Jazzland imploded last night.
Reckless fans armed with sharp-tongued social media took virtual pitchforks and torches to the proverbial gates of everything from the official social media accounts of the Utah Jazz and Greg Miller to each other, demanding immediate action be taken to rectify the horror witnessed by all (who didn’t leave Energy Solutions Arena after three quarters) on the Larry H. Miller Court.
Barbs were exchanged, trades proposed, fans were blocked, memorabilia slashed and burned in fits of rage (okay, I made that last one up, but it wouldn’t surprise me), as the Jazz brass, coaches, and players were called out one by one to lay their heads upon silver platters to satisfy the growing maelstrom of discontent. “We want action! Nay, we demand action now! Someone will pay — and pay dearly — for subjecting me to such shame and outrage at the feet of the loathsome Houston Rockets!”
I paraphrase, obviously, as the alternative is unsavory and downright crass, in many cases. But you get the idea. There was blame aplenty to go around, and venting steam does seem to help some at times, but some fail to see the lines drawn in the social sands, and whether it be the brave voice of anonymity or simply a lack of real social skills I cannot say.
If not for a last moment three-pointer by the member of the Jazz that’s played the least minutes this season (save Raja Bell, no longer welcome among the franchise nor fans), rookie Kevin Murphy, Utah would have suffered not only it’s biggest deficit loss at home, but in Utah Jazz history itself. So you see, it was truly a terrifying night to be a fan of the Utah Jazz. And matters weren’t helped any as the Rockets, who historically hate the Jazz for denying them the right to see a prime Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming make real playoff runs, just kept pouring it on, running up the score, taking 14 three-pointers in the fourth quarter while already up by miles.
But ultimately, it was only one game, a game in which, by losing, that the Jazz didn’t even fall from their positioned perch of seventh in the Western Conference to below the lurking Rockets in eighth, one-half game still separating the playoff contenders afterward.*
*Edit: .001 percentage points separate these two teams, Utah one game up in the loss column
Utah’s players and coaches were defeated in post-game pressers, and surely none feel the sharp bite of shame more than they who had to live it out on the stage before you. The Utah Jazz have pride in what they do, what they accomplish, and go about doing so in a responsible and respectful manner. Fans should be proud of that, and stand by their men, even in the humiliating defeat of battle. None go into battle with the intention of losing in this organization.
What happened to turning on the foe, rather than each other? If you defeat each other, then the battle is lost before it ever even began. Our beloved Jazz were beaten, and badly. But you know what? They’ll stand back up, brush themselves off, and go fight again. For you. For there would not even be a game to be won without you, and they are acutely aware of this.
Fans react, often to emotional extremes, but in the end it was ultimately only one game. And those who live out these real life sports dramas day after excruciating day, year after undying year, for the love of the game, understand something fans oft forget: That it is a marathon to play a season in the NBA.
You can follow Clint on Twitter at @Clintonite33