The Utah Jazz have played 49 games this season. The schedule calls for 82 games so, well, it doesn't take a genius to understand that we have 33 games left to play. Wow, that doesn't seem like much. There are 19 home games and 14 road games left. Against the Eastern conference we play 13 more games (9 at home, 4 on the road). Against the Western conference we have 20 games left (10 home, 10 on the road). How many more of these games are against cream-puff teams? (The teams we're capable of beating with some difficulty in our current state -- that is the state of playing without 3 of our top guards in the rotation: Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, Earl Watson)
Well, because you are the best Utah Jazz fans on the internet, I had to find out!
- Two Games Left: New York Knicks (31-15), Chicago Bulls (29-19), Milwaukee Bucks (25-21)
- One Game Left: Brooklyn Nets (28-19), Atlanta Hawks (26-20), Boston Celtics (24-23), Philadelphia 76ers (21-26), Detroit Pistons (18-31), Cleveland Cavaliers (14-34), and Charlotte Bobcats (11-36)
- No Games Remaining: Miami Heat (31-14), Indiana Pacers (29-19), Toronto Raptors (17-31), Orlando Magic (14-34), Washington Wizards (12-35)
All three teams we have to play twice still are going to be tough games. As for cream-puffs, we do play the Bobcats and Pistons in Utah, and the Cavs in their gym. So that's a three to three ratio of "these are hard teams" vs. "these are bad teams". Of course, we play the hard teams twice and the bad teams only once. Beyond that one Cavs road game -- ALL the other games we have left against a team with only ONE game left remaining are HOME games. That's pretty much the worst sentence I've ever constructed. Let's try that again. For all the teams that we have only one game left to play from the Eastern Conference, the only road game is against the Cavs; the rest are at home. Probably the most interesting home game will be the Jazz hosting the Deron Williams led Brooklyn Nets. They're playing well right now and are winning 60% of their games for the season.
- Three Games Left: Oklahoma City Thunder (36-12), Minnesota Timberwolves (18-27)
- Two Games Left: Memphis Grizzlies (30-16), Golden State Warriors (30-17), Portland Trail Blazers (25-23)
- One Game Left: San Antonio Spurs (38-11), Los Angeles Clippers (34-16), Denver Nuggets (30-18), Houston Rockets (26-23), Dallas Mavericks (20-28), Sacramento Kings (17-33), Phoenix Suns (16-32), New Orleans Hornets (15-33)
- No Games Remaining: Los Angeles Lakers (22-26)
It is safe to say that EACH of the other 14 teams in the Western conference are a handful? Starting at the top, we play OKC three more times (twice at home, once in their gym) and they are a great team. We also play the T-Wolves three times (once at home, twice in their gym) and I have no idea who is healthy for them on any given week. I don't think we can under-estimate how well the T-Wolves play us though, so I fear all of these games. I also fear all the other games we have left in the two games remaining spot: the Grizz already beat us twice this year; we face Golden State twice at home still, but they are way more talented and Andrew Bogut is returning; and we barely scraped a split with Portland. None of these are going to be easy, save for the 1 home game against Minny.
The one game left slate has up playing on the road against the Spurs, Clippers, Rockets, Mavs, and Kings. We play at home against the Nuggets, Suns, and Hornets. The Suns and Hornets have both posed challenges for us -- but out of all the Western foes remaining, those are the two "on paper" easiest games.
So for "easy games" we have:
- Pistons in Utah
- Bobcats in Utah
- Cavaliers in Cleveland
- T-Wolves in Utah
- Suns in Utah
- Hornets in Utah
That's 6 of our 33 remaining games. The rest of the games are divided as 14 at home, and 13 on the road. Not factoring things like fatigue, injuries, trades, and tanking . . . it's going to be a wild ride. But ultimately one where the Jazz have control over their own destiny.