Have you ever been struck by lightning? I haven’t. I don’t actually know anyone personally that ever has. Have you ever seen the most insane combination of closing moments of games that involve three different NBA playoff teams, putting your team up against an unlikely foe? I have.
According to National Geographic, your odds of getting struck by lightning in your lifetime is about 1 in 700,000. The odds of the Rockets and Jazz meeting in the first round of the playoffs (at some point last night, and taking into account certain points of games Tuesday night), were 1 in 898,957, according to math genius Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune.
It’s honestly one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen. Jazz broadcast assistant Conner Varney wrapped it all up, I thought: In order for the Jazz to play Portland, the Jazz just needed one of these things to happen.
Minnesota to win a game that they were up 11 in, with 3:27 left in the game. Win probability at that point: 98.7%.
Sacramento to win a game they were up 25 with 8:35 left in the third quarter. Win probability at that point: 98.2%
Don’t forget yesterday’s games! With Houston up 14 in Oklahoma City with 9:26 left in the 4th, they had a 96.1% win probability. There was also a 97.5% chance of Houston winning that game when they had the ball, up four points, with 30 seconds left.
Oh, and then the Lakers were up 3 on Portland with 1:47 left in the fourth last night. They had a 79.4% chance of winning then.
Those are 1 in 898,957 odds. Nearly one in a million.
According to @inpredict the Jazz are horribly unlucky— Conner Varney (@nbaconner) April 11, 2019
Utah needed just ONE of these to play POR:
MIN up 11 vs. DEN with 3:27 left: 98.7% win probability
SAC up 25 vs. POR with 8:35 in the 3rd: 98.2% win probability
HOU up 14 vs. OKC with 9:26 in the 4th: 96.1% win probability
It was literally a one-in-a-million chance that the Jazz would get the Rockets in the first round instead of the Blazers.
What in the world.
The majority feel of Jazz fans that I’ve noticed on Twitter, and those I’ve spoken with personally, is one of disappointment. The Jazz match up much better with Portland, especially considering the injury to Jusuf Nurkic. The Rockets on the other hand knocked the Jazz out of the playoffs last year in a five-game series that really only had one competitive effort from the Jazz in game two, which was their lone win.
But whether you want the Jazz to play the Rockets or not, it’s happening. Against all odds, Utah will take on Houston in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
I believe in fate. I believe in an unstoppable force in the universe that brings certain events and experiences together, sometimes against all odds. This, to me, seems like one of those events. Maybe Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert need this series to prove to the rest of the NBA players, fans, and media that they are for real. Maybe winning this series, taking down the reigning MVP once again, is what draws some free agents to Salt Lake City. Maybe, even if it comes in a loss, this is what Donovan Mitchell needs to fuel his fire and learn and grow to become a next-level player. You just never know. But too much happened the last two nights, even considering the amount of tanking done by the Denver Nuggets, to think that this was just bad luck. Too many things happened for me to believe this was anything other than the Basketball Gods wanting a Jazz-Rockets series in the first round. Now we will get to see why.