Posted May 03, 2012 on AP on Fox
Popovichface
Coach Gregg Popovich modeled his San Antonio Spurs after the small-market Utah Jazz, following the lead of Jerry Sloan, who had a no-nonsense style and hard-nosed players. If the first two games of their first-round Western Conference matchup are any indication, the Jazz still have a long way to go to regain the swagger of the good old days under Sloan, Karl Malone and John Stockton. They have lost two games by 56 points combined, including Wednesday night's 41-point blowout loss that had coach Tyrone Corbin talking about starting over. Game 3 is Saturday. ''We got to learn our lessons from it and scrap it, and then start over,'' said Corbin, who is looking for his first postseason victory since taking over as Jazz head coach following Sloan's abrupt retirement on Feb. 10, 2011. The only good news for the Jazz is they have been much better at home, going 25-8, compared to 11-22 on the road during the regular season. They also score 4 1/2 more points at home, give up six fewer on average and shoot better overall. Even that may not be enough against a Spurs team that has stars, depth and a knockout mentality. ''It's tough. Tough loss for us,'' Corbin said of Utah's second-worst playoff loss ever. ''But you know what, these guys did what they're supposed to do on their home court and win these two ball games. We got to make sure to get our mindset to go home and win some games.'' Corbin opted not to make his team available to the media on Thursday, though players indicated there would be plenty of film study to figure out what went wrong. Plenty was obvious without looking at replays. The Jazz couldn't shoot - or as Popovich said, ''They couldn't throw it in the ocean.'' Utah shot just 34.4 percent, and until NBA D-League call-up Blake Ahearn hit a 3-pointer with 29 seconds remaining, the Jazz were 0 for 5 from beyond the arc - an issue that plagued them much of the year until their late-season run. They shot 26 percent from 3-point range in December, 30 percent in January, 31 percent in February, 32 percent in March and 38 percent in April. By comparison, the Spurs entered the playoffs as the top-rated 3-point team in the NBA - shooting 39 percent and making more than twice as many (562) as the Jazz (273). And Manu Ginobili acknowledges he hasn't even found his postseason rhythm yet. The players the Jazz have touted as leaders - Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Devin Harris - shot just 11 for 33 Wednesday night. Harris, who seemingly found his rhythm in April to get Utah to the postseason, has just three assists and 12 points in two playoff games. Corbin has walked a fine line all season between sticking with veterans and moving toward a youth movement. Fans who have wanted to see more out of second-year pro Derrick Favors now have more fuel. While the 6-foot-10 forward was on the bench Wednesday, the Spurs went on a 22-2 second-quarter run. Of course, the run coincided with the return of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Parker is smart enough to know the series isn't over despite San Antonio's 2-0 lead, especially since it switches to an arena he called one of the five-toughest venues for opponents. He likened Salt Lake City to playing in Europe, except without batteries or coins being tossed by fans. ''Since I've been here, when it was back with Karl Malone and John Stockton, suddenly there's no more calls,'' Parker said. ''It's like super-physical and you're like, `What happened?' It's almost like no referees. It's great (in Utah). I like the atmosphere.'' Popovich spoke eloquently about the Jazz, and how the organization has done things with class, without braggadocio or ''moaning or groaning'' to the media. ''They set the tone and example for that,'' Popovich said of wanting to model his team after the Jazz. ''And, of course, Jerry did it on the court with the consistency and hard-nosed players and demanding that all the players compete at a high level unselfishly. We've tried to emulate that as best we could.'' While the Jazz are taking steps to rediscover the core that helped them to playoff success for so many years, the Spurs just roll right along. Parker wants to make sure there's no letup now. ''We definitely know they'll play better at home, with a lot more energy and shoot a lot better,'' Parker said. ''So we have to match that. We don't want to give them any hope.'' That's all Corbin can count on at this point. ''The fans have been tremendous,'' he said. ''We play better at home. It's always been that way with a young team.'' Notes: Popovich said reserve center Tiago Splitter (left wrist bone bruise) is probable for Game 3 Saturday. The Spurs will travel Friday.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES
NERD ALERT

Spurs attend 'The Avengers' premiere

The Spurs took advantage of a day off from their series with the Jazz on Thursday to take in The Avengers premiere, and Tony Parker tweeted a photo of the guys hanging out.

