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Kragthorpe: Games remain, but Jazz's season is over

Published February 18, 2011 7:02 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Jazz would like us to believe they're just pausing for the All-Star break, intending to regroup, come back and make a big push.

Sorry, this season's over.

It ended Wednesday night with a 107-100 loss to Golden State at EnergySolutions Arena, where the Jazz have dropped five straight home games for the first time since Frank Layden's initial coaching days, nearly 30 years ago.

This is all rather unfair to coach Tyrone Corbin, who's being charged with replacing Jerry Sloan while having only nine players available, due to injuries.

Believe me, I want this guy to succeed, and he deserves support. But here's the reality: Corbin is 0-3, and what's ahead for his team after the break? A trip to Dallas, Indiana and Detroit, followed by a home game with Boston. Add it up, and that's an 0-7 start for Corbin, with not much to look forward to in this building — unless you happen to be a fan of Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi or the Utah Blaze.

This skid may or may not have continued if Sloan were still coaching. Regardless, it all has crumbled for this team lately, to an irreparable degree.

"I believe in these guys, " Corbin said afterward.

A fan behind the basket where the Jazz were shooting in the second half held a sign that said, "I Still Believe."

Some faith seemed justified as of early in the third quarter, when C.J. Miles' banked in a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock on the opening possession, followed by his steal and layup, launching the Jazz toward a nine-point lead.

Even playing without Andrei Kirilenko, Raja Bell and others, that should have been all the Jazz needed to seize control of this game, create some positive feelings going into the break and potentially save their season.

But it did not last. The Jazz are fading fast. While they're technically inside the playoff cut in the Western Conference, somebody's bound to overtake them: Memphis, Phoenix, Golden State, Houston … or all of the above.

"It's been a frustrating year for everybody, but we still believe in each other and feel like we can be a good team," Jazz guard Deron Williams said. "We just need to figure things out."

It was stormy outside by the time this game ended, and ESA's power partially went out during the second quarter. Figuratively, the building went dark in the fourth quarter when Golden State's Monta Ellis scored 11 of his 35 points.

The Jazz had their chances. They were down only 94-92 in the last 5:05, but Miles' wide-open 3-point try spun out of the basket, and that was pretty much that. The misses just kept coming, and so did Ellis at the other end.

Sure you still want this job?

Since taking over last Thursday, Corbin has heard from teammates, coaches, teachers and friends in his past, from all over the country. "I can't be any more blessed than I am to have that kind of support," he said before the game.

The advice: "Relax and enjoy the moment a little bit. … It'll get better as time goes by," Corbin said.

Corbin hopes to regroup during the break and "to get a better feel for where we are now, where we can get better immediately, what's going to take a little time to work on — just evaluate the whole thing," he said, and develop a "better, organized plan of where we go from here."

The frightening thing is, it probably will get worse before it gets better. The Jazz season that attracted a mortgage company as its presenting sponsor is officially in foreclosure.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com