Nobody but Houston was happy after last night’s game. The first omen of a bad night was on display when Dante Exum got his first foul 35 seconds after checking in. Within 9 minutes, he got called on two phantom fouls after that and the Jazz were suddenly without their starting PG as well as their backup PG. I don’t know how Harden made this arrangement with the entire roster of NBA referees, but if you simply aren’t allowed to play regular defense on James Harden, then of course he is going to look like a superstar. Don’t go telling me that Harden is the best at creating contact and making things look like fouls. They look like the very same BS as the contact experienced by any other player, but the refs call it for him 4x as much.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Houston played a decent game, and the Jazz were unable to make shots, but you cannot possibly tell me that if Dante exited the first quarter with only 1 foul that the game would not have been drastically different. On Twitter, Mark Mueller summed up Utah’s thoughts succinctly:
Imagine you're Dante Exum.— Mark M (@Mmueller88) May 7, 2018
You are having the game of your life.
You have good defensive position and the guy locks your arm up and hits you in the face with the ball.
Foul on you.
You continue to destroy the other teams defense. You get your hand on the ball and... 3rd foul.
Video of the second foul:
Dante Exum was called for fouling Harden on this pic.twitter.com/CJJ5yAM1zG— ESPN (@espn) May 7, 2018
To add insult to injury, or maybe more appropriately, to add injury to insult, Dante leaves the game with a sore left hamstring—the Jazz should have more info on that later today, according Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune. This sport has not been very kind to Dante, and it is very difficult to watch somebody who plays with such heart go down.
I’ll leave this downbeat point with this:
NBA Player Signature Moves— Jeff Heaton (@j_heat1) May 7, 2018
Dirk: 1-legged fade away
Olajuwon: dream shake
Kobe/Jordan: fade away J
Kareem: sky hook
HARDEN: Snapping head back to trick refs and get free throws.
Like a wise, giant Frenchman once said, “We will be fine”. If the Jazz go down in this series, they will go down swinging. Dennis Lindsey will accrue some more depth over this offseason and players currently under contract have what I like to call a hungry offseason in front of them. Donovan Mitchell got his first taste of the NBA playoffs, and I doubt he will be satisfied until he is hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
A consolation prize that we have all but probably forgotten about is the Defensive Player of the Year Award. It has not yet been announced, and could still very well belong to a different player knowing the national media, but the Stifle Tower seemed to be the consensus pick whenever the topic was brought up. It’s no championship, but it would definitely be nice to see the best defensive player in the league acknowledged for once.
The NBA 2K league had its “Tipoff” tournament, marking the beginning of the esport’s season. The 76ers team won the steel championship banner, and its players brought home a total of $50,000 if I am interpreting this correctly. The Jazz’ team looks to be full of promise, with the third overall pick in the NBA 2k League Draft.
As a gamer myself, I appreciate the publicity and mainstream acceptance of video games and professional gamers. Back in the day, only nerds and geeks played video games. Now, just about anybody can enjoy this form of entertainment without feeling judged. Why do people like watching other people play video games? Well for exactly the same reason that sports fans enjoy watching professionals play sports. We don’t have the time, effort, or natural talent needed to play a game at the highest level, and it is entertaining to watch people perform at an almost superhuman level in games that we enjoy.
We interrupt this downbeat to bring you some breaking news: Stan Van Gundy and the Detroit Pistons have parted ways.
Van Gundy is a solid coach, and knows how to maximize the value of shot-blocking, rebound feasting bigs such as Dwight Howard and Andre Drummond. However, after this season, the Pistons have decided to move on. Stan Van Gundy was also their President of Basketball Operations. Maybe now teams will realize that the two jobs should probably remain separated.
This Utah Jazz team has progressed further than anybody ever reasonably thought they would. Although that is the case, us fans still held onto the hope that this season was not over. The Jazz could still beat the odds and come back from a 3-1 deficit, but regardless of that, as of right now what are your emotions for the long-term future of this ball club?
Where are you at?
This poll is closed
5 - Full of hope for the future
4 - A bit deflated, but happy with where we’re headed
3 - I need some time to process this
2 - A bit down in the moment, but by draft day I’ll be back at a 5
1 - I have nightmares where I am forced to watch James Harden play basketball