For the Utah Jazz and the Cleveland Cavaliers going home worked wonders. With both teams down 2 games to zip, each pulled off a victory. The Jazz beat the Spurs 109 to 83 in game three, using some excellent defense and finding the three-point mark. The Cavs managed to get by the Pistons 88- 82 in an extremely tough defensive series that is yet to see a blow out.The second game for Utah was not so good. They were beaten by the Spurs 91- 79. So much for going home. At the end of period three, the Jazz were within one 63- 62. Then Manu Ginobili, that fairly unknown entity last year from Europe who has become a major NBA force very quickly, took over. The shooting guard drew foul after foul and hit free throw after free throw. By gameâ€™s end, heâ€™d hit 12 of 15 frees, 2 of 4 threes and 4 of 10 from the floor! He also grabbed 6 rebounds and had 3 steals.
He was the gameâ€™s crunch time force.
In this game it did not come down to defense. It was won and lost based on disciplined play, three-pointers and frees.
The Spurs were given 41 shots from the free throw line, while the Jazz got only 20. The Spurs earned 30 points in frees, the Jazz only 14. Thereâ€™s the game right there. Lesson for the Jazz if they hope to get to game sixâ€”stop fouling the Spurs. They will bury you at the charity stripe.
From downtown, the Spurs were 5 of 15, accumulating 15 points. The Jazz hit one of seven, getting three points. Thereâ€™s the game again. Put those three stats togetherâ€”number of times sent to the line, number of frees made and percentage of threes hit and it does not matter one whit that the Jazz had better ball movement, were tougher on â€œD,â€? and hit 47% from the floor, while the Spurs hit only 41%. All of those figures are merely statistics, the essence of winning was found in sound play and taking advantage of the chance to create free throw opportunities and then converting them.
Game 5 from San Antonio will be played tomorrow at 9 PM ET.