah vs San Antonio
If this ends up being a first round match-up in the west, do you think the Jazz could upset the Spurs or at least give them a run for their money?
The Jazz have size that the Spurs may lack, and I think that could be the deciding factor. Spurs love to go small with Duncan at center and Leonard at PF, but would that be enough to hold Millsap, Jefferson, Favors, and Kanter? Clearly the Spurs have been the superior team but half court basketball is key in the playoffs and I could see Jazz taking advantage in the paint.
Haywards improvement and Favors as well have been significant in their run to the playoffs.
ps I really like what the Jazz have been doing. Rebuilding their team back into contention slowly without having to blow it up. I'm excited to see how their current players (burks, favors, Kanter, Hayward) can develop with the addition of maybe Marshall and Perry Jones, etc.
I think they could make it an interesting series. Do I think they can win? Yeah sure. Similar to Memphis last year they have very good scoring in the post. The only problem I have for them is how do they stop Tony Parker once he's in the paint? I think Favors defensive presence is going to be huge in the Jazz success in this series. He's their one prolific shot blocker on the front line and should see more extended action in an attempt to alter parker's shots. I love the Jazz, but the Spurs are going to be playing with a little extra edge after being upset last year in the first round. My pick would be Spurs in 6.
You've both made excellent points. The Spurs have been so consistent and Parker already single handidly blew the Jazz up once this year. Still, Devin Harris has been much better lately for the Jazz and the addition of Carol (defensive specialst at the 2/3) give the Jazz a better chance of slowing Parker down. IMO for the Jazz to really have a chance Al Jefferson is going to have to be uncommonly energized and Hayward will have to be in his groove. If Jefferson's moving his feet and Hayward is knocking down 3s, I could see an upset. But the most likely scenario is probably Spurs in 6.
I see Spurs taking the series.
Al Jefferson hasn't shown at anytime that he's capable of moving his feet throughout the game, especially on defense, and every game him and Millsap say they're going to defend the pick'n'roll, they get exposed. Unless Corbin goes with the big lineup he's shown lately with Jefferson, Favors and Millsap then maybe the Jazz can steal a game or two because Favors has shown he can consistently lock down the pick'n'roll like nobody has been able to do in Utah for over 10 years.
As good as Hayward has been, both offensively and defensively, he's going to have to do both very well if Jazz have any chance. He'll need to slow Parker or Ginobli and also contribute on offensive end if Jazz want to take a game.
Spurs in 4 or 5. - If Jefferson is focus of offense. (Imagine that beatiful Jerry Sloan offense of constant movement - now picture what Jazz fans watched all season - Jefferson in the post with 3 defenders, the rest of the Jazz stop moving and standstill and watch, then Jefferson forces 1 over 3 defenders)
Spurs in 6 or 7 - If Favors and Hayward can succesfully be focus on offense.
Regardless, Popavich is the best coach in the NBA by far and his Spurs have always shown a nack for making Utah look predictable and easy to stop on offense.
Nobody has to have a nack for stoping us. Jefferson successfully does it every time he catches it in the post.
I think the Spurs would take it in 5-6 games.
It wouldn't be similar to the Memphis series because now the Spurs have Manu healthy, which was a big factor in them losing the series against Memphis last year. Besides that, they also have some insane depth this year with Popovich using every player in a perfect role.
First things first beat the Suns. As a Jazz fan I'm excited the Jazz are back in playoff contention so soon after the D-Will/Boozer era ended. But the Spurs are really good. It's going to take a monumental effort to beat the red hot Spurs.
Still I would pick the Jazz in 7. I wouldn't pick against my team even if they were playing the 96 Bulls.