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October dreams of a 60 win season were quickly dashed with an unprecedented rash of injuries.

Then after fighting through it and positioning themselves well for a playoff push, when everybody finally got back together, a tough late-season schedule and some ill-timed malaise led to losing seven of their last nine and a first round playoff date with the L.A. Lakers, the West's top seed.

Which brings us to this unavoidable ending, especially when a late season injury to Memo further handicapped the Jazz.

In Game Five the Jazz battled early, Memo giving them a lift with an early 3, showing more movement but still nowhere near 100%.

Andrei Kirilenko also shot well early and got up in Kobe's body defensively, but LA took over in the 2nd Quarter and pushed it up to a 20 point lead in the 3rd.

It could have been a whole lot worse except Jerry Sloan benched his main men in the 4th Quarter. A lineup of Paul Millsap, Ronnie Price, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and Memo turned the game completely around.

With UVU product Price running the point with passion, and being a physical force on the floor, he injected energy into a team in the process of rolling over. Price even got into a late game confrontation with Derek Fisher.

Afterward, Jerry Sloan said, "I was surprised that it took someone like Ronnie Price's effort to bring us back to life. I've never seen a guy play that hard in that situation. It shows you probably the mistakes that I've made."

Paul Millsap scored 11 straight points and Korver finished a 16-2 run with a corner 3 pointer. Suddenly it was a six point game with more than three minutes left. Coach Sloan backed his team up too, getting ejected for arguing after a series of no-calls under the Jazz basket when there appeared to be plenty of contact.

In the end, the Lakers won the game 107-96, eliminating the Jazz four games to one. While they await the winner of the Rockets/Blazers series, the Jazz sail off into an intriguing summer. Nine potential free agents; Boozer, Okur and Korver can all opt-out. Millsap's a restricted free agent and sure to command multi-million dollar offers.

Boozer spoke to his issue in the post game press conference. Asked if it's his last game in a Jazz uniform he responded, " Oh, I don't know that, I don't know that at all. I have a lot of talking to do with the team, talk to my agent and my family, we'll figure things out and make a decision this summer. Unfortunately our season's over so we'll have to start talking about some of that stuff."

Boozer was asked, "Would you like to come back?"

"Absolutely, I'd love to be in a Jazz uniform. I feel like one of those cornerstone people that brought this team back to prominence, back to the playoffs. I'd love to continue to move forward here, to have a chance to play for a championship in the future.", said Boozer. This coming off-season figures to be more exciting than this season that just ended.

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Tom Kirkland Sports Director


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