May 5, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; A general view of EnergySolutions Arena with statues of John Stockton (right) and Karl Malone prior to game three of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs between the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Jazz vs. Spurs: The series that time forgot


May 7, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz point guard Devin Harris (5) dribbles around San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) during the second half of game four in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at EnergySolutions Arena. The Spurs defeated the Jazz 87-81 to sweep Utah and win the series. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

As the Utah Jazz’ last second run was effectively squelched after Manu Ginobili scored on a layup in transition and the final seconds waned, the San Antonio Spurs and Jazz confronted one another for the last time of the 2011-12 season. The Spurs were moving on; the Jazz, however, were moving out.

This happens every series; there is one victor and one loser. But this series, more than anything, resonated through the basketball world not because it was compelling or the narrative was unique but because the series was just so insignificant. Nothing swayed public opinion; nothing improbable occurred, nothing that left basketball fans utterly speechless. Nothing. The Spurs turned out to be really, really good and the Jazz were an above-average team; nothing more, nothing less. But, again, we already knew that.

To quote Sports Media Watch (also courtesy of Ethan Sherwood Strauss of Hoospseak).

“As was the case five years ago, the Jazz and Spurs combined for ratings kryptonite on Wednesday. Game 2 of the Jazz/Spurs first round NBA playoff series drew just 1.811 million viewers on TNT Wednesday night, down 45% from Nuggets/Thunder Game 2 last year (3.292M), and even down 12% from Bobcats/Magic Game 2 in 2010 (2.066M). The game ranks as the least-viewed NBA playoff game on ABC, ESPN or TNT since Magic/Bobcats Game 4 in 2010 (1.678M).”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the series, huh?

The Spurs and Jazz were obviously an uneven matchup which is to be expected given their respective records. As narratives increase in scale and significance so too do the misconceptions that always seem to plague Spurs basketball.

The Spurs are old. They are boring. Their offense can’t be that great. Who the hell is Tiago Splitter, anyway?

So, given the general perception of the Spurs and the Jazz offering little in terms of intrigue, this series will be forgotten in a matter of weeks. No one will care to remember the Spurs’ offensive execution. No one will care to remember what could be the last hurrah for a Spurs that, in the eyes of the masses, offered so little in terms of aesthetic value.

People will remember the New York Knicks finally getting a playoff win while LeBron James stood helplessly in the corner on the final possession. Fans will remember the Clippers and Lakers both blowing (or nearly) two 3-1 leads. The Clippers’ incredible rally will stand the tests of time; the Spurs’ inconsequential sweep over a No. 8 seed will definitely not.

But that just comes with the territory of meticulously developing a monastic persona. The 2011-12 Spurs may be forgotten regardless of how they finish, but that doesn’t mean Spurs fans will forget their fascinating rise to the top.

I know I won’t.

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