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Maximum concentration
by David Carro / June 14, 2003 - Quotes Game 5

Maximum concentration. That's exactly what you could breathe in the air once you entered the locker room of the New Jersey Nets. It made sense considering how important Game 5 was. 16 out of the 22 times the NBA Finals were tied after Game 4, the winner of the Game 5 got the ring...

No Jason Kidd, no Kenyon Martin, no Jefferson... There were no players in the locker room when the doors were opened to the media before the game started -- with the exceptions of seldom-used forward Tamar Slay and backup guard Anthony Johnson.

We would later find Kerry Kittles reading a book that appeared to be the Bible. With a serious look on his face, he made clear he wasn't going to speak with the reporters. The rest of the players were not willing to talk much either. Ditto for the Spurs. Stephen Jackson, one of the most outspoken and easy going members of the team, wouldn't say anything this time. With his headphones on, he acted like there is nobody around...

GO RETRO

The Nets stepped on the court with their retro uniforms, bringing memories of the franchise's heyday. The Julius Erving-led New York Nets won two ABA titles with those uniforms in 1974 and 1976. Earlier this season, the Nets beat the Pacers wearing retro jerseys, too. Maybe they wore them as a lucky charm...

The lucky charm didn't work Friday night. San Antonio won the game and Steve Kerr had a lot to do with it...

Popovich's bad reaction to questions about Kerr after Game 4 caused some surprise among journalists. Pop clearly is not a media darling, but he was smart enough to use Kerr when he could be a factor...

Those shots Kerr hit late in the fourth quarter were one of the few things to enjoy in another awful game. Nothing to do with those great Celtics-Lakers Finals that where subject of conversation between Byron Scott and Nets forward Brian Scalabrine before Game 4 started. Those were days to remember.

Drazen Petrovic's days with the Nets were also worth remembering. The crowd at the Continental Airlines Arena went crazy when images of "Petro" -- the last basketball hero to bring some success to the Nets before the coming of Jason Kidd -- where shown.

Anyway, success is not complete until you get the ring. And it looks like the Spurs will get it. They'll have a lot to thank to Steve Kerr, the former sidekick of Michael Jordan -- who nobody forgets here. T-shirts with the legend “The Game will never be the same” are everywhere in the capital of the world. For what we've seen so far in these NBA Finals, that legend holds much truth.

David Carro writes for Gigantes and is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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