Drive to the Finals Expert Pick: 5/30/07
Play Drive to the Finals Now!

By Dave McMenamin

Ah, our first elimination game of the conference finals.

This is where we have to really earn our "expert" title. For tonight's pick, I need to make a prediction. Either San Antonio closes it out or Utah extends it. Either the Spurs return to The Finals for the first time since 2005, or the Jazz continue their dream of returning to the Stockton-Malone Finals teams of 1997 and 1998.

I'm going with the Spurs and that means I'm going with a Jazz player.

The pool is shallow. We've already taken D-Will, Booze, D-Fish, Memo and AK-47. That leaves the only three Utah players left worth considering as Matt Harping, Paul Millsap and Gordan Giricek.

Millsap gives you the defense, Giricek provides the offense and Harpring does a little bit of both. So, the pick has to be Harpring.

Asides from having a higher PRA than the other two, Harpring is due. The nine-year vet had six double-figure scoring games in the first two rounds and has only reached the 10-point mark in one out of four games in the Spurs series.

Harpring is the type of player that does whatever the Jazz needs to win. When the scoring is stagnant, he'll start banging 18-footers. When the big men aren't getting it done in the post, he'll get in there and mix it up on the boards. When a loose ball is rolling out of bounds, he'll dive on the floor to gain the extra possession.

I'm banking on Harping to do whatever it takes for the Experts to win too. This is the first time in his nine-year career that he has a shot to make The Finals. He is only three wins away. He knows how few and far between these opportunities arise and he won't let it slip away without a fight.

Harpring was on the 2001-02 Sixers team - the year after Philly lost in The Finals to L.A. I'm sure Harp heard all year about how invigorating the run was, how close they came, how amazing it felt...

This is his chance to make that dream is reality and experience The Finals for himself.

And if he puts up a huge PRA in the process, so be it.

Play Drive to the Finals Now!

Matt Harpring, UTA

When: Wednesday, May 30 at 9:00 p.m. ET
Opponent: at San Antonio
Pts: 9.2 Reb: 4.9 Ast: 1.4
Average PRA: 15.4

Yesterday's Pick: Sasha Pavlovic, CLE (10 PRA)
Expert Pick Playoffs Total: 1100
Expert Pick Archive
1. Paul Millsap, UTA @ SAS (10.5 PRA)
2. Gordan Giricek, UTA @ SAS (9.0 PRA)
3. Fabricio Oberto, UTA @ SAS (11.2 PRA)
Attention bargain shoppers: Millsap and Giricek are still on the table for us and if the series ends tonight their 10-spot PRAs will be gone forever. If you want to choose a Spur, Oberto is the pick. We're saving Manu and Tony for The Finals.

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