Utah Jazz look back on key games that cost playoff security
Memphis, Tenn. • Prior to the Jazz's final game of the regular season, they knew the playoffs were still a possibility. Still, players were nagged by certain games that kept them from being already locked into playoff position.
A Marco Belinelli 3-pointer in Chicago, a Brandon Jennings 3 in Milwaukee, a disheartening effort in Sacramento.
"All teams," Marvin Williams said, "have those games where you feel like you could have won and you didn't. But the key is to kind of limit those games. There's been a few games where they've kind of slipped away from us that we felt like we could have had."
The Jazz entered Friday winners of nine of their last 11 games, but a 3-12 stretch in March knocked the Jazz out of what, at the time, seemed like a lock for the playoffs.
Particularly painful were the first three games of an East Coast road trip in early March when the Jazz went 0-4 and lost games to Milwaukee and Cleveland by three and then in Chicago by one.
"If we get just one of those games, we're probably not in this situation," DeMarre Carroll said. "Can't take that back, we lost them. It's just funny because we lost all of them by one or two points or we lost in overtime."
Jordan didn't have flu?
Was Michael Jordan's history-changing "flu game" in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals actually instigated by poisonous pizza?
His former trainer, Tim Grover, says yes.
Grover, whose NBA client list has also included Jazz center Enes Kanter, told ESPN's TrueHoop blog that Jordan ate pizza in Park City the night before he went out and, despite claiming he had the flu, scored 38 points to lead the Bulls back from a 17-point deficit at the Delta Center.
Grover told TrueHoop that Jordan got hungry at his Park City hotel after room service had ended for the night, and the only option was to order in a pizza. Grover said he became suspicious when five people delivered the pizza to the hotel, which he says was publicly known to be where Jordan was staying.
"I take the pizza and I tell them: 'I've got a bad feeling about this. ... I've just got a bad feeling about this,' " Grover said. "Out of everybody in the room, [Jordan] was the only one who ate. Nobody else had it."
The Bulls won the game 90-88 and were victorious in Game 6, as well, beating the Jazz 90-88 at the United Center for the first of their two titles against the Jazz.