So, it's one of those items that's always mentioned in those out-of-town newspaper articles: when Pop took over as coach, he decided that regular season wins were less important than entering the playoffs: 1) as healthy and rested as possible, while 2) playing playoff-level basketball as the regular season ends.
As much as I've second-guessed Pop's decisions this year -- he is the same guy who has lead the team to four rings, and I'm thinking that he's sacrificing #2 for #1 -- in view of the two winning streaks we've been on since the All-Star break. We know he hates the regular season grind and I'm betting that Manu's abductor strain scared him to the point where he's decided to take his chances in the playoffs and rely on the team's history in responding to playoff intensity with a renewed effort on the defensive end.
Am I confident about a matchup with the Jazz if we start with 2 games in SLC - no. Do I think we win a series with the Lakers if it started on Saturday? Not from what we've seen lately. But the great thing about the playoffs is that this team has lost plenty of regular season series to teams that it has quickly dispatched as soon as it's "first to four wins."
Hmmm, the further I'm going into this, the more optimistic I'm starting to feel. It's almost like Sunday's rout never happened. Bring on the 2nd season. I'm ready to see just what we've got left in the tank.