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The Downbeat #1850: Win in PDX Edition

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The Utah Jazz have a big game tonight in Portland that has major playoff implications.

Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Sorry for no Downbeat yesterday, ladies & gentledunkers.  Let's make up for lost time, shall we?

Tonight's Utah Jazz at Portland Trailblazers game is VERY important. When I say very important I do mean very important.  The Utah Jazz have lost two out of their last three games against the Portland Trailblazers this season.  Portland has been able to capitalize on the Jazz's injury laden season and with a win tonight they could own the tiebreaker if both teams tie at the end of the season.  Why is that so important?  The Utah Jazz, Portland Trailblazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets are all projected to finish within a game and a half of each other.  Yes, that means the difference between the 5th seed and the lottery could be the difference of a tiebreaker.

NBA Playoff Projections

via basketball-reference.com

Right now the Utah Jazz are projected to win 41.6 games, the Portland Trailblazers are projected to win 41.5, the Dallas Mavericks are projected just below them at 41.1, and the Houston Rockets are projected to win 39.7.  Tonight is a big game.

Let's just take a little time to celebrate the Utah Jazz's bench celebrations.  This year's Utah Jazz bench has the potential to be in the top 5 Jazz Celebratory Benches of All-Time.  This is huge.  While their production on the court has been up and down, no one can dispute with their jubilance.  No one.

Jazz fans, we may disagree.  We may disagree A LOT.  FINE.  YOUR OPINIONS OF BASKETBALL ARE A LOT WORSE THAN MINE.  There I said it.  But that doesn't mean we don't take care of our own.  We must take care of one of our own tonight.  A brave soul by the name of Darek Steiger is about to walk into the Rose Garden in the colors of the enemy.  He cannot be alone.  We must not allow him to be alone.

What I'm about to say next is of vital importance.

If you are going to the Jazz @ Trailblazers game tonight, contact this man.  Protect this man.  Cheer with this man.  For your combined cheers could help us to victory.

You're not officially a Jazz player until you have a Misuho Nishio artwork designed for you.  Now Shelvin Mack is officially a Jazzman.

Also, isn't it a bit ironic that he is wearing #8?  Deron Williams and Gordon Hayward couldn't have been professionally further apart and now Gordon Hayward's best friend is on the team wearing #8?  Poetic.

It looks like Hot Rod Hundley is now immortalized in stone & bronze.  The West Virginia Mountaineers dedicated a statue in honor of "Hot Rod" Hundley.  From the AP press release:

West Virginia has dedicated a statue of basketball great "Hot Rod" Hundley.

A ceremony was held outside of West Virginia's arena Saturday near a statue of another former Mountaineers great, Jerry West.

Among the speakers at the dedication were West, Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins and Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, a graduate of West Virginia.

Hundley averaged 24.5 points per game at WVU from 1955-57 and still holds the school record with 54 points against Furman in January 1957.

A former NBA player who broadcast Jazz games in New Orleans and Utah for 35 years, Hundley died last March at age 80.

This is the new statue of "Hot Rod".