It would be nice to be thinking about basketball right now. Here’s the ESPN recap if you’re into that. The Jazz were eliminated by the Lakers for the third straight year but all I can think about is all the nonsense and negativity that went along with this series. I said my piece about Fisher in a previous post, and hoped basketball would take center stage during Game 4. Instead, the focus was on two ridiculous fans with matching t-shirts reading “FISHER” “LIED” – leaving me speechless as I attempted to defend Jazz fans to the world in the ESPN Daily Dime live chat during the game.
Meanwhile, the Salt Lake Tribune was busy throwing their best sportswriter under the bus with 90 point font and “All Hope Is Lost” splashed across the front page. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was the losing, but the general negativity in the air was almost palpable. That very Tribune writer said it best:
All Hope is Lost newspaper headlines. Fisher Lied T-shirts. Bob Bennett’s Senate seat. Utah is a harsher state than America realized.
It may not be all about Utah either. I came home after the game to find myself attacked by a Laker fan on this site as “despicable” and devoid of “any semblance of a soul” — and that’s AFTER I DEFENDED DEREK FISHER. The night was even worse for Carlos Boozer, whose SUV was apparently hit by the bus carrying the Laker broadcast team after the game. Just a bad night all the way around.
Nobody has to go all Magic and Isiah kissing at midcourt before the game, but there’s room for every fan base to be a little more enjoyable. Am I asking too much?
After the game I asked a few of the players about their summer plans and was stunned to discover that Sundiata Gaines has never played in Summer League and has never been to an NBA training camp. He won’t be able to say the same thing next year. Fellow D-League call-up Othyus Jeffers played on the D-League Select team in last year’s Summer League but neither he nor Gaines has heard anything about the Jazz’s plans for the summer or what their role might be. Sundiata poured in 7 points in less than 2 minutes of play. It would have been 9 had he not bricked two free throws with about 20 seconds left.
Fesenko said he plans to spend the summer in Ukraine and work on his game. When asked what he was planning to work on specifically, he said “Free throws, obviously. And a lot of other things. Maturity. I need to be able to be on the floor at the end of games.” Both Fesenko and Kosta Koufos are possibly going to play for the respective national teams this summer, depending on the schedule.
Several Jazz players besides Boozer may have played their last game in Utah, including Ronnie Price and Kyle Korver. Price talked a bit about his strong, if erratic, play against the Lakers this year and mentioned getting healthy as his main goal for this summer. “I played through a lot of little injuries this season,” he said. Check out hoopshype.com for a table of salary and contract obligations for the Jazz.
Ok, I’m exhausted and it’s time to move on. Let’s cleanse the palate with a great piece on the best part of this season and a reminder why we watch: Wesley Matthews.