The playoff push

Let’s talk about basketball for a minute here.

Today the Lakers beat the Spurs sans Kobe Bryant, whose Achilles tendon exploded the other night. (Extended aside: Mike D’Antoni, great moustache notwithstanding, has apparently no idea how to manage the health of a superstar. Look at Phoenix – big men were always going down with stupid, crappy injuries; I’m looking at you, Amar’e “Microfracture” Stoudemire. And then D’Antoni ends up in New York and Amar’e joins him and OH LOOK his knees again. Everybody was so surprised! Anyway, Amar’e aside, here’s a tweet from Bill Simmons in re: the Kobe injury: “Kobe’s last 7 games: 48 mins, then 47, 43, 47, 41, 48, 45 (on way to 48)… tears his achilles. But it was a “fluke” injury. Ohhh-kay.” I mean sure, sometimes injuries just happen. But when you have a dude who’s 34 years old and has played in the league for like 17 years suddenly logging hella minutes, you have to start thinking, gee, maybe there’s more to this than just bad luck. And the more there is to it is named Mike D. I hate the Lakers, this is no secret, but I respect the hell out of Kobe Bryant, and it’s a damn shame for his team and the league and all the fans everywhere that he got run into the ground this season. Okay, aside over.)

The Lakers were helped by the inexplicable absence of Tony Parker (4 pts, 8 ast on 1/10 shooting??) and uncharacteristically bad coaching out of Gregg Popovich in the last couple minutes, but managed to survive Tim Duncan (23/10/4/3 blk/1 stl, and two or three of those trademark moments where he makes you forget that he also has been in the league for a million years) with some hot shooting out of Antawn Jamison and Steve Blake and a monster game from Dwight Howard (26/17/3 blk/2 stl).

Why am I writing so much about the Lakers, when I’m a Jazz fan? Because we are battling the Lakers for that last playoff spot in the West, and now it’s down to the wire. The Lakers are 44-37 and play only one more game (Houston, at home). The Jazz are sitting a game and a half back at 42-38 but have one game (and the tiebreaker) in hand; two games remain, both on the road, at Minnesota and at Memphis.

Okay, so here’s how the remainder of the season works:

  • If the Jazz lose at Minnesota tomorrow, game over. That’ll be the 39th loss and the Lakers can finish no worse than 44-38.
  • So let’s say the Jazz beat Minnesota. Then the Jazz are on 43-38 with the Lakers at 44-37.
  • If the Jazz lose to Memphis, game over again, because that’s the 39th loss.
  • If the Jazz win, they finish the season at 44-38. That means that in order for Utah to make the playoffs, the Lakers have to lose to Houston to drop to 44-38 as well, and then drop out of the playoffs because of the tiebreaker.

Not being in control of your own playoff destiny sucks.

In conclusion, here is a picture of the Jazz’s excellent green alternate jerseys.

demarre_green

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