Utah Jazz would be in playoffs if they were an Eastern team
Tom Smart, Deseret News
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Utah Jazz fans might not want to look over at the Eastern Conference standings.
If the Wasatch Front was located in, say, the Appalachian Mountains or in Florida, the Jazz would be sitting pretty in a playoff spot already.
With a 43-38 record going into the final day of the NBA's regular season, it's possible the Jazz could be tied for sixth with Chicago.
And Utah would be above East playoff teams Boston (41-39) and Milwaukee (37-44).
Instead, the Jazz need a win over Memphis and a Laker loss against Houston to make the Western Conference postseason party by virtue of a tiebreaker over Los Angeles.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin admitted that was brought up around his team, but, well, there's nothing that can be done about location, location, location.
"You just have to go where we are, and we are where we are," Corbin said, smiling after Monday's 96-80 win at Minnesota.
"We can't move over to the Eastern Conference and be in seventh place. We have to deal with where we are."
Corbin smiled and added: "We may make a phone call."
And perhaps kick themselves again over that overtime loss last month to the Eastern playoff team with a losing record — Milwaukee.
EXCITING ENDING: It might not be good for fans' nerves, but the Jazz are happy that they still have playoff hopes going into the season finale.
"It's going to be great," Corbin said. "It's going to be a tough game, but we're looking forward to it. This is what the NBA's all about. This is what competing's all about."
For the Jazz, it's simple what tonight's also about: They need to win at Memphis and then have the Lakers lose to the Rockets to make it in as the West's No. 8 seed. Otherwise, Utah will be the best lottery team in the land and begin preparing for a busy offseason.
BEST SIXTH MAN: Gordon Hayward has been starting since March 16, but he's received some attention for Sixth Man of the Year honorable mention recognition, including from Grandland.com.
"It would be a great honor for him. I think he's had a great year," Corbin sad. "He's played multiple roles for us. He's done a great job when he's come off the bench."
Hayward was a reserve for 45 games in the middle of the season, averaging 14.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists. As a starter in 26 games, Hayward has scored 14.1 ppg with 3.6 rpg and 3.3 apg.
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