Predictions: Spurs-Jazz through the looking glass

You’ve read our series preview posts analyzing the San Antonio Spurs’ first round matchup with the previewjazzUtah Jazz, but now it’s time to find out where we stand on the series. I polled the Project Spurs staff, some of our blogger friends and local media members to see how they thought the Spurs would fare against the Jazz.

Sweep

Paul Garcia, Project Spurs lead writer
Spurs in four. I’ve watched every Spurs-Jazz game this season and have yet to feel like the Jazz would have a chance at defeating the Spurs in a 48-minute ball game. Even when the “Big Three” were rested and the Spurs lost to Utah, I still thought San Antonio’s reserves were going to pull out the win. The Spurs have too much depth, too much fire power on offense for the Jazz to match up with, and have so many versatile defensive lineups that I think they can limit the Jazz’ heavy hitters of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and Devin Harris.

Art Garcia, Former Fox Sports and NBA.com columnist
This series has Spurs in four written all over it. While the Jazz should be commended for squeezing into the tournament, they’ve got no shot. The Spurs are rested, healthy and good. Real good. My only question is whether Pop gives Timmy, Manu and Tony Game 3 off.

5 Games

Michael De Leon, Project Spurs founder
While the Utah Jazz draw comparisons to last year’s Memphis Grizzlies team that upset the top-seeded Spurs, they aren’t as strong in other as the Grizzlies were and these are not the same Spurs either. With a healthy, deep team paired with playoff experience and the best coach in the business, the Spurs will take this series with the gentleman’s sweep of five games with the Jazz winning a close game at home.

Jeff Garcia, Project Spurs co-founder

Spurs in 5. The Spurs learned a valuable lesson in the regular season in their first matchup versus the Lakers – matching size for size may not work as Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol obliterated the Spurs. The same can be said here as they face Utah.

The Jazz are much bigger than the Spurs so expect the Spurs to run on Utah as they did in the final two meetings against LA.

Utah’s frontline will be able to win one game for them but the Spurs depth and favorable backcourt will win the series. Plus, I am sure the Spurs are still haunted by last season’s upset by the Grizzlies, so expect them to come out like gang busters.

Trevor Zickgraf, Project Spurs staff writer
This series has all the makings of Spurs in five. With Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all rested and healthy, I expect the Spurs to come out on fire Sunday and have that carry over to game two. Down 2-0, I think the Jazz will win game three in Salt Lake City, but the Spurs will bounce back, take game four and go back to San Antonio and close out at home for Game 5. Despite the size problems, I don’t think the Spurs will have too many problems scoring against these Jazz and will keep the tempo up to make Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors trail behind a lot of Spurs fast breaks. Spurs in 5.

Humberto Cervera, Project Spurs staff writer
Spurs in 5. At first glance, Spurs fans might think that a 4-1 win over the Jazz is going to be quick and easy, this series will be anything but that. Going up against front line of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap will be a workout, but it’s a good thing the Spurs will have so many bodies to throw at them. The Spurs bench will put this series out of reach for them. Look out for the performance of Matt Bonner. This season, in the 97 minutes he was the court vs the Jazz the Spurs are +38. To put that into context, Splitter played 64 minutes this season vs the Jazz and the Spurs were -3 with him on the court.

Kyle Boenitz, Project Spurs staff writer
Originally I wanted to say Spurs in 6 because I felt that the Jazz could give the Spurs some trouble in Utah, but I don’t see them winning back to back games against the Spurs even if they are at home, and I don’t see them winning in San Antonio. The Jazz have some great big man that are going to cause some problems for the Spurs, but San Antonio’s overwhelming advantage in every other position will help them win this series easily. Spurs in 5.

Tim Griffin, San Antonio Express-News
Utah overcame a slow start and is peaking as the regular season finishes. The Jazz have the kind of size with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors that could pose some problems. And Devin Harris has been known to trouble Tony Parker in previous playoff series. But this is a different Spurs team. I think the team’s depth and perimeter shooting is the difference in a series where Tyrone Corbin will try to slow the Spurs down in a battle of wills with Gregg Popovich. This time, I’m betting that Paul Millsap wishes he kept his mouth shut earlier this season. He’ll see all of the Spurs’ complete roster — and then some — in a five-game victory for San Antonio that won’t insult him. It will just end his season after one playoff round.

Richard Oliver, San Antonio Express-News

Different formula for Spurs in this year’s first round: They’re healthier, wealthier and wiser. Emphasis on healthier. Spurs in 5.

Paul Castro, Spurs Spanish Play-by-Play
I’ve seen the Jazz for a lot of years. They aren’t the same team. Without Sloan, it’s going to be hard. Hayward’s playing really great. Jefferson is Jefferson. We have to out rebound them and get some extra shots. I can see them being very physical and getting everything in the paint. I would say five games with the Jazz winning one at home.

Larry Ramirez, KSAT 12 Sports
I think it will be a tight series with the Spurs winning in five. Their depth will be key.

Spencer Campbell, The Utah Jazz Blog
The Spurs have had the Jazz’ number for the past 12 years minus a fluke 2010 season when we swept the season series. I say Spurs in five and a miracle of .4 seconds might push it to six.

John Karalis, Red’s Army, Crossover Chronicles
The Spurs have too much fire power and too much experience to be bothered too much by the Jazz. Yes, the Jazz have some very good players with size that might bother the Spurs a little, but the Jazz also don’t have the guys that will stop the Spurs, either.  Tony Parker can control the game against Devin Harris and, even if the starters play even, the Spurs bench can come in and increase the lead. Each game might not be easy, but the playoffs shouldn’t be.  In the end, though, the Spurs will make short work of the series, taking it in 5.

Chris Duel, Radio 1250 ESPN San Antonio
What a difference a year makes! With the Spurs entering the Playoffs healthy, with the #1 seed and peaking at the right time, Pop has them primed for a deep run. The best way to manage the minutes of the Big Three and keep them healthy for the next round is to shorten this series. While a sweep is a possibility, the Jazz will win one game on their home court. Spurs in Five.

6 Games

Rey Moralde, The No-Look Pass
The Jazz boast a pretty scary frontline but the Spurs provide a scary team. The Spurs are so deep that, sometimes, a guy like DeJuan Blair doesn’t even get to play. I do think that the Jazz would make this a competitive series. Some people say that Utah reminds them of Memphis of last year but this team isn’t as good as Memphis. Devin Harris seems to be playing better as of late but, again, it’d be hard to outgun a team like San Antonio. I dare Utah to stop the backcourt wizardry of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Spurs in 6.

Jody Genessey, Deseret News Jazz beat writer
The Spurs are the deepest team in the NBA and will be rested so they’ll be dangerous. I was one of the few writers that picked the Jazz to make the playoffs. They’re going to struggle against the Spurs but I think they’re going to play better than some might expect. I think they’ll pick up one or two games in Utah. Spurs in six.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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