They started the season 27-13.
But they've gone 9-27 since, most recently losing seven straight games overall and six in a row at home, including Friday night's against the Los Angeles Lakers. And with that, the Utah Jazz were officially eliminated from playoff contention, marking the first time since the 2005-06 season and just the fourth time in 28 years that they haven't made it to the postseason.
"If you had asked me a couple months ago would be where we are right now, it was the furthest (thing from my mind)," swingman C.J. Miles said. "(Not making the playoffs) wasn't even ever a thought. Like, that wasn't even something I could have made up at the time. Then, all of a sudden, it starts to get rocky a little bit, injuries, everything else that happened."
So where did it all go wrong? When did things pivot? What really caused the most monumental collapse in franchise history?
Longtime head coach Jerry Sloan's February resignation? All-Star point guard Deron Williams' subsequent trade to New Jersey. Or something long before that?
No one in Utah seemed certain Friday.
"Not one particular thing," said coach Tyrone Corbin, who because of injuries was forced to use his 17th different opening of the season against the Lakers and who opened Friday's fourth quarter with the game still undecided and three rookies (Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Jeremy Evans) and a fresh NBA call-up (Kyle Weaver) on the floor.
"You think about it, we were up and down a little bit before all the stuff (Sloan and Williams leaving) happened. But it was like, you always knew that we would be able to figure it out, because of the glimpses we had shown," added Miles, who scored a game-high 24 points Friday. "(So) I can't really put a pinpoint on it, because when everything started to happen we were already kind of down the dumps anyway."
LAKERS 96, JAZZ 85: Kobe Bryant had a team-high 21 points Friday as the Los Angeles Lakers officially eliminated the injury-hampered Jazz from playoff contention. Utah (36-40) led by as many as 17 in the second quarter, and the game was tied with three minutes to go in the third. But Lamar Odom hit a 28-foot three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in the third to send the Lakers into the fourth up by seven, and L.A.'s advantage never dipped below that the rest of the way. The Lakers led by double digits for the game's final 10-plus minutes, but it was decided during a third quarter in which they shot 46 percent from the field and outscored the Jazz 29-16. Because of injuries Utah had to use a makeshift lineup at the start, with little-used Kyrylo Fesenko getting his first start of the season at center.
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