Current Western Conference teams in contention for seeds 4-8:
4: LAC (7.5 games back from 1st, 44 games played)
5: Mem (8, 43)
6: Dal (8.5, 46)
7: Den (9, 45)
8: Hou (10.5, 46)
9: Pho (11, 45)
10: Jazz (11, 45)
11: Min (12.5, 46)
The Jazz play these teams 7 times, 4 home, 3 away (Den, @LAC, Pho, @Hou, @Mem, Dal, Pho)
The Jazz play teams above these (OKC, SA, LAL) 3 times (OKC, @SA, SA).
The Jazz play teams below these (POR, GSW, SAC, NO) 7 times, 3 home, 4 away (@Sac, Sac, @Por, GSW, @NO, @Por, Por).
The rest of the games are vs Eastern conference teams (@ATL, @NJ, @Bos, Orl). These teams are currently 6th, 13th, 7th, and 3rd in the East, respectively.
The Jazz have played 45 games and have 21 games remaining. That loss @Pho is pretty big right now. Road games are all pretty sketchy for this team, but beating the Lakers at the Staples Center is a great start. The Jazz have been starting road games better recently, avoiding digging themselves a hole early.
Down the stretch, the Jazz play @Hou, @NO, @Mem, Dal, @Por, Orl, Pho, Por.
This could be a very, very exciting finish (for those of us who are hoping the Jazz can make the playoffs).
GSW breakdown below for those who care:
GSW plays those teams 12 times, 3 home, 9 away.
GSW plays OKC, SA, and LAL 5 times, 4 home, 1 away.
GSW plays POR, SAC, NO 6 times, 3 home, 3 away.
They also have a game vs NJ.
They currently stand 9th from last (CHA, WAS, NO, NJ, Tor, Det, Cle, Sac).
In my opinion, that pick is gonzo unless a couple of teams push them back by hitting the lottery. Too many games against teams in playoff contention (17/23).
I think Sacto, and some combination of Cle, Det, or Tor jumps them. It could even be NJ if they win @GSW. The big wildcards here are whether Portland's players go into full on tank mode, or Minnesota continues their implosion. If Portland in particular starts tanking, it'll help the Jazz's playoff push as well as push GSW up in the standings.