There are many words which could be used to described game four of the Western conference finals between the Jazz and Spurs, but I am going to use only oneĖ deplorable.
There are very little positives that could be said about the game, both teams played horribly; the referees made bad call upon bad call all game long; the conduct of the fans inside Energy Solutions Arena was reprehensible; and the fact that this was a pivotal playoff game which was played like a preseason game made it all the worse.
Though the official tally for turnovers was 11 for the Spurs, and 17 for the Jazz, it seemed like a lot more. Both teams played sloppy mistake filled basketball throughout the game. Defense was pretty much nonexistent, since any time either team attempted to play defense they would be called for a foul. The lack of defense and low scoring affair give this game some sort of boring irony, neither team shot all that well especially when you take into account that both teams had been shooting around 50% for the series. The Jazz mustered a respectable 47 percent, while the Spurs got to 40 percent.
The only player for either team which really stood out in this game was Deron Williams, who was magnificent in the first half, but faded away in the second. Not having a player stand out for the Spurs is anything new, thatís just how their team functions; they donít win because they have superstars, even though they do, they win because have all the right pieces which just fit together in a way that they can run an effective offense.
Most Jazz fans would agree that the MVP of the game was referee Steve Javie. Now a referee isnít the only reason a team loses a game, but Javie took the bad calls a step further. In the first half he really seemed to pick on the Spurs, killing their momentum at least three times. Momentum that the Spurs would have likely used to blow the game open in the second quarter like they had in the first two games of the series. In the second half Javie picked on the Jazz, this was especially evident in the 4th quarter when the Spurs out shot the Jazz 22-2 from the free throw line. What is most infuriating about this is that the other two referees, Ken Mauer, and Joe DeRosa, sat on their whistles nearly the entire game; when they did make a call Javie, being the senior referee, would override them.
It wasnít just the referees which made this game an unpleasant experience, the fans at Energy Solutions Arena were despicable. Chanting ďrefereesí suckĒ is not what I am upset about, itís the throwing of objects onto the court after the game so that ESPN could not conduct an interview with Tim Duncan, itís also the fans fighting with members of the US Marine Corps; yes Utah Jazz fans fought with American Service men on Memorial day.
Jazz fans have been known to throw stuff at the referees before, a few years ago after a game someone threw a bottle of water and hit a referee as he was leaving, injury the referee enough that he missed a day of work. Fans throwing objects onto the court is inexcusable, we all witnessed what can happen if the wrong player it struck with something a fan throws a few years ago when Ron Artest started the riot in Detroit. NBA fans should have learned from this, and should never engage in such activities because it is disrespectful to the players, the other fans, the teams, the league, the city, and the game of basketball as a whole.
Fighting with the Marines was another thing which was just saddening to watch. These Marines had been the color guard for the National Anthem before the game. I missed how the initial exchange began, but it involved a basketball which had been slingshot into the stands. It looked to me as it bounced near one fan, than up to the Marines. The fan than got into the Marines face and actually punched the Marine, the Marine was held back by two of his buddies. They argued heatedly for a few minutes before an elderly gentleman calmed the situation down. Shortly there after security came and asked the Marines, and the row to leave the game.
All in all this was a sorry excuse for a basketball game. Being a Jazz fan I have to apologize for the actions of my fellow fans, we are not all like that. Most Jazz fans are good people who come to support the cities only major profession sports team(RSL doesnít count), and people who want to have a good time. My only hope is that there is a game six and that Jazz fans can redeem themselves, if there is and they canít redeem themselves, than the Jazz have a huge publicity fiasco on their hands.