Whoever says that Avery Johnson is a better coach than Jerry Sloan is flat out kidding themselves. Sloan's Jazz, the latest surprise of these playoffs, have earned a berth in the vaunted Western Conference's final series after dismantling two teams that all the "experts"--where's Sean Salisbury when you need him?--picked against them. With superior size, relentless effort on the glass, and the point guard of the future, the Jazz took down a Golden State squad that may have used up all its mojo in the first round.
Give Sloan credit. Unlike Johnson, he didn't change his gameplan to accomodate Nellie at all. Utah used Boozer as the bruiser he is, let Kirilenko roam, and created problems for Golden State's shaky front line. Al Harrington and Andres Biedrins--please. Adonal Foyle, earn your keep or get out of the NBA. For all the Warriors late season success, they looked very human throughout their five-game debacle, and you could see obvious holes in the GMing of this team. Don't forget that they made the playoffs on the last day of the season.
Golden State looked weary by series' end; their guards couldn't score in the paint, and their streaky shooting from 3 was exposed as exactly that. But we have to give credit where credit is due: Deron Williams played B. Diddy chin to chin, although the latter's jowls are without question the largest in the league. The more clean cut, traditional Williams, also played the part of point guard better. Captaining his team like he has done all season, he guided the Jazz into their advantageous matchups, and the rest seemed to take care of itself.
The scores of these games were all in the 100s, which you would think would favor the speedy Warriors, yet it was the Jazz who controlled the tempo, took better shots, and were able to exert their gameplan over their opponent's.
Can anybody say coach of the year? They should award this thing during the playoffs.