SALT LAKE CITY — The Jazz season ended Wednesday night with a road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, ceding the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs to the Los Angeles Lakers.
While the offseason promises to be an interesting one for the franchise, with many free agents potentially leaving the team and the NBA draft, there still is time to savor a season that had exciting moments that made the games fun to watch.
Derrick Favors throws down on Spurs
Derrick Favors is an exciting young player, and plays like this create a palpable excitement around the franchise for the future.
The play starts on the opposite end of the floor, with Enes Kanter picking the pocket of Spurs point guard Tony Parker near the perimeter. Mo Williams dribbles the ball up the court, racing down the right side of the floor and drawing the attention of the defense.
Favors, who had been marking Matt Bonner near the perimeter, takes off from the right elbow and sprints down the court, trailing his point guard. With Ginobili and Bonner shading toward Williams, Favors has a seam directly to the rim.
Williams slips a pass between the two Spurs defenders, and Bonner turns to see a fully extended Favors rising up and throwing the ball down on top of his head.
Should have just kept running, Matt.
Evans races in for the slam
Jeremy Evans has slam dunk credentials. With the Slam Dunk Competition trophy from last season at home, and an impressive performance this season, it's obvious that the young forward has the ability to elevate and throw down powerful jams.
In a contest against the Portland Trailblazers on the first of April, the Jazz had a big lead late in the game and the bench players had taken the floor. A slam dunk is still worth just two points, but the details of how Evans gets to the rim are the astonishing factors in this play.
When Jamaal Tinsley flicks the ball up toward the backboard, Evans hasn't yet passed the three point line. The lanky forward screams in like a falcon to the rim, coiling up and exploding into the air to grab the ball and flush the ball through the rim with both hands.
Hayward coup d'état over Sacramento
Gordon Hayward had a successful season, averaging 14.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 72 games this season. Hayward made 336 field goals this season, but this one against the Sacramento Kings was one of the largest of the year.
With the game tied at 102, the Jazz had 12 seconds to get a shot off in an attempt to win the game and avoid overtime. Hayward curls off a solid screen by Derrick Favors, squares his feet and shoulder, and drops in the jumper.
Game, set, match. Jazz win.
Mo Williams defeats the Spurs
The Jazz have battled the Spurs for 47:53 minutes, and the remaining 6.7 seconds will decide the game. Who do the Jazz call?
The play is beautiful in its simplicity. Williams dribbles the ball for a few seconds, steps into a jumper, and buries the three-pointer over Danny Green.
"That's a huge defensive error," Gregg Popovich said of his Spurs leaving Williams open for the decisive shot. "What do you think a guy is going to do with two seconds on the clock? You make him drive. You don't step back on Mo Williams; that's why (Danny Green) was on him so we didn't have a small guy like Tony (Parker).
"We put a big guy on him for that one reason, to get up into him, and he backed off. Huge defensive error that cost us the game."
If Popovich is that upset, it must have been a great play.