Unwilling to fight fire with fire, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan didn't show his team any movie clips Wednesday.
"I wouldn't know what to show them," said Sloan, not a renowned moviegoer.There ought to be something appropriate. How about "Braveheart?" No, the good guys lose. OK, what about "Babe?" After all, Sloan is an offseason farmer; a pig movie might fire him up, at least. Maybe "Showgirls?" Big no; wrong kind of motivation.
Naturally, San Antonio coach Bob Hill already used the best basketball movie of all time on his guys, which sparked them - by some accounts - to an 11-point win over the Jazz in Game 5 on Tuesday.
Or maybe it was the Shakespeare quoted by Hill to his team, though one wonders if the average NBA player can hang with Elizabethan English. Besides, if Hill knew what he was doing, he would have quoted the speech from Henry V, "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; or close the wall up with our English dead!"
Can you imagine such words coming from Sloan's mouth?
Anyway, Sloan thought his own team's willingness to concede rebounds, especially in the middle, was a bigger factor than any influence Will Shakespeare may have had.
"We had five rebounds out of our center position," he said. "That's not enough to beat anybody. We might as well play a guard in there. Maybe he'd get one that bounces out long."
Sloan did acknowledge that Hill's switch to starting Will Perdue in place of Charles Smith at power forward helped the Spurs.
"He made a difference in getting them started off good," Sloan said.
Karl Malone, meanwhile, appearing playfully feisty after Wednesday's practice, was unwilling to talk about anything but Game 6 - 7 p.m. tonight - at the Delta Center, despite the efforts of certain media types to draw him out on other topics - such as what happens if the Jazz were to lose this series.
"I can't wait for this game," he said. "I'm looking forward to it. I'm not talking about any `Ifs,' I'm only talking about (Thursday).
"We're ready to play in our house," he continued. "I know they're going to come ready to play. We are too. I don't give a (hoot) about no history."
The Mailman had a poor performance on Tuesday, and his tendency has been to bounce back from weak games in the postseason.
"I probably played half a game (Tuesday)," Malone said. "I'll give you guys a full game tomorrow and we'll see what happens."
Asked if John Stockton was healthy, after the Jazz point guard suffered a hamstring "tweak" in Game 5, Malone said, "He'll be fine. He'll give us what he's got, which is a lot."
This is starting to look familiar. The Spurs won Game 2 by 11 points and declared themselves in good shape, while the Jazz acknowledged that they didn't play great. Malone promised a better performance in Game 3. The result: A 30-point Jazz victory.
It is true, however, that the Spurs played better in Game 5 than they did in Game 2. San Antonio center David Robinson declared himself back after a 24-point game, even though he made just seven of 21 shots. The fact is, Spurs guards Avery Johnson and Vinny Del Negro hurt the Jazz more than the Admiral. Both San Antonio guards were aggressive offensively after being tentative in earlier games, and both scored 21 points.
The Spurs should have plenty of motivation. One more loss and their season is over, and they'll likely be subjected to an offseason worth of "what happened"?
GAME NOTES: As of Wednesday, the Jazz still had tickets available for Game 6. Tickets can be purchased at the Delta Center, by calling 355-, 621- or 377-DUNK, or at any SmithTix outlet.
Jazz vs. Spurs
Game 1: Utah 95, San Antonio 75
Game 2: San Antonio 88, Utah 77
Game 3: Utah 105, San Antonio 75
Game 4: Utah 101, San Antonio 86
Game 5: San Antonio 98, Utah 87
Game 6: Thursday, May 16 San Antonio at Utah, 7 p.m.
Game 7: Saturday, May 18 Utah at San Antonio, TBA, (NBC), if necessary.