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Jazz give Kobe a farewell to remember (whether he wants to or not): The Downbeat #1881

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It's your Tuesday Downbeat, and it's all good in the Hood.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

I don't know exactly what I expected...but I didn't expect THAT.

Before last night's record-setting annihilation, I told my girlfriend the Jazz would probably win. Probably. I mean, Monday WAS Kobe Bryant's last game in Salt Lake City, and I've seen too many losses to the Lakers -- improbable or otherwise -- to be too confident in the outcome.

Clearly, I needn't have worried.

Amar's got the recap for you here, but let's try and keep the festivities going, shall we? It's your Tuesday Downbeat, and it's all good in the Hood.

Here are the records broken or tied in last night's game:

-- Biggest margin of victory in Jazz history (tie)

-- Biggest margin of defeat in Lakers history (tie)

-- Biggest margin of defeat in Kobe Bryant's NBA career (second-biggest was a 36-point loss to OKC)

-- Most 3-pointers in a half by a Jazzman (Rodney Hood with 8)

-- Most 3-pointers in a game by a Jazzman (Rodney Hood, ties Jeff Hornacek with 8)

-- Highest Jazz point total of the season

-- Most Jazz 3-pointers in a game (17)

-- Fewest points scored by Kobe vs. Jazz (5, tie)

So, yeah. Things went well for Utah.

I'm reluctant to take any sort of analysis away from this performance, though. The Lakers are just that bad. Certainly, the Jazz took advantage of that, and it's nice to know they have the potential to score like this. But Los Angeles has absolutely given up. Call it tanking, or refusing to play for coach Byron Scott, or just enjoying the Kobe Bryant Farewell Traveling Extravaganza. They're not an NBA team right now.

Honestly, the most interesting part of the game might have been Kobe taking Hood's blistering shooting as a personal insult. After Hood's eighth triple, the 12-time All-Defensive Team guard attached himself to Rodney's eyeballs and dared the sophomore to score again. That Hood failed to do so -- at the expense of several other Jazz baskets, including a wide-open layup for Shelvin Mack that Kobe saw coming but quite deliberately refused to defend by leaving Hood -- is such a quintessentially Kobe-esque Pyrrhic victory that I can't think of a better memorial for his career. Kobe Bryant: a player in the conversation for Greatest Of All Time, but whose ego may have prevented that discussion from being settled without question.

Of course, I'm being petty. Kobe's monomaniacal drive is part of what made him as undeniably great as he is (or was, anyway); you can't get one without the other, and the pros far outweigh the cons as far as his all-time performance. But hey, I'm a Jazz fan, and I can't think of a better way to say goodbye to Kobe than laying upon him the biggest L of his life.

Of course, the Jazz organization kept it classy, offering Bryant this video tribute before the game:

Nobody juts a jaw better, in any case. These are the facts, and they are undisputed.

Honestly, while I'm hesitant to heap too much praise on such a hated rival, I do sincerely believe Kobe respected Utah, as a team and as a fan base. I shudder to imagine some of the terrible things Jazz fans may have yelled his way over the years. Were they ever reported with any accuracy, I fear we wouldn't come away looking too great. But I think Kobe expected that kind of animosity. He knew (as did the man after whom he patterned his game) how to turn the most innocuous slight into fuel for a raging competitive fire.

I think, in Kobe's worldview, there is no greater honor than to be hated by an enemy. Because it means you matter.

Let's get back to some Jazz-centric content. FanPosts!

Beeblebrox42 on what to do with Gordon Hayward:

Hayward's contract gives him the option of opting out after next season and becoming a free agent. That's led to a lot of speculation about what he will do, and in turn, what the Jazz should do. Here's my take on the whole situation:

gotag on why this season might still feel disappointing:

All of that is kinda preface to this... Why does this season feel so disappointing? Vegas had our win total at 40.5 for the season. The more optimistic among us at 47. Considering the injuries we had in December (and losing Burks for most of the season again) we are far closer to the optimistic projections than Vegas. Is it because, after Exum got hurt, this is more of a bridge year? Is it because certain players haven't progressed as much as we hoped (i.e, Gobert)? Is it more to do with how un-fun this team can be to watch on offense?

Thanks for the posts, friends!

Former (forever?) Jazzman and late-career non-mohawk enthusiast Andrei Kirilenko was back in town Monday, as the Jazz honored his retirement (but not tooooo much because they didn't actually retire his jersey, which made the formality of the occasion a little strange).

By the way, not that we have a trademark on the phrase or anything, but SLC Dunk's own Yucca Man once wrote an open letter to Greg Miller suggesting the establishment of a new tradition using the exact words "Once A Jazzman, Always a Jazzman," which adorned the backdrop at Kirilenko's Monday press conference.

In any case, whether this is the start of a new tradition or a one-off event to honor a singular and beloved (if ultimately flawed) former Jazz player, I'm in favor of it.

Presented without comment:

Actually, I will comment with this RT, in the interest of perhaps leavening the unsolicited Internet infamy that is no doubt flooding this woman's mentions:

BONUS DOWNBEAT ITEM:

Amar made an appearance on 97.7 FM in St. George. Check it out if you are so inclined: