Swept: Spurs 87 – Jazz 81

May 8th, 2012 | by Evan Hall
San Antonio Spurs 87 Final

Recap | Box Score

81 Utah Jazz
Paul Millsap, PF 41 MIN | 4-17 FG | 2-4 FT | 19 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +11

Millsap’s effort is above reproach (evidenced by 19 rebounds), but his shooting was absolutely abysmal. The success of the big line-up (Millsap, Favors and Jefferson) hinges on Millsap’s ability to light up his undersized defenders at the 3. His failure to do that in this series was a major factor in the Jazz’s offensive impotence.

Derrick Favors, FC 37 MIN | 4-8 FG | 8-12 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | 0

Besides free throw shooting (which was significantly better tonight than during Game 3), Favors takes nothing off the table, and he brings rim-protecting, crowd-igniting, can’t-be-denied defense every single minute he’s on the floor. The Jazz may have been swept, but Derrick Favors had himself a coming out party this series.

Al Jefferson, C 41 MIN | 13-19 FG | 0-1 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 26 PTS | 0

Statistically, another good game for Big Al. This much I know: Big Al was meant for a methodical, halfcourt defense in which his role is clearly defined, and this Jazz team is meant to get up and run. Big Al was a major contributor in getting the Jazz here, but now that the youngsters are ready to spread their wings and fly, Big Al would only weigh them down.

Devin Harris, PG 35 MIN | 6-17 FG | 7-9 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 19 PTS | +15

No Jazz player has improved his standing among Jazz fans this season more than Devin Harris. Early in the season, Harris was even rumored to be on the trading block. Fast forward to the playoffs, and the only player with the offensive firepower to incite a Jazz comeback was the formerly maligned point guard. Harris deserves another 700 words singing his praises, and fortunately, I have already done that.

Gordon Hayward, SG 25 MIN | 0-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -2

Offensively, Gordon Hayward played a one game series (17 points in Game 1 and 12 points total in Games 2-4), and consequently, the Jazz could only play a four game series. Hayward is only a second year player and a first year participant in the playoffs, so to expect him to carry the team in the same way he did during the last two months of the playoff push was probably overwhelming. I’m comforted in the knowledge that Hayward’s disappearing act this series will torture no one more than it will torture him.

DeMarre Carroll, F 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +1

On waves of pure defensive energy, DeMarre Carroll single-handedly brought this team back to life in the 4th quarter. For the first time all series, the Spurs looked vulnerable, and DeMarre Carroll was the man who drew first blood. Carroll’s performance this season was more than anyone could have demanded or anticipated, and he’s removed any doubt that he deserves a roster spot on an NBA team.

Alec Burks, G 16 MIN | 0-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -16

Admittedly, my expectations for Burks this season became unrealistically bloated. When he first began unleashing his unparalleled athleticism on the league, it was easy to forget that his decision-making would need time to match his abilities. Tonight was another reminder that he still needs time.

Two Things We Saw

  1. This team has been a joy to watch. The furious comeback at the end of this game was a fitting end to a team that consistently exceeded expectations. I have not loved a Jazz team as much as this one in a decade. This group of players genuinely cared about each other, and when they harnessed that camaraderie into basketball performance, they were
  2. As harsh as the conclusion to this season was, it shouldn’t overshadow that this year, Kevin O’Connor and the Jazz definitively proved that a team can rebuild and compete simultaneously. The relative pros and cons of the D-Will trade could be debated endlessly, but KOC and the Jazz’s front office took less than a year to assemble a roster full of young talent that could compete immediately, and that kind of managerial prowess deserves league-wide recognition.

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