The reprehensible Lakers will end it for the Jazz. Ben will have a dark night of the soul.
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let’s start with the bad. Utah’s season is going to end very shortly. At the hands of the vile Kobe Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers.
The good news? You won’t have to put up with another Jazz post (spare a painful post-mortem after the Lakers series, if I can muster the strength) for six months.
Utah has pooped its way into the playoffs in just about the poopiest fashion possible. The Jazz has won exactly two of its last nine games, falling all the way down to the eight seed — a completely avoidable outcome had Utah, say, won home games against Golden State and Minnesota. Give the season another week or two and Utah may have played its way out of the playoffs and handed the eight seed to the Suns.
How is Jazz nation handling this, you ask? (Actually, I’m sure you’re not asking that question. But I’m going to tell you.) With resigned despondency. The mood on Jazz discussion boards is grim. A random sampling of user comments from SLC Dunk:
- “Is it too early or in bad form to start talking about the off-season?”
- “I can’t help but think [Andrei] Kirilenko has already planned his European trip and has his bags packed.”
- “The bottom line is that the entire team has no life.”
- “As a Jailblazer fan back in the early 00s I consider myself somewhat of an expert on bad team chemistry. [And] the biggest problem is [Carlos] Boozer.”
- “Watching this team is like watching 8MM only with basketballs and more Russians.”
Confession: I made the last one up.
What went wrong? I’ll stare down that question some bleak, sleepless night in the week to come. The short answer is injuries. If Williams didn’t turn an ankle in the preseason and Boozer played between 70 and 80 games, there’s no reason this team shouldn’t have won the Northwest. The rush-to-judgment answer is team chemistry. Specifically Carlos Boozer. Which may very well be a fair judgment considering Utah was actually a better team without him this year. That’s saying something considering Booze was an All-Star.
This is getting too painful to go on. Let’s just cut to a few playoff predictions and be done with it:
- I’m jumping on the Blazers playoff bandwagon. A Dallas/New Orleans draw in the first round would be ideal, but I think they could beat the Spurs if it came down to it. Speaking of the Spurs, that Tim Duncan is a ham.
- Orlando is going to beat Boston in the second round. Stephon Marbury has sure made an impact with his 3.6 ppg on 33% shooting. And Kendrick Perkins is delusional.
- I’m sticking by my preseason prediction: Cavs over Lakers in the Finals. Lebron James: Just one more thing to love about Ohio.