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Jazz out of synch for first two games

Jazz out of synch for first two games

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By DOUG ALDEN AP Sports Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Matt Harpring jokes that the adjustments the Utah Jazz have in store for the San Antonio Spurs are top secret.

Teammate Derek Fisher says it's nothing that elaborate -- the Jazz just need to rediscover the plays they ran effectively for so long before the San Antonio Spurs shut them down in the first two games of the Western Conference finals.

"You guys have been here longer than I have, so you know that the game plan is not going to change," Fisher said after practice Friday. "At this time of year there's no need to change much of anything. You make adjustments, you do some things to give yourself a better chance each game."

So far, the Jazz have adjusted little and not given themselves much of a chance against the Spurs, who lead the series 2-0 entering Saturday's Game 3.

The Jazz admit that the Spurs have had a lot to do with Utah's struggles. Other than Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, the Jazz have had no consistent scoring against the Spurs.

Williams scored 60 and Boozer had 53 in the first two games. Their teammates combined to score 83 -- for both games.

"There's not lot of space to operate out there," Fisher said. "The guys that have ball most of the time, they have the most opportunities. They're finding ways to still score.

"The rest of us that don't get as many opportunities, it's a little more difficult to find some rhythm and find some scoring opportunities," he said.

Fisher has gone 2-for-16 for a total of nine points. Mehmet Okur, Utah's second-leading scorer in the regular season with an average of 17.6 points per game, is just 7-for-28. His 3-point shooting (4-for-12) has been better than his overall shooting percentage.

"We're tough when everyone's involved and everyone's playing and into the game," Harpring said. "I just don't think we're as good when one or two guys are trying to do it all. But you know, you've got to give San Antonio credit for the defense. Maybe they're making us do that. I don't know."

Harpring, Paul Millsap and Gordan Giricek usually are the catalysts off the bench, but they haven't been able to get going against the Spurs. Part of the problem is the Jazz have fallen so far behind early that they've played desperately to try to rally at the end.

The Jazz haven't led since the first quarter of Game 1 and have been outscored 63-33 in the second quarter.

Games 3 and 4 will be in Salt Lake City, where the Jazz are 6-0 in the playoffs. If that streak ends Saturday, the Jazz will fall behind 3-0.

"I think it's important to really come out and be who we are," Fisher said. "To be smart, to be efficient, to be poised and composed and allow the way we play basketball to win the game.

"If we try to win this game on emotion and on the crowd and all those things that we really don't have a lot of control over at times, we'll be in trouble," he said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-05-25-07 1613MDT

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