We are coming down to the wire now. I subscribe to the thought that it would be best for the Jazz to take care of business and go into the playoffs on a roll, seeding being secondary. Having said that, we can look at the remaining schedule of the Jazz, Dallas (ahead of us by a half game, therefor reachable,) and Denver (currently behind Phoenix by % points, but still our division rival) to predict where we will line up.
I'm not going to look at who our possible first round match ups will be because, again, that is secondary. I am going to break down the remaining schedule by games against teams currently out of the Western Conference playoff picture.
First we will look at Denver: The Nuggies only have 1 remaining game against a non-playoff team. That team is Memphis. Memphis is definitely not a gimmie game, especially with the way Denver is playing as of late. Their collapse is definitely reminiscent of the collapse of the Jazz last season. With most of Denver's games against strong playoff teams, I am ruling them out of contention for the NW division.
Next up, Dallas: The Mavs remaining schedule is much softer than Denver's. Dalls is currently a half game up on the Jazz, and they have 4 games left against non-playoff teams. However 2 of those 4 are against Memphis. I could definitely see Memphis stealing one of those 2 games.
and the Jazz: The Jazz remaining schedule is very similar to the Mavs. They also have 4 non-playoff team games, with 2 of those coming against 1 team. But in the Jazz case, that team is Golden State. I would much rather play GS than Memphis. I don't see the Jazz losing either GS game.
prediction: I think the Jazz and the Mavs will stick very close to each other for the rest of the season, while the Nuggies fade. In the end I see the Jazz and Mavs with identical records, giving the Jazz the 2 seed with the tiebreaker over Dallas thanks to being a division leader because of Denver's collapse.
of course all of this hinges upon the Jazz avoiding the familiar late season crumble.