Video Games | Season Pre-cap: Spoiler alert: NBA 2k9 tells you how the Jazz will finish this season. 

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I don’t like to debate things. I have a belief that if two people believe in different things—whether it’s a presidential candidate, a sports team or a flavor of ice cream—there’s little one can say to change the other’s mind. n

So how do I settle debates? I consult a video game—although since this is a video-game column, you probably saw that coming. I know Barack Obama will be the next president because I played out various scenarios on the video game Political Machine. I know my Pittsburgh Steelers will lose in the AFC Championship game to the Tennessee Titans this year because Madden 2009 has predetermined the outcome.


So as the NBA regular season prepares to kick into high gear, I don’t bother wasting words on how your beloved Utah Jazz might do. I grab me a copy of the closest NBA video game—NBA 2k9—and let the nerds at 2k Games tell me how to bet the mortgage payment in Las Vegas.


I chose NBA 2k9 because the franchise has been chosen as the top basketball simulator the past seven years. I’ve always been more of an NBA Live (EA Sports) guy, but I can see why people rave about this series. This is the ballplayer’s game, without a doubt.


As our simulated Jazz start their season, expectations are high coming off the Northwest Division title and a 54-win season. The first game of the season against the Denver Nuggets looks to continue that momentum with a 103-97 Jazz Victory. Deron Williams leads the Jazz with 16 points and seven assists. In fact, the Jazz improve to 5-0 with wins over the Clippers, Portland and Oklahoma City.


But call it jet lag or travel fatigue, the Jazz will start to struggle as they head out east for five games. While they best the Knicks and Wizards, they lose to the Bobcats, 76ers and a demoralizing 107-86 drubbing at the hands of LeBron James and the Cavaliers. This will be a minor setback, however, and at the Feb. 15 All-Star Break the Jazz are in a commanding lead of the division at 41-12. They’re also sitting pretty at second in the Western Conference, just three games behind the Lakers and one ahead of the Suns.


After a long weekend in which the East clobbers the West 117-99 (hey, take it up with my gaming console), the Jazz get back on their quest for a title. The last 29 games of the season are a mixed bag for the Jazz, and they end the season three games better than last year at 59-23. The Jazz just miss 60 wins when they fall to the Lakers in the season finale, 105-102 in overtime.


To save time, we’ll skip details of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Just know that Boston is going for the repeat. The Western Conference teams battling it out to face them, in order of first-round rankings, are the Suns, Lakers, Jazz, Spurs, Hornets, Nuggets, Rockets and—the year’s big surprise—Portland Trailblazers.


The Jazz have no problems in the first round sweeping the Nuggets. In the conference semis, the Suns best Houston (who upset the Lakers in Round 1) 4-1 and the Jazz edge the Hornets 4-3 after squandering a 3-1 lead. By the time the Suns roll around in the finals, the Jazz are gassed. After dropping the first two games, the Jazz only are able to push it to game six, losing to the Suns 98-92. But take heart, Jazz fans: They lose to the eventual NBA champions, who take the Celtics to seven games, winning the NBA crown 107-104.


So, now that I’ve delivered the heartbreaking news, I guess there’s nothing else to do but start thinking about the 2009-10 season. After all, if it happened in a video game, it has to come true.



nEA Sports, Xbox 360, PlayStation, PC, $59.99

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