This is the second last stop on our Route 66 review. It’s been a long ride, but there are only 13 games left to play, in 25 nights. If you want to see the road we passed by you are free to do so starting here: December (Gm 1 – 4); January (Gm 5 – 19); February (Gm 20 – 34). The main unanswered question for this season of ups and downs, road troubles, home victories, an ever changing roster heroes and goats, is "are we going to make the playoffs?" The Jazz are currently 1.5 games out. We have to make ground on the Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, and maybe even the Memphis Grizzlies – all while holding back the Phoenix Suns, and maybe even the Minnesota Timberwolves. It is possible. Anything, honestly, is possible after the Jazz went 11-8 in March.
All season long I’ve been challenging the Jazz to prove me wrong. On the record I said the Jazz would go 7-8 in January, and they went 11-4. I felt like the Jazz would go 1-3 in December, and I was right. On the record I said that the Jazz would go 5-10 in February, and they went 4-11. On the record I said that the Jazz would go 5-14 in March, and they went 11-8. All months considered, the Jazz have won +9 more games than I thought they would. If you ask me that is evidence of the Jazz proving me wrong. For the entire season I had the Jazz winning 30-35 games. They have 27 already.
There are 13 games remaining, and the Jazz need to win 9 of those to exceed my expectations (Final tally of 36 wins and 30 losses). Can they do it? Way more details and map and fun stuff after the jump!
Utah Jazz April Schedule:
March was supposed to be hell but the Jazz tamed it. I want to say that with this schedule (13 games, 7 at home, and 6 on the road), we are still the masters of our own destiny. There are only 6 remaining games against playoff teams (according to the standings at the time of this writing): @ San Antonio, vs. San Antonio, @ Houston, @ Memphis, and vs. Orlando. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we still have 6 games left against teams that aren’t in the playoffs, but routinely give us a lot of trouble: @ Portland, vs. Phoenix, @ Golden State, @ Portland, vs. Phoenix, and vs. Portland. Oh yeah, and a game left @ New Orleans and we can’t sleep on them either.
March looked bad on paper, but the Jazz finished it with an 11-8 record. This month looks bad in reality though, paper be damned. None of these are going to be "gimmie" games. And that’s just what the Jazz need to fight through if they deserve to make the playoffs.
Because my reverse jinxes work so well, I’m challenging the Jazz again, ‘C’mon Jazz, show me that you are a playoff team. Win these games and prove me wrong!’
April – Week 1:
The first game is in Portland, and we don’t have good success in their gym. They did also just blow up their team. Kaleb Canales is their head coach and they’ve gone: win, loss, loss, win, loss, loss, win, loss, loss, win, loss, win, loss, win, loss in their last 12 games. They are way better at home than on the road, and well, like I said; we don’t usually play well there. With every game being a "MUST WIN", the Jazz must win this game, and start the month off right. Portland isn’t tanking right now, they almost beat the Clippers (1 pt loss) in their last game. Phoenix will not give us any quarter either, but this is a home game. Golden State will want to win this game. And we’re going for the playoffs so we’ll try our best to win it too. But hey, it’s Golden State – even in the best of times we have trouble beating them.
Amar’s Prediction: Jazz go 2-1
April – Week 2:
This is the Jazz last long road trip of the season, but before it starts we have a crazy Home and Home series (on back to back nights) against the San Antonio Spurs. I can’t predict what Greg Poppovich is going to do here, so the best I can hope for is to split these games. We could just as easily be crushed in both, or win both depending on what Pop does. He’s . . . hard to pin down. After our home game against the Spurs the Jazz will go on to face the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets, and Memphis Grizzlies – all on the road, and 3 games in 4 nights. If we’re a playoff team we need to win EACH of these games. Houston and Memphis are directly ahead of us in the standings right now. The Jazz must win these games.
Amar’s Prediction: Jazz go 2-3
April – Week 3:
The Jazz host the Dallas Mavericks, then fly out to Portland (these guys again? In their gym again?), and then face the Orlando Magic at home. Goonies never say die, but I know when our goose is cooked. If the Jazz go 4-4 in the first two weeks of the month (as I’m predicting they will here), then even sweeping this week will not save our season. We just have so much trouble playing the Mavs, and have so much trouble playing the Blazers. I’m in the mind to say that the game we have the best shot at is the Orlando one at home, because, well, we don’t suck against them. And we do against those other two team.
Amar’s Prediction: Jazz go 0-3
April – Week 4:
These are the last two games of the season, and both are at home. I say the Jazz win both. Raja Bell scores 40 points against Phoenix and we promptly sign him to a lifetime deal.
Amar’s Prediction: Jazz go 2-0
Amar's April Prediction: Jazz go 6-7
Amar’s Final Jazz Record:
2011-2012 Utah Jazz: 33-33
Holy crap, that’s hilarious. I didn’t think it would end up like that, but that’s how I see things shaking down. Of course, depending on injuries, teams tanking (not ours), and other crazy things (uh, locusts?) I can easily see myself being wrong. I don’t mind being wrong, and I don’t mind admitting it either. I’d LOVE for the Jazz to win 36+ games and prove me wrong. (Remember: I predicted 30-35 wins this year) It will be an uphill climb for the Jazz.
But if there is anything we can learn from our team in the last month it is that you can’t count the Jazz out. On any given night the Jazz can beat a contender or lose to a lotto team. You got to play the games. And I know in my heart that our players will be fighting for every single second that’s left in this season.
And as a fan, that's all you want out of your players -- regardless of the final score.