If the Utah Jazz are going to the NBA Playoffs this season then they need a little luck, and above anything else they need to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers tonight. Utah is limping to the finish-line having had to endure losses to morale (dropping that game at home to the Los Angeles Clippers, getting beat at home by the Dallas Mavericks) and losses to injury again (Rudy Gobert is again out, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are playing hurt, and Alec Burks is once again questionable). Utah was the 2nd hottest team in the West for a while, but the 5-5 result over their last 10 games puts a damper on what was a exciting up and down season. The promise of the playoffs are now just a prayer. But the season is not over yet, there's still at least another 48 minutes to play.
For the Lakers legendary shooting guard Kobe Bryant, there's only 48 more minutes to play in his career. He's going out on top, at home, and is likely to shoot and shoot and shoot some more. His team has the worst record in the West, and they are going to be sitting Lou Williams and Brandon Bass again (healthy DNP-CDs). Winning is taking a back-seat to development right now. But tonight is a celebration of all things Kobe. If you aren't a fan of his I would advise you not to watch the ESPN2 broadcast. They will certainly memorialize the living, playing, player as he is on the court.
The Lakers should be playing for Kobe. And Kobe will be playing full well knowing that this is his last game. This entire season has led up to this point for him, and I knows how he wants to go out. The Jazz should be playing their hearts out after dropping games they should not have. Utah isn't eliminated yet. And they shouldn't play like they are.
The Lakers are a bad team. Utah shouldn't lose tonight. If they do, well, then the team doesn't finish at .500. No playoffs. And a lot of questions to find answers to beyond the easy crutches of injuries and youth.