jealousy sets in as the Utah Jazz season ends

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LOS ANGELES — During the home stretch of this 2023-24 NBA season, the Los Angeles Clippers have been after homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
It looked like it was going to be a perfect night for another lesson in urgency for the Jazz’s young core.
Russell Westbrook was on the court for exactly 9 minutes, Paul George for just 8:24 and Terance Mann for 5:06.
But the truth is the Jazz were playing against the deep bench rotation of the Clippers and had to fight their hardest even then to get the win.
The Jazz didn’t end up playing a desperate team on Friday night.
On Tuesday, when the Jazz faced the Denver Nuggets, Denver head coach Michael Malone fielded questions about playoff rotations and trust in different players at big moments.
“I’m deeply jealous of everybody that’s preparing for the playoffs right now,” Hardy said.
There’s nothing like preparing for a series, there’s nothing like the chess match that goes on there, the adjustments game to game.” There’s nothing like it, and the Jazz will once again have to live with watching from home.

NEUTRAL

LOS ANGELES — Homecourt advantage in the opening round of the playoffs has been the Los Angeles Clippers’ goal during the home stretch of the 2023–24 NBA season.

It had come down to the final few games of the season, with the team vying for fourth and fifth place in the Western Conference, and their fate remained undetermined just hours before their Friday night game against the Utah Jazz began.

For the young members of the Jazz, it appeared to be the ideal evening for yet another lesson in crunch.

Two hours before tipoff, Jazz head coach Will Hardy stated, “We’re going to enjoy seeing how a desperate team at a different level plays because the Clippers are playing for something.”.

“Tonight’s game is important to them. Our team is going to have another opportunity to learn from this. We are going to experience what it’s like to play on the court with a team that is at that level because this is a team that we want to get to. “.

But as luck would have it, the Clippers were able to lock up the fourth seed in the West prior to the start of their matchup with the Jazz. Tyronn Lue, the coach of the Clippers, was able to relax a little after his team, the Dallas Mavericks, lost to the Detroit Pistons in a game.

The Clippers played James Harden for a mere nine minutes and fifty-eight seconds on Friday night, with Kawhi Leonard, dressed in street clothes, watching and tending to his sore right knee so he can be ready.

Terance Mann played for five minutes, Paul George for just eighteen seconds, and Russell Westbrook for precisely nine minutes.

“Unfortunately, you don’t get to feel it in the way that we discussed pregame, so you move on to a different message, which is it’s an opportunity for us to play a game, get better, compete, and go try to win,” Hardy said. “The Clippers pulled the plug on some of their starters at some point.”.

You know, no one has ever offered us an explanation for a loss, so you just have to play with everyone on the floor and give it your all. “.

To their credit, the Jazz battled valiantly to win 110–109, even though they only shot 17–11% from three-point range. Kenneth Lofton Jr.’s versatility was a major factor in this success. with 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists, almost achieving a triple-double.

But in reality, the Jazz had to battle all the way to victory even then because they were up against the Clippers’ deep bench rotation.

On Friday night, the Jazz weren’t forced to play a desperate team. Instead, they were taking on a team that was, and is, guaranteed to make the playoffs—a feat the Jazz are not even close to accomplishing—and which would allow them to relax and get some play from some of their deeper bench players.

Denver head coach Michael Malone took questions regarding playoff rotations and having faith in different players during crucial moments during Tuesday’s game between the Jazz and Nuggets.

The Golden State Warriors, a highly accomplished and playoff-experienced team that is looking well beyond what the Jazz will bring, will host the Jazz on Sunday. Lue spoke about priorities for the upcoming days on Friday as the Clippers get ready for a postseason run.

Hardy expressed his intense jealousy of those who are currently getting ready for the playoffs. “Our players are also.”. That’s our ideal situation. The playoffs have included me. I believe I spent 12 of my 15 years in the NBA.

It is unlike anything else. Nothing compares to getting ready for a series, the chess match that takes place there, or the adjustments made from game to game. “.

Nothing compares to it, and the Jazz will once more have to settle for home watching.

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