Kragthorpe: Lakers’ demise less satisfying to Jazz fans
By Kurt Kragthorpe
Tribune ColumnistFirst published Apr 29 2013 09:04AM
Ordinarily, this would be a day of great happiness in Jazzland, with the Los Angeles Lakers having been swept out of the NBA playoffs in the first round.
But there should be only minimal rejoicing in the Lakers’ demise this time, because their presence in the playoffs was the Jazz’s fault.
If anything, the Lakers’ having Andrew Goudelock and Darius Miles as their starting guards Sunday against San Antonio and losing four games by an average of 18.7 points served to mock the Jazz. This is the team that kept the Jazz out of the playoffs?
The absence of Kobe Bryant and others from the Lakers’ lineup obviously alters any perception of their team and its postseason performance. Yet the truth is that the Jazz should have been able to win the 45 games required for a playoff berth in the Western Conference and eliminated the Lakers in the process.
Having the Spurs do it, even in humiliating style, is not nearly as satisfying.
So what’s left for Jazz fans?
Judging by the reaction to visiting ex-Jazzmen at EnergySolutions Arena, it would seem that cheering against Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Derek Fisher is a big component of these playoffs. The Chicago-Brooklyn series that resumes tonight will send Boozer’s Bulls or Williams’ Nets against Miami in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
In the West, Russell Westbrook’s season-ending knee injury gives Fisher a much bigger role for Oklahoma City as the Thunder try to sweep Houston in the first round and move on to face Memphis or the Los Angeles Clippers.