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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Playing with house money

By Tony Pizza

My grandma is one of the last people in Utah most people would guess is a diehard Jazz fan.

She barely tops out at five feet and she might weigh 100 pounds if she wears a large cowbell around her neck. She’s the prototypical grandma you’d find frequenting any yarn or craft store, but if the Jazz are on TV she’s nailed to the edge of her seat watching the game with an intense devotion that would make any beer-bellied Bears fan stare in awe.

I have to admit, though, I worry about my grandma’s intensity toward the Jazz. I worry a lot.

In fact, it was that very concern that led me to call my grandma about two minutes after the Jazz clinched a 103-99 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs back on May 5.

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Grandma…you didn’t have a heart attack, did you?”

Grandma: “No, but can you believe that game? I don’t care how the Jazz do now, I just really wanted them to win and get to the next round.”

Shortly after I got off the phone, I reflected on what my dear old grandma had said. It immediately dawned on me that she had summed up my feelings perfectly.

All I wanted for the Jazz this year was for guys like Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Paul Millsap and the rest of the untested Jazz players to get a little taste of what it took to win in the playoffs.

I felt like after the Houston series, it was all gravy from there. I just wanted this team to grow and mature for the future.

To get to play the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals is like getting free lessons on how to play playoff basketball. Do I still think the Jazz can win being down 2-0? Sure–nothing with this team would surprise me this year. But I’m not getting my hopes up, either.

Every time Manu Ginobili drives uncontested down the lane, I want to yell “DEFENSE” like my grandma does. But I have to remember that nobody in the league has been able to stop that guy.

Every time Tim Duncan sifts through the Jazz defense with another “Big Fundamental” pass or post move, I want to cuss till my eyes bleed, “Boozer, what are you doing?” But I have to remember Duncan is the greatest power forward since Karl Malone.

Every time Tony Parker burns the Jazz for another layup I want to scream till it hurts, “You don’t deserve Eva Longoria, you stupid French fry!” Um…I mean, I want to yell, “Come on guys, don’t pick him up behind the 3-point line, he can’t shoot from long range.” Then I remember that the Suns had to stick the bigger Shawn Marion on him just to try and slow Parker down.

All I can do is sit back and think to myself two simple thoughts. Then I’m basically OK with everything that’s going on in the Western Conference Finals.

First, Tim Duncan has more playoff experience in his pinkie than the entire Jazz roster. Second, the Jazz have seven second-round draft picks that are getting valuable experience. That gives me hope.

Plus, if you’re a Jazz fan, how can Deron Williams’ play not make you so drunk with excitement that it’s easy to cope with the fact that the Jazz aren’t quite due for a NBA title run?

I just hope, for my grandma’s sake, that the Jazz put a title run together soon. One can only take so many heartbreaking losses before they crack. I think these playoffs have just given her a few new wrinkles.

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