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NBA Playoffs 2016: Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder crash Conference Finals - The Downbeat 1911

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NBA News, Utah Jazz news, and . . . Utah Sports media news?

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz, for the nth week in a row, continue to not be in the NBA Playoffs. But they shouldn't feel that bad, at this point in the season only 4 of 30 teams are still in it. Two of those teams are surprises. We do actually talk about the Jazz a bit too. Everything from former coaches, to current players, and even check up on our own blog history. It's fun. Plus dunks. (After all, this is SLC Dunk.) (Duh.) Enjoy!

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Soooooooo, we've reached the Final Four of the NBA Playoffs. And honestly, I don't think we expected to see half of these teams. The 73 win Golden State Warriors? Of course. The top seed in the East, the LeBron James powered Cleveland Cavaliers? Sure. The Oklahoma City Thunder regrouped after a Game 1 thrashing to finish off the 67 win San Antonio Spurs in 6. And the regular playoff pariahs, the Toronto Raptors, somehow were able to reach a round equal to their very high seed by defeating the much more experienced Miami Heat.

East (via ESPN):

2015 2016 NBA Playoffs Bracket East Finals Start

West (via ESPN):

2015 2016 NBA Playoffs Bracket West Finals Start

I haven't watched many games the last two rounds, and as a result I don't think I can make many predictions outside of favoring the favorites. The Dubs and Cavs should have a rematch in the NBA Finals -- something we haven't seen much of over the years, not since the Lakers / Celtics where Kobe Bryant somehow was Finals MVP for shooting 6 for 24 in that memorable Game 7.

Though, I would be remiss if I didn't exclaim online that I delighted in the Spurs losing (I'm not going to bend the knee to them, no matter how many Spurs brain trust guys are part of our team, they are our rivals) and very happy to see the Raptors reach new heights. We could have seen the last of Tim Duncan, but I suspect he will return. He always returns.

For the fans up in Canada this is their 1992 playoffs moment.

I suspect it could end like the 1992 Conf. Finals for them as well, though. But they're having fun up there, anyway.

So, which two teams advance?

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This one is rough, it's an interview with Utah Jazz / Chicago Bulls great Jerry Sloan that most of you have probably already seen. He talks about his own journey and his struggles with Parkinson's disease. Or at least I'm assuming he does. I don't have the heart to watch it.

And really, who wants to see their heroes fall? No one. Take care Jerry. My grandmother had it and it does make life so much more difficult.

Man, let's move on, have some jams to cleanse the palate.

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The great Australian basketball writer Boti Nagy has a GREAT three-part series on Joe Ingles.

More and more I love the idea of having Joe be a life-long Jazzman -- even outside of whatever benefit he has to Dante Exum. Of course, I'm troubled. Last season he was asked to be the 3rd wing and struggled at times. I think he would be a nice 4th wing in a rotation but an excellent "coach on the bench" 5th wing player. Of course, this is contingent upon our top four being Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, and the 2016 1st round pick being a wingplayer -- perhaps a Timothe Luwawu type. But this is just my own musings.

Read what Boti Nagy wrote. Joe is such an integral part of the great chemistry on this team, and his years and years of playing basketball all over the world brings a level of experience and stability that our young core still cannot replicate, and it's something our front office just cannot replace at this point in time.

There's a lot of Joe to go around . . .

It's a shame the Jazz don't penetrate Australia's bball market better. They clearly have two very popular Aussies on the team right now.

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Do you like conspiracies? I know that I do. The Sporting News broke down their #13 "most stunning" sports conspiracy theories in some sort of order. I'm going to spill the beans here, yes, there's a Utah Jazz / Chicago Bulls / Michael Jordan one here. It may not be the one you think of.

It's an overall interesting list, some things I didn't know much about (NASCAR) and some things I myself investigated (the New York Knicks and Patrick Ewing). It's worth the click. And no, there's no "Kobe Bryant 60 points vs. the Utah Jazz when his career high was nearly half of that during his peak years" conspiracy . . . yet.

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Andy Larsen (Jazz Bots, SLC Dunk, Salt City Hoops, KSL) tweeted this over the weekend.

I'm proud even if I didn't do anything to help him rise. He may disagree with that statement, but that's only because he's humble, nice, and smarter than me. My question is . . . are there any other Andy Larsen's out there? College kids who love the Utah Jazz and want to write about them?

I can only assume there are.