Posts Tagged ‘Utah Jazz’

Jazz Lakers

After a heartbreaking loss to cross-town-rival L.A. Clippers, the Lakers are once again on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs are concerned.

That coveted eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoff seedings is now held by the Utah Jazz, after they beat the Golden State Warriors on the road.

The Jazz hold a current half-game lead over the Lakers, which, because the Jazz own the tiebreaker between the two, is actually a 1 1/2 game lead. In other words, the Jazz’s proverbial destiny is in their own hands. Win out, and they’re in.

But, how likely is it that the Jazz win out? Not likely. However, the Lakers schedule is no treat either.

Jazz remaining schedule:

4/9 – vs Oklahoma City

4/12 – vs Minnesota

4/15 – at Minnesota

4/17 – at Memphis

Lakers remaining schedule:

4/9 – vs New Orleans

4/10 – at Portland

4/12 – vs Golden State

4/14 – vs San Antonio

4/17 – vs Houston

Mathematically, the Lakers need to win two more of their remaining games than the Jazz do. (i.e. if the Jazz win three of their four, the Lakers must win all five remaining games)

Looking at the Jazz’s remaining games against the Lakers’ remaining games, it seems highly unlikely that the Lakers get that spot back.

I would bet the Jazz end up winning three of their four games, with the lone loss coming against the Thunder at home.

This puts the Lakers in a terrible spot. Winning all five games is going to be nearly impossible. Nearly.

The two games I can see as the Lakers’ biggest issues are San Antonio and Houston.

The good news for LA is that both of those games are at home and both of those games are the last games of the season, which means both the Spurs and Rockets may be resting starters by then, as both of them have clinched their playoff spots.

The bad news, is that the Lakers aren’t exactly the most popular team in the NBA and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that every team remaining on the Lakers’ schedule would love to play the “spoiler” role.

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There was a time (actually 20 years) when year in and year out, the Utah Jazz were contenders for both their division and often the conference title. How far the mighty have fallen.

This season saw Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer leave for the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Sloan throw in the towel, and Deron Williams traded to the New Jersy Nets.

Even after Karl Malone and John Stockton left, Sloan was able to piece together playoff seasons, but this year will take years to recover from.

Just more evidence that jumping the Jazz ship in ’99 was the right thing to do.

Jerry Sloan, longest tenured coach, not only in the NBA, but in all professional sports, announced during a scheduled press conference Feb. 9th 2012, that he would be stepping down and resigning as head coach of the Utah Jazz.

This came as a shock to not only Utahns, but to NBA fans and players around the league. LeBron said on his twitter page “Man its gonna be crazy and weird seeing anyone besides Jerry Sloan walking the sidelines for the Utah Jazz! Jerry Sloan is the Utah Jazz. Wow”.

I can relate to this statement from King James. I was 2 years old, LeBron 3, when Jerry Sloan took the Jazz reigns in 1988.

Sloan has been the backbone of the Jazz. Any Sloan-coached player that had success in Utah credits Sloan and his system for that success. He ran a tight ship and everyone had their place. Coincidence that John Stockton and Karl Malone needed to be replaced by Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer before they had playoff success again? I don’t believe so.

Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams exchange words during game

Although there have been recent reports of altercations between Sloan and Williams, Sloan said “…my energy level has dropped off a little bit…and it’s time to move on.”