POWER OF PERSUASION

Tony Parker talks his way back into game

The San Antonio Spurs made quick work of the Utah Jazz in game two of their playoff series as they defeated them handily by the score of 114-83.During the game, Spurs guard Tony Parker had an interesting exchange with head coach Gregg Popovich who wanted to limit him to 29 minutes.Then, Tony P told Popovich that he was rested and to quote him, "I'm 29":

Spurs crush Jazz, take 2-0 series lead

For as much as the Utah Jazz were captured is sound bites after Game 1 talking about being more intense, playing more physical and all but putting a bounty on San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker's head, Game 2 proved to be an even tougher challenge with the Spurs playing the aggressor. The Jazz fought from behind all game, never taking a lead in the Spurs 114-83 thrashing. ...

Reserves Leonard, Green lead Spurs to 114-83 rout over Utah

SAN ANTONIO - With an almost blank expression on his face, it was impossible to tell that San Antonio rookie Kawhi Leonard had just played a leading role in his team's 114-83 conquest of Utah Wednesday at the AT&T Center. It wasn't much different with Danny Green, another member of the Spurs' supporting cast who took center stage. While they might not have been...

Spurs' Green, Parker receive votes for MIP

Though Orlando Magic's Ryan Anderson took home the 2011-12 NBA Most Improved Player award today, San Antonio Spurs' Danny Green and Tony Parker garnered a few votes for the award. Green received 27 overall votes and Parker received three votes for MIP falling way short of Anderson's 260 overall votes. Green and Parker truly deserved some votes considering Green wasn...

Jazz head coach Corbin says he needs to chill

Tyrone Corbin’s first ever playoff game as a head coach didn’t go exactly as he would have hoped. The Utah Jazz were clearly overmatched by the San Antonio Spurs, and Corbin thinks a lot of that comes down to his coaching and the way he felt during the game. "I felt fine right up to the beginning of the game, and then the jitters started," Corbin said. "...

San Antonio Spurs 114, Utah Jazz 83

SAN ANTONIO -- Role players Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard combined to nearly outscore Utah in the first half, helping San Antonio take an insurmountable lead en route to a 114-83 victory Wednesday at the AT&T Center in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Spurs hold a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series, which shifts to Utah for Saturday's Game...

Spurs 114, Jazz 83

Tony Parker scored 18 points and the San Antonio Spurs handed Utah its second-worst playoff loss in franchise history, beating the Jazz 114-83 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round series. NBA Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich practically put the Spurs on autopilot after a 20-0 run in the second quarter that stunned the Jazz, who had vowed to play better after...

Dentmon, Ahearn Headline 2012 All-D-League Team

Justin Dentmon, Blake Ahearn, Edwin Ubiles, Malcolm Thomas and Greg Smith were named to the First Team.

Popovich Modeled Spurs After Jazz When Taking Job

When Gregg Popovich took over the Spurs in the mid-90s, he sought to create a formula of small market success similar to the Jazz.

San Antonio v. Utah Game Two: Jazz 2nd Half Points

Well, the Spurs just went on a 22-2 run to end a first half where they only allowed the Jazz to score 28 points on 11 field goals (47 attempts). The Spurs, of course, scored a very respectable 53. So I think what I'll do for the rest of the game is record each Jazz field goal in the second half, so we can all relive these rare moments once the game is over. Third Quarter...

King's trip to Euroleague Final Four chance for Nets to monitor Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko has not changed his stance about returning to the NBA every since he stood on the floor at the 2011 European Championship as part of the all-tournament team last September and contemplated offers in Russia from both CSKA Moscow and Spartak St. Petersburg. Back then Kirilenko carefully weighed his overseas options in light of a lingering work stoppage in the NBA...

Bulls' Thibodeau has nothing but praise for Popovich

If you consider the fact that reigning MVP Derrick Rose missed almost half the season to various injuries, the Chicago Bulls had a hell of a season.  The Bulls still would've had a hell of a season even if Rose hadn't missed all those games.  They finished with the same record as the San Antonio Spurs and looked great, especially on defense even when Rose was out.  Much...

Video: Garnett says Spurs' Popovich only other coach who could handle Celtics

The " Big 3" in Boston of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett ("Big 4" if you want to throw in Rajon Rondo) is one of the most respected, accomplished group of teammates of all time. It seems like those guys have been together forever and they’ve been led by their coach, Doc Rivers, to an NBA title and some other solid runs to go along with it. Pierce...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.