The Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz meet for the final time this season on Friday night in what promises to be one of the most awkward games of the season. The Jazz own the Warriors' first-round pick, so long as the Warriors don't finish in the top seven of the NBA Draft lottery.
That sets up a really hilarious scenario. Hit the jump for the specifics.
On the one hand, the Warriors absolutely need to lose. They're two games behind the Toronto Raptors for the seventh-worst record with just 13 games left in the season. Even if the Warriors catch Toronto, they have to hope nobody with a better record jumps into the top three at the NBA Draft lottery. A win would be really bad for the tanking effort.
That part is simple.
But what about the Jazz? Here's where it gets interesting. On the one hand, a loss would be a huge blow to Utah's playoff hopes. The Jazz are 1.5 games behind the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot with just 11 games left to play. HOWEVA, if they roll over and let the Warriors win, it would dramatically improve their chances at a lottery pick. Do the Jazz prefer getting into the playoffs and getting blasted by the Thunder or Spurs ... or do they prefer the chance to potentially draft Harrison Barnes or Jared Sullinger?