It all comes down to this.
After 81 games, the grueling NBA marathon comes to an end tonight. Every team in the league will be in action tonight and for most teams, the last game of the year is just a formality. Players entrenched in the lottery have had there Mediterranean cruise or Tahitian island reserved for weeks now. Even most of the teams ready to get the playoffs started, don’t care about the final game. The Heat will be sitting their studs. Kevin Durant will be riding the pine tonight and already apologized via Instagram for not going after the scoring title.
For three teams, however, game 82 means something.
The Jazz, Lakers and Rockets have the playoffs and playoff seeding to play for tonight, and it just so happens that the Lakers and Rockets play each other; while the Jazz travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies who have locked up the fifth seed in the West.
The Lakers are playing for their playoff lives tonight while Houston would fall to the eighth seed with a loss to L.A. If Houston beats the Lakers then they stay at the seven spot.
By now everyone knows the scenario that has to take place for the Jazz to make it. The Jazz have to beat Memphis, on the road, then start rooting hard for the rival Rockets, because if the Jazz win AND the Lakers lose then the Jazz will be in the playoffs while the Lakers will go bake Kobe get well cookies.
It’s interesting to note that this is the first time in the Jazz’s history in which they are playing to make the playoffs in the last game of the season.
Whatever happens tonight, Jazz fans should be proud of their team. Sure, it wasn’t smooth sailing and we lost some games that we weren’t supposed to. We lost heart-breakers, we were blown out a few times but we also won games we shouldn’t have and won nail-biters, and made it exciting for fans.
The Jazz were ravaged by injuries all season long. Additionally, Ty Corbin was tasked with meshing eight (potentially nine) soon-to-be free agents into a playoff contender and he did it.
It’s been a fun season and I look forward to the future with much excitement; a future that I hope starts this weekend in the playoffs.