Spurs In 'Do-or-Die' Game With Utah Tonight
May. 14, 1996
SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ It's down to one game for the San Antonio Spurs, and coach Bob Hill hopes the must-win pressure of tonight's Game 5 against the Utah Jazz wakes up his dejected team.
``Maybe we need a do-or-die situation to get us back to playing the way we're supposed to play, where we get out and run and share it and play with some enthusiasm that's born from the way we play,'' Hill said.
Utah defeated San Antonio 101-86 Sunday in Salt Lake City to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series.
With a victory tonight, the Jazz would advance to the conference finals to face Seattle. Utah's last trip to the conference finals was in 1994, when the Jazz lost to Houston.
If the Spurs win, they still must win twice more to capture the series. The sixth game would be in Utah and the seventh in San Antonio.
The Spurs said they are finished making major adjustments in their strategy and are concentrating instead on the enthusiasm they need to win.
``It takes everything you have. This is what you work for. You've just got to fight and get it,'' David Robinson said.
Utah's Karl Malone doesn't expect Robinson to give up.
``If there's anybody who can come back, it's San Antonio. Bet on David coming back and playing his heart out ... that's the hardest thing to do _ play someone with their back to the wall,'' Malone said.
Malone scored 22 points for Utah on Sunday, and Chris Morris had 25.
``We know they are going to come out and change the things that weren't working,'' Morris said, ``and we've got to be ready for what they throw (at us).''
Robinson, who was double- and triple-teamed and ran into foul trouble, scored just 11 points for San Antonio on Sunday, the same as he scored in Saturday's loss.
``Nobody wants to go out like this. Those last two games were bad. So we've got to bounce back,'' Robinson said.
Only five teams in NBA history have recovered from a 3-1 deficit to win a series. The Spurs, who lost Game 1 in the Alamodome, never have won a series after losing the first game.
All three Jazz victories have been blowouts.
Spurs forward Chuck Person said San Antonio needs more than a victory tonight. It needs to win big.
``Sometimes it takes just one game, one good game of basketball to get a team's focus back,'' Person said. ``We don't need a one-point win or a two-point win. We need to come out here and really just dominate them to show ourselves that we can play with this team.''
The Spurs did dominate in the regular-season, beating Utah 3-1.
The Spurs say they need to get back to the running game they prefer instead of letting Utah slow the pace.
``We need to just to be aggressive, be a little more assertive ... and play more our tempo,'' Spurs guard Vinny Del Negro said.
``The bottom line is you can stay up all night, like most of us did, and try to figure it out. But I don't think we have to change much. We just have to go out and play better.''