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The Utah Jazz Are Forcing Opponents' Hands: Downbeat #1787

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More fallout (not Fallout) from the Utah Jazz's narrow loss to the undefeated Warriors on Monday night. A look at why the Jazz will make the playoffs, if they do. Solid representation on the latest League Pass recommendations. And Rudy Gobert ethering more Twitter trolls. It's your Wednesday Downbeat, and it's about to get funky.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

More fallout (not Fallout) from the Utah Jazz's narrow loss to the undefeated Warriors on Monday night. A look at why the Jazz will make the playoffs, if they do. Solid representation on the latest League Pass recommendations. And Rudy Gobert ethering more Twitter trolls. It's your Wednesday Downbeat, and it's about to get funky.

A lot of ink has been spilled (that is fancy writer-person talk which means people have written a lot) over the Jazz's 106-103 loss to the Warriors on Monday night. Most of it focused on Golden State's undeniably impressive 19-0 record, and their ability to win when they didn't play particularly well. But an underreported angle was how the Jazz forced the Warriors to play their game, rather than trying to run with the champs. Here's ESPN's Ethan Sherwood Strauss on how Utah's game plan was only thwarted by Draymond Green's late rebound of Rodney Hood's missed 3-pointer:

Utah played well and forced the Warriors to play Jazz basketball. In the end, it wasn't enough, because the Warriors had Curry and Green. [...] The Warriors molded themselves to Utah's style, not the other way around. Walton indicated it would have been different with a healthy Barnes, but on this day, Utah forced Golden State to adjust.

That was an accomplishment for the Jazz, just not one that resulted in tangible reward. On this night, when that reward was in variance, Green snatched it up.

Obviously, there are lots of factors at play in any given win or loss, and I'm not one for moral victories. The loss stung. But if there's anything positive to take away, it's the knowledge that the Jazz have something unique enough that it forces teams to adjust to them, not the other way around. And not every team will be as good as the Warriors at making that adjustment. It's cold comfort, but it's a little encouraging.

If that doesn't work, just do what I do.

Whatever the name on the exterior, the Jazz's home court has always been a difficult place to play, if not quite the imposing venue of Stockton-to-Malone's apex. But KSL's Ben Anderson says that, if the Jazz are to make the playoffs this season, it will be based on their play away from Home Smart Home:

Currently the Jazz have won a perfect 50 percent of their games at home, 50 percent on the road, and it appears to have little to do with the quality of opponent. Of the six games the Jazz have played at home, four of the opponents, or 66 percent would make the playoffs if they started today. Of the 10 teams the Jazz have played on the road, 60 percent would be in the current playoff picture.

If the Jazz are to maintain their .500 winning percentage on the road, they'd finish with either 20, or 21 road victories on the season, a feat they've accomplished only twice since the retirement of Stockton and Malone. It was last completed in 2010 when the Jazz finished with a 21-20 road record. The Jazz made the playoffs both seasons.

It's optimistic to assume the Jazz will hit that .500 mark on the road, but it's also a safe bet that they'll win more than half their home games. November was a brutal month, but there's reason to believe maybe this month will be better than the last.

It is 2015 and I just made a Counting Crows reference and I don't care what you think of me.

(but seriously I'm old)

You know what's not old? This piping-hot, VERY SCIENTIFIC projection FanPost from its_computers:

these rankings take performance and strength of schedule into account in some, probably convoluted, way. the teams with the easiest schedules so far are GSW, SAS, CLE, DAL, and ORL. the teams with the toughest schedules so far are NOP, CHI, PHI, WAS, and MEM. the Jazz have the 7th toughest schedule so far. keep in mind that i don't have any clue what i'm doing when i calculate strength of schedule.

More FanPosts, please!

Nylon Calculus has published its NBA League Pass schedule recommendations for December, and the Jazz are well represented, even if they're not on national TV:

I'm admittedly weirded out, however, by the bizarre mishmash of current and out-of-date logos featured in the graphic above. The baby-blue Jazz mark jumps out, obviously, but the teal-and-horse-era Pistons, the Vancouver-era Grizzlies, and the rainbow-tequila-sunrise Nuggets also feature prominently. Odd.

Twitter is kind of the worst. Rudy Gobert ethering fools on Twitter is kind of the best.