SAN ANTONIO -- On a day when Kobe Bryant sabotaged the basketball world with his mind games, the best team in basketball went out and handled its business quietly and efficiently.
This is a team most of you call boring, right? Not fun to watch?
|The West trophy returns to its rightful owners: Tony Parker and the Spurs. (Getty Images)|
The Spurs made quick work of Utah, and by quick work I mean the game was over before the first quarter even ended, displaying a vicious killer instinct. The Jazz came in weakened with a hampered Deron Williams and Derek Fisher still en route from New York City, where he was supporting his young daughter in her bout with an eye condition.
Michael Finley hit his first two shots. Tony Parker hit five of his first six. The Spurs were relentless, knocking down the final shot of the first quarter and the first five shots of the second. Their lead grew to 44-21 before the onslaught finally stopped.
Fisher knew before he even entered the arena that his Jazz had no chance.
He suited up anyway, which is one thing Utah fans can be proud of. This is definitely a learning experience for the young Jazz, and they had some pretty disciplined, determined mentors.
How to win a championship 101, instructed by Dean Gregg Popovich.
It's a tough class, but worthwhile.
Popovich is a major part of why the Spurs are what they are, a robot of a basketball team that simply never stops.
Late in the first half, after tracking down his own rebound following a missed layup, Parker went back up into traffic rather than pulling it back out for a better shot. He missed, and boy did he hear about it during the next stoppage of play. Popovich berated him for a good 10 seconds, drilling in what he expected. At that point, the Jazz had cut a 23-point lead to 17, and the Spurs coach sensed his team was losing its edge.
Utah never had a chance, and in Game 5, it can use Williams' injury as an excuse. He's used this postseason as a platform to demonstrate just how good he's become, and it was unfortunate that the heart of the Jazz squad wasn't able to be himself due to a sprained right foot. It was obvious very early that he wouldn't be able to overcome it like he did the stomach flu on Monday night.
If you ask Williams, a lot of his teammates badly needed the lessons San Antonio taught.