As he is wont to do, Jerry Sloan found a cloud in almost every silver lining related to the Jazz's performance in their 83-81 win over the Bulls Friday night.
When asked Saturday after practice whether the Jazz were more physical in Game 5, he gave a sarcasm-laced response."Go back and take another look at it and see 13 turnovers we had (in the first half). You think that was pretty physical?" Sloan asked. "I didn't think that was very physical at all, just throwing the ball away. . . . We're in a do-or-die situation and we handled the basketball like it's a hand grenade."
Point well-taken. The Jazz did drop the bomb, er, the ball quite often in the first half. It was no coincidence they trailed 36-30 after two quarters.
"When you are in a do-or-die situation, if that doesn't motivate you I don't know what will. That's why I was disappointed with the way we started the game," Sloan added. "Thirteen turnvovers in a game that's do-or-die, it looked like it wasn't that important."
But what about the smart defensive switch you made, putting Bryon Russell exclusively on Michael Jordan and Jeff Hornacek on Scottie Pippen? That had to play a factor in Jordan making only nine of 26 shots and Pippen missing 14 out of 16 attempts, right?
"Nah, I don't think it bothered them too much," he guffawed. "They just missed some shots. They missed a lot of shots. I don't think (the switch) did that much."
Well, at least Antoine Carr gave you an unexpected lift - 12 points worth - when you started him in the second half. Was that his best outing in a Jazz uniform?
"He's had a lot of good games for us," Sloan shrugged. "Antoine caught the ball and had a couple of passes and rebounded the ball a couple of times and made a couple of shots. You're trying to make this such a difficult thing."
Jazz fans can only hope he's this pessimistic after tonight's game.
FILM AT ELEVEN: Karl Malone probably won't be doing any exclusive interviews with one certain Chicago-based TV station.
As the Mailman worked on his outside jumper following practice at Westminster College, a Chicago cameraman taped his every make and miss. When Malone noticed, he asked him to turn his camera off but the cameraman kept on shooting.
Malone then approached the cameraman and confronted him another time. This time, after a semi-heated discussion, he complied with the Mailman's wish.
Malone, who was the Game 5 hero with 39 points, finished his personal practice and then stormed out of the gym without talking to the rest of the assembled media.
At least he had a reason not to talk. The rest of the Jazz players, aside from Carr, bolted from the gym right after practice and then avoided the media rush by leaving through a back exit.
PACK YOUR PEPTO-BISMOL: Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen aren't the only ones from Illinois who have openly voiced their displeasure with returning to Utah. Barry Rozner, a columnist for the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, a rag based in the Chicago suburb, wrote this in Saturday morning's paper:
"Dennis Rodman is right about one thing: The thought of five extra days in Utah is enough to make anyone sick."
DON'T PAT THE BIG DAWG: Like his coach, Carr wasn't just satisfied that the Jazz saved face in Chicago. In that regard, please save the congratulatory pats on the back for later.
"We haven't done anything yet. We have to get Game 6," he said. "If we can get that, then we can talk about maybe a pat on the back, slightly. And I still don't want it after that unless we have a championship ring. If we get that, then you can pat me on the back."
Here's guessing the Big Dawg doesn't want anybody petting him, either.
WILL THE CARR START? Inserting Carr into the second-half starting rotation worked wonders for the Jazz Friday. So, one reporter asked, is he going to start tomorrow?
Sloan: "I don't know. You think he should?"
Reporter: "He looked pretty good."
Sloan: "Well, maybe we'll start him then. I'll take anybody's advice I can get."