SALT LAKE CITY — In all reality, the game didn’t matter. The Jazz were locked into the No. 5 seed heading into Wednesday’s regular-season finale in Los Angeles against the Clippers. And their injury report reflected that.
Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert? They sat out.
Derrick Favors and Ricky Rubio? Yep, them, too.
Raul Neto and Kyle Korver? They also weren’t about to make their return in this one.
But don’t tell Grayson Allen or Tony Bradley or Naz Mitrou-Long or Ekpe Udoh or Georges Niang that it didn't matter. This was an ESPN game on the final night of the NBA regular season. Dang straight, it mattered to them.
And especially to Allen.
After spending the season bouncing back and forth between the Jazz and the G-League, Allen has spent the last couple weeks turning some heads. And he made one final statement to end the regular season.
He scored 40 points on Wednesday and helped lead a 17-point comeback to force overtime where the Jazz fell 143-137 to the Clippers.
Utah ends the season with a 50-32 record.
The Jazz will be the No. 5 seed in the playoffs beginning this weekend where they will play the Houston Rockets in the first round.
With the number of players sitting out, the Jazz needed someone to score. And Allen was happy to take that responsibility.
Allen went 11-of-30 to hit his new career-high — the third time he has set a career high in the last two weeks. And he became just the second Jazz rookie ever to hit the 40-point mark. Mitchell scored 41 points last season.
"He did a great job of getting downhill," Georges Niang said of Allen. "That kid works his tail off."
Allen had a chance to really put an exclamation point on his regular season at the end of regulation. With the time ticking down, he had the ball and was ready to make a move. But Allen mishandled the ball as he began to drive and that forced Jazz coach Quin Snyder to call a timeout. The Jazz wouldn't get points off the possession which led to the overtime.
"It was a great opportunity, it was fun to get out there and play," Allen said.
Allen wasn't the only Jazzman to take advantage of an extended role on Wednesday.
Bradley had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz and Niang added 24 points for the Jazz. Bradley, in really his first meaningful minutes of the season, grew more and more comfortable as the game went on to finish with a double-double.
As for Allen, this might not be where his meaningful minutes end.
He's hopeful that he made a good enough impression over the past couple weeks to maybe be considered for playing time when the games really start to matter: Sunday when the Jazz and Rockets open up their series.
"That’s up to coach. But I will be ready," Allen said.