- The Utah Jazz are going to go big or go home. Well, they may be going home anyway, but they are going big for tonight’s Game 4. Derrick Favors is replacing Josh Howard in the starting lineup, putting Utah’s best five on the floor to start the game. Favors joins Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson in the team’s big three frontcourt, as well as guards Gordon Hayward and Devin Harris in the starting five.
- Favors, who has been the Jazz’s best player in the series, should help Utah both offensively and defensively. They certainly need his help from the outset, as Utah’s first quarter defense has been lousy in the series. The Jazz have allowed 28, 28 and 30 first quarter points in the first three games of the series. “We have to get off to a better start on both ends of the floor,” said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. “Defensively, we can use our size and length to keep them out of the paint, and challenge shots on the perimeter.”
- Starting Favors doesn’t necessarily solve all the Jazz’s woes, as San Antonio has outscored Utah by 10 points in the 28 minutes Favors, Millsap and Jefferson have been on the floor together in the series. That doesn’t bode greatly for the Jazz, but it is better than the 19.3 points per game that they’ve lost the previous three games of the series by. Corbin hopes Favors helps with Utah’s points in the paint, where the Jazz have been outscored 170-108 in the series.
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he won’t make any changes to his starting lineup to counter Utah’s big three lineup. He’s sticking with Tony Parker, Danny Green, Boris Diaw, Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard as his starters, and he understands why Corbin is making changes. “I’d probably do something different, too,” Popovich said. “In the playoffs, you win, you pretty much stay the game. You lose, you usually change something a little bit. It’s just the nature of the beast. We’ve all been there. That might be an adjustment that works well for them.”
- Corbin is hoping to see his team respond like the New York Knicks, who were in the same position as the Jazz yesterday. The Knicks, down 0-3, upset the Miami Heat in New York on Sunday to stave off elimination. “I thought it was great,” Corbin said “The guys’ backs were against the wall. They fought, scratched. Baron Davis went down and (they) continued to work. I thought they did a great job just continuing to compete.”
- Corbin is staying optimistic despite San Antonio’s 3-0 lead, saying he’s packed and ready for Game 5. “I can throw something in it real quick,” Corbin said of his travel bag. “I always keep a bag ready to go. I’m looking forward to going on the plane tomorrow.”