Facebook Twitter

Panic time?

Now that it appears the Jazz won't be doing anything next week except taking the kids to the zoo, and it's all over but ordering the pick-me-up bouquets, it's time for drastic measures. They have two days to bail every last ounce of water from the Titanic; 48 hours to fix Apollo 13 with plastic and duct tape.

Having fallen behind 3-1 in their best-of-seven series, they are now faced with the sad reality that they've tried everything. They've switched the starting centers, inserting Greg Ostertag for Greg Foster - to no avail. They've put Adam Keefe in as a starter, and that didn't work, either. They've cleared their bench. They've used four different players on Michael Jordan. They've tried everything short of calling in the Army Reserves.And still they have nothing to show for their efforts.

Clearly, it's time for a radical change of direction; time to get crazy and head off to a strange place where they can find themselves.

It's time to do a Rodman.

The Jazz don't need to play it close to the vest anymore. What's to lose? They need to fly to Vegas for an all-night binge. They need to bail out on practice. They need to camouflage their hair, stay up all night gambling, neck with the waitresses at Hooters in the afternoon and show up on Monday Nitro to whack a guy named DDP over the head with a chair.

They need to flee from the media and act mysterious. They need to open a bar with their names out front and smoke big, smelly cigars. They need to date Madonna and write tell-all books.

They need to threaten to quit, to bust up the gang. They need to feud with the management and swear they'll never play in the city again. They need to treat different players by different rules.

They need to act like the Bulls.

The Jazz need look no further than Rodzilla himself for most of their inspiration. The man is the creepy answer to all their problems. He spent most of this week acting like he's ready to jump out of his skin. He's been making appearances in various and sundry places - except for practice - acting completely out of his mind.

Yet for all his antics, Rodman comes through at the strangest times. For instance, Wednesday night. After dodging around all week, missing interview sessions, skipping practice and galloping around the Midwest in search of entertainment, he was back and grooving in Game 4.

He got 14 rebounds and held Karl Malone to just one shot during the time he was guarding him in the fourth quarter. Most important, he made two free throws with 2:53 left in the game to put the Bulls ahead by two. Then he landed two clutch free throws with 43.9 seconds remaining, putting the Bulls ahead 81-77.

"There's no understanding Dennis," said Jordan. "The guy steps up and makes four free throws in the closing minutes. What else can you say about him? He may go wrestle tomorrow. He may not practice, I don't know. But he seems to excel in adversity. We've come to grips with that. It's amazing."

Rodman, of course, has been on a binge ever since the NBA Finals began. First, he went to Las Vegas after the first game, hoping to get his biorhythms back in sync. He claimed he couldn't breathe in Salt Lake City, that the place made him feel like his tattoos were shrinking.

Early this week, Rodman continued his tear by gambling all night on an Indiana riverboat, popping up at Hooters for lunch to smooch with the help, and, finally, landing on television for World Championship Wrestling. Now he was in some places he could breathe.

In the wake of the latest spree, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan admitted he wouldn't have Rodman on his team, period. Chicago coach Phil Jackson, apparently sensitive to the remarks, fired back at the shoot-around on Wednesday, saying there was little difference between Rodman and Stockton, other than their off-court behavior.

The Jazz probably should take that as a compliment.

At any rate, by the time Wednesday's game was over, Jackson was looking like a genius. Rodman had been great, the Bulls had won and two things were clear. First, Rodman does better when he's on the lam; and second, the Jazz have been good boys long enough.