The Downbeat - 9 April 2010 - #204 - The Zen Master Sticking It To Us Again Edition

1_medium  I hope you weren't expecting any help from the Lakers last night.  And this is the total fanatical/conspiracy side of me with no rationale and nothing to back it up, but I think Phil Johnson Jackson loves sticking it to the Jazz.  He knows what it at stake in the playoffs.  He "rested" Kobe last night on purpose against the Nuggets, giving Denver a better chance to win.

LA had nothing to gain last night by beating Denver.  Sure, another win might get them HCA if they make it to the finals, but it's likely that Cleveland is coming out of the East anyway and they're not going to get HCA.  If he was looking just to rest Kobe, there are three cupcakes left on their schedule where he could have sat Kobe.

Maybe it wasn't to stick it to the Jazz, but it was a strategic move so that they wouldn't have to face Denver until the WCF instead of possible in the second round.

Speaking of Denver, and catching them for the division, there's still a bit of hope.  Of course, the Jazz have to win out to have a shot.

They host the Spurs tomorrow night before Memphis heads to Denver on Monday.  Then Denver has to play the next night in Phoenix.  They have to go 2-1 in those games.  Do they lose two of those?  The best chance for them to lose of course is at Phoenix on the back end of a back to back.  Of course, it might not matter by then if they take care of their two games at home.

Memphis has beat Denver only once this year and that was at home.  They've lost pretty badly the other two games.  San Antonio is also 1-2 against Denver this season.  If you're looking for a silver lining, that win was @Denver.

If the division isn't decided by then, Denver @ Phoenix on the last game of the regular season is about as big as a regular season game gets.  Phoenix is 2-1 against Denver this year with a 1-1 record on the road and 1-0 at home.  I'm sure the Suns will still be playing for something at that point so they're not going to play their scrubs for the second half or anything like that.

So hold on to hope, however small right now.

  Quote of the day

"I'm not much of a doctor, but he does get sick a lot," coach Jerry Sloan said Wednesday.

I honestly don't know how a sore throat keeps you from playing basketball unless you have a fever or something else to go along with it.  It also mentions in that article about the opportunities that Fess has missed out on because he's been out sick.  When you're trying to get minutes, you have to do what it takes to get in, even if it's playing sick.

Interesting quote from this article on NBA.com about how the Jazz are good at compiling talent,

The Jazz's ability to restock and repair, when other teams might be wringing their hands, is both a product of and a contributing factor to Sloan's unrivaled job tenure. And the biggest reason it works is that while most franchises are zigging in the Draft -- poking, prodding, gauging and predicting skills and brain types -- Utah is zagging.

While there have been some bad picks by the Jazz, for the most part, the Jazz have done very well in drafting, especially when they're in the bottom part of the first round nearly every year.  For every Curtis Borchardt, there's a Paul Millsap and a Mo Williams.

That's why regardless of how this season ends, I'm going to be pumped for this year's draft.

  Friday poll

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