Let's just get this out there. We all had hoped that the Melo trade would have happened earlier in the season and as a result, the Northwest Division race would have been whittle down to three teams instead of four. Even if it was drawn out, the surely it would cause a disruption with the Nuggets and they would flounder.
Unfortunately, only half of that happened. Denver still played pretty good ball and it still in the middle of the Western Conference standings, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Jazz.
Certainly though when the Nuggets eventually traded Melo, it would lead to their demise, right? That hasn't happened either. As mentioned in the DB, they're 5-1 over their last 6 and 4 of 5 w/o Melo. Their lone loss was at Portland in OT, a game they probably should have won.
They really haven't had one person step up; it's been a true team effort since Carmelo was sent to NY. There's no bigger example of that than last night's win over the Bobcats where they scored 120 points yet not one player had 20.
As the cliche goes, the Jazz control their own fate. They have two games left in the season against the Nuggets, both at home. Not only would a season series win give them a tiebreaker advantage, they wouldn't have to rely on someone else taking care of the Nuggets for them.
The Jazz are in a state of flux to put things mildly. Check out this box score from one year ago. Only three of those players remain with the team and one of the starters is still here.
Tyrone Corbin is going to be earning every last penny of his contract as he attempts to bring the team together in order to make the playoffs. We've been waiting for this team to come together for the past 7 months; I don't know if they can do it in the next few days. There has been progress and flashes of a team that can make it to the post-season, but it's time to start putting up Ws. Denver would be the perfect place to start and to instill some confidence in this team.
A good place to start would be on the defensive end. They have been getting lit up from the outside the past three months, allowing teams to shoot 40% from the arc. The Jazz are in the bottom 10 in 3P% allowed and would be the second-worst in the league behind Cleveland if not for October/November.
Perhaps an equally as big problem is that they can't make any threes either. In February, they're making just 25% of their three-point shots. Raja's not making them. Deron wasn't making them. AK, our team-leader in three-points shots, wasn't making them. Nobody is making them.
Denver however does make them and that frightens me. I don't know how the Jazz cover them tonight with all of their shooters.
I'm looking forward to tonight's game though. I want to see if the Jazz have built on the game against Boston. I want to see Al's dominance. I want to see Hayward get some more PT with all of Denver's wings. I want Devin Harris to match up against Lawson and his speed. Mainly, I want a win.