Some quick final thoughts from the FedEx Forum. I have an early flight to get back to Salt Lake in time to catch the players cleaning out their lockers after a discouring 86-70 loss brought the season to an end, abruptly ended hopes for the playoffs.
• Tomorrow's game story looks at Wednesday night on a macro level. Where do the Jazz go from here sort of stuff. Key takeaway from the locker room was that the Jazz all like each other, this group of players was tighter than most, but players understand the nature of the business.
• Columnist Kurt Kragthorpe turned in this scathing, gem of a line about the Jazz: "Anyone suggesting the Jazz made progress this season is misguided, or wonderfully forgiving."
• It's worth noting that the Lakers beat Houston, 99-95 in overtime, so even a Jazz win wouldn't have been enough to get the Jazz in the playoffs. Unless, of course, you believe in the Butterfly Effect.
• So where was this game lost? Basically about 14 different ways in the third quarter. The Jazz were outscored 25-13 in the period. Not a crippling figure, except they were minus-four in the other three quarters combined.
• Strange night from the line. The Jazz got six more free throws than the Grizzlies when do the Jazz shoot more free throws than anybody? but didn't do much with them. Randy Foye was just 4-of-6, 87 percenter Mo Williams was just 2-of-5.
• Jazz got killed on the glass. Once again, for a team that relies so much on its frontcourt, the Jazz consistently got beaten this season in the primary areas big men are expected to produce.
• That said, Al Jefferson 22 points, 16 rebound had another fine game. It may be his last with the Jazz. Kill him for his defense over a three-year tenure with the Jazz, whatever. But there was little to fault in his performance Wednesday, or really in the last half of the season.
• Paul Millsap was just really disengaged for about the last 20 games or so. The man built a career in Utah, absolutely endeared himself to the fans, worked hard, improved every year. He should be embraced for that. He also probably should sign a contract elsewhere. His time here seems to be up.
• Still tinkering with some postseason awards votes, but there is no doubt in my mind Zach Randolph belongs on an All-NBA team. Probably second team on my ballot.
• In case you're lost with all the talk of free agency, here are the Jazz players up for new contracts:
Al JeffersonPaul MillsapMo WilliamsRandy FoyeJamaal TinsleyEarl WatsonDeMarre CarrollJerel McNealMarvin Williams (early termination clause) Kevin Murphy (team option)
• A final, personal note: This was my first season covering the Jazz. It was a tremendous group of guys to cover. Really fun, genuine people. It's a rarity in sports, and I feel like I was spoiled to have such a good experience in my first season. But I was even more spoiled by the great community of fans who read this blog, The Tribune and follow along @tribjazz. Really enjoyed the interaction. I'm looking forward to getting better as the Jazz slowly do, too.