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The Downbeat - 30 March 2010 - #196 - The Clinched Edition

1_medium Good take on the Jazz from someone on the outside,

I remember thinking to myself how sweet it must feel to be a Jazz fan. They basically went from Stockton and Malone to Williams and Boozer, and although they missed the playoffs a couple of times during the transition, they are contenders once again. Part of that is a good front office, and another includes having the same coach for 22 years in Sloan. I didn't dwell on this line of thought for too long because time was getting away from me, and I had to trek over to the Utah locker room for Sloan's talk.

For approximately 10 minutes, I listened to Sloan cover a myriad of topics. He compared possibly losing Boozer after this season to losing Shandon Anderson and Howard Eisley in past years. He praised his front office for getting him good players after Stockton and Malone left, and he talked about how fun it is to watch young players go from being inexperienced to seasoned.

While I was listening to this man take the media through a mini-trip down memory lane and back again, I again could only marvel at this consistency. How many coaches in any sport can speak about players who started in the 80s, 90s, and the current decade? And how many franchises can say they stayed championship contenders at the same time?

As much as the Jazz kill us sometimes, I don't think there are any other franchises that I would switch places with.

I you were probably aware, I wasn't in the game thread last night. Maybe we weren't aware. Either way, I couldn't watch the game last night but was getting updates via text. This has to be one of the biggest WTH games of the season. I'm going to try and watch it tonight and maybe put up some thoughts. But reading through the game thread and some other recaps, I really want to know how they let this get away from them. Had they lost, this probably would have been one of the biggest disappointments of the season.

As it is though, they won and are in first place which is where we hope to stay. I'm sure the dead horse will be dug up just to be beaten again with this but this is a game we probably would have lost going down the stretch last season. I'm most interested to see how the Jazz held the Knicks to just 11 points in the fourth.

I did see Deron wearing the CLINCHED shirt in his post-game interview. My first thought was, "Whoa, that's a little premature." When I realized it was for clinching a playoff spot and not the division, I then thought that it was a little weird that they would print out T-shirts for just clinching a playoff spot. It's definitely a goal for the season but to me it either overvalues just making the playoffs or devalues other T-shirt endeavors like winning the NW or winning the conference title.

It just reminded me a little too much of getting a "Participant" certificate in grade school. I know the team's goals aren't just to make the playoffs, it just seemed weird to me. I wonder if any other team had something like that.

UPDATE: Apparently it was an NBA thing,

After the victory over the Magic, the Hawks players were presented T-shirts that said "Clinched." No one appreciated the shirt more than guard Jamal Crawford, who will play in the playoffs for the first time in his 10-year career and liked how the shirt looked hanging in his locker.

"I think I'll leave it there for a while," he said.

Boozer in New York next season is something that could definitely happen. If New York misses out on the marquee names this summer (James, Wade, Bosh), they're going to have a lot of money to spend and a fan base clamoring for a signing. That's where I think Boozer will get a max offer from them and big offer for another FA. Boozer made it known yesterday indirectly that he would like playing for D'Antoni,

That doesn't mean he's ruling out the Knicks. In fact, he spoke so passionately about the organization and D'Antoni that you had to check the standings to make sure the Knicks weren't 47-26 as opposed to 26-47.

"Love'em," Boozer, wearing a Yankees cap, said of the Knicks. "D'Antoni is dope. Having spent time with him at the Olympics ... his offensive mind-set is unbelievable. He's got the best plays I've ever been around. On a whim. It's like rappers. They come off the top of their domes with (lyrics). He has plays in the back of his head he just comes up with at that moment.

"D'Antoni's a great coach. I know they have an incredible organization. They've got a lot of talent."

Tuesday poll,