With the über-animated Steve Ballmer sitting courtside, Los Angeles Clippers fans never have to wonder what their team’s owner thinks about a performance.
It’s a little less clear for Utah Jazz fans on a nightly basis.
But with part-owner owner Dwyane Wade working on the set of TNT’s Inside the NBA on Tuesday, Jazz nation got a brief glimpse inside the mind of one franchise decision-maker after their team had blown a 25-point lead in L.A.
“For me, I thought we came out on the road with a great game plan, great intensity, really the way you want to come out on the road after struggling and ending a six-game road trip,” Wade said. “But at the same time — you guys were in the back with me — I wasn’t, like celebrating or happy because, one, we’ve blown leads in the past and, two, we were playing against Ty Lue and the Clippers.
“So I wrote this down,” Wade continued his analysis on TNT. “Some teams use their offense to play better D and be more active defensively. That was the Utah Jazz in the first half. And then some teams allow their defense to bring the energy and bring them back in the game. That’s the Clippers in the second half. We live by the 3 and, tonight in the second half, we didn’t.”
Wade, like every other Jazz fan, hasn’t yet forgotten the 25-point lead his team had in Game 6 of last year’s Western Conference semifinals and how the Clippers erased it entirely to bounce the Jazz from the playoffs.
“I mean, you watched last year in the playoffs. The Clippers, and what Ty Lue does very well is, kind of allow you to do your thing in the first half and then bring the adjustments out. So the adjustment against a team that shoots 3s is to switch everything right? Take you out of your rhythm, now you can’t get those wide-open, rhythm 3s and now they’re forced, so you have to drive and do something you’re not as comfortable with.”
The Jazz made 12 triples on Tuesday, but only two of those came after halftime. They went 0-for-3 from deep in the fourth quarter.
“Give the Clippers all the credit in the world,” Wade said. “I think as the Jazz we have to understand that in those times when a team is [figuring] you out, you have to have another game to go to.”