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Another Utah Jazz 'Learning Experience': The Downbeat #1890

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It's your Tuesday Downbeat. Welcome to heartbreak.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

I'm writing this soon after the final whistle of Monday's demoralizing, likely season-ending loss to the Dallas Mavericks. So it's gonna be a downer. But at least we've got each other.

It's your Tuesday Downbeat. Welcome to heartbreak.

...okay, the gif is a lie. Nobody's happy about this.

Perhaps it's fitting that Dark Souls 3 (a new videogame in a series notorious for frequent deaths, in case you don't PRAISE THE SUN) is being released today. I could practically see the giant "YOU DIED" message on my TV when Rudy Gobert collapsed to the ground

Rudy's absence wasn't the only reason the Jazz lost Monday's game. Beating Dallas, their direct competitors for a playoff spot, was always going to be a difficult task, even at home. But that was the moment, in all likelihood, Jazz fans watched their playoff hopes cease to be. They've run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible.

This is an ex-playoff team.

The locker room was understandably crushed after the loss, but Quin Snyder tried to look on the bright side with a refrain we've heard an unfortunate number of times this season:

This is a good experience for us. It hurts right now. I know how badly our players wanted to win. I know how hard they competed, and that's been the consistent thing with this group all year. They've played their tails off the whole year long. And that shouldn't be overlooked in this instance when we just didn't play a good game when we needed to.

I'm not saying this isn't true. I'm not saying this can't pay dividends down the road -- maybe even more than a playoff appearance. Losses can serve as powerful motivation. Failure often teaches more than success. I get it. I do. But that's not what I want to hear right now.

Because even with the extenuating circumstances of Gobert's injury and Favors' gimpiness, this has happened too many times this season. Either the Jazz are the most brilliant and well educated below-.500 non-playoff team in the history of the NBA, or they're not learning as much from these losses as they should.

Maybe this is all down to youth and injuries. Maybe this season really was lost when Dante Exum blew out his knee last summer. But if all these close losses and disappointments have really been "learning experiences..." I dunno. I guess I'd like to see some improvement on the final exams.

Let's look at some FanPosts from some happier times...

BobWiley breaks down the "dynamics of a score" in the Jazz's win over the Nuggets:

As my grade school piano teacher always used to say: "The notes are important, but it's the dynamics you put in that make or break the score." (To be honest, she never said those exact words, in that exact order. But trust me, she implied it at almost every lesson. And also trust me that it's worth the extrapolation to turn it into a decent sports metaphor.) Anyone with a little skill could sit down and play the notes of the score, but the dynamics and phrasing give it heart, emotion, and passion.

jazzyman with a more optimistic outlook on this season:

I would assert that our team is much better than our record says. Quin has established a great system of defense, and our players are starting to understand the offensive side. We have been getting very good shots from our plays. We have been winning games with most of our important pieces back on the court. Dennis Lindsay has a palpable plan for this team, and we are on track.

Junior Matos2 with a (what now seems largely moot) hypothetical:

While in Thursday's night clash of the Spurs and Warriors, the Warriors clearly dominated the game on their way to 73 wins record. The Jazz have the ability to beat either team but the better matchup would be the warriors in a 7 game series because if the Jazz could push the Warriors to the long series, they can try and beat them by running them into the ground.

Thanks, folks.

All is not completely lost yet, of course. The Houston Rockets defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, and in so doing leapfrogged the Jazz into 8th place in the West by virtue of Houston's superior record versus Western Conference foes. The Rockets will host Sacramento on the final day of the regular season, and it's possible their game could finish -- and seal the Jazz's fate -- before our finale in Los Angeles even begins. And with DeMarcus Cousins already slated to sit out, the Kings won't have a lot to play for. Denying Kobe one final victory, while sweet, would be a Pyrrhic victory for Utah.

But it could still happen. Honestly, I have no idea WHAT might happen in that game. Kobe could explode for 50-plus one last time. His arms and legs could actually fall off. D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young could kiss at center court before vanishing in a puff of smoke. Literally nothing would surprise me.

Obviously, I want the Jazz to win, and I'll be overjoyed if they manage the most backdoor of entries (IDQM, Moni) into the playoffs. It's hard to be optimistic at the moment. But I'll try.

At least somebody's happy.