Wow. The Utah Jazz are playing great right now. It's the combination of potential with actual playing time, leading to confidence in play and consistency in behavior. It is almost as if some of the people who run this show actually figured out a few things about development. (And no matter what anecdotal evidence people have, actually playing in NBA games matters. And Rudy Gobert has now played in 3.5x the total minutes he got last year, with 18 more games to go.) The team is going out there at home or on the road and competing every night. The effort has turned into habit. And the habits have turn into success. Against the Jazz even giants fall. So, how does all this feel-good-y stuff reflect the standings? Well . . .
What Happened Last Night?
- Memphis (2) lost to Washington (E): 107-87
- Houston (4) lost to Utah (11): 109-91, the following GIF is all you need:
- San Antonio (6) lost to Cleveland (E): 128-125 (OT), probably one of the best games of the year
- Los Angeles (14) lost to New York (E): 101-94, the tank is real.
- and in East on East action, Indiana beat Milwaukee, 109-103 (OT)
Every team in the West lost last night . . . except for the mighty Utah Jazz.
Western Conference Standings:
So there probably was some movement up and down the standings, right? Nooope.
If you are crazy like I am, it is good to note that the Jazz remain 5.0 games behind Phoenix. It is possible for them to catch the Suns, but it's not going to be easy. The Jazz play 18 more games, and the Suns 16.
The Race to the Bottom:
So the Jazz and Celtics flip flopped again. It appears as though that will be what happens from here on out.
- In the Top 5, those teams are all bad, and mostly losing games. They all look to lose again tonight.
- For the next batch (#6-13) there are some teams trying out there, but some teams really getting beat up right now. The Pistons and Nets, man, weren't these teams supposed to make the playoffs this year? Giving all that money to Kevin Garnett and Josh Smith? How did that work out. The Celtics should win tonight, as should the Kings.
- Indiana gets their own spot here, as the #7 seed in the East, and going on a super duper run right now. Seven wins in a row is nothing to snort at. (Do people snort at things? I guess they do, it's just a rarely used expression. Or perhaps I'm reading the wrong books.)
- The last group (#15-20) are teams that shouldn't be in the lotto, but because of how the world works the Thunder exist here. They are 0.5 games from the playoffs, and that fight against the Pelicans will persist for the entire rest of the season. Which is 17-18 games.
- What the heck is up with the Raptors, though? They were the best team in the East for months . . . now they are fighting to even hold onto home court.
What Games are happening tonight?
- Heat (E8) @ Raptors (E4) -- Both of these teams aren't real contenders this year, but this game still matters out East
- Kings (W13) @ 76ers (E14) -- If you love Rudy Gay long twos this is the game for youse
Bulls (E3) @ Hornets (E9) -- Can #MOLO still win games? He's having a great season so far
- Magic (E13) @ Celtics (E10) -- Celtics should win easily
- Timberwolves (W15) @ Thunder (W9) -- can Enes Kanter lead his team to victory?
- Clippers (W5) @ Mavericks (W7) -- Chris Paul is still a flopping fish
- Warriors (W1) @ Nuggets (W12) -- Should be a solid win for a team that already had 51 of them
- Pistons (E12) @ Trail Blazers (W3) -- Do teams ever win in Portland? I mean, besides Portland?
- Hawks (E1) @ Suns (W10) -- Hope the Suns lose!
Personally, this would be a more fruitful exercise if we were in the playoff hunt, or a bottom five lotto team.
Again, I want to catch the Suns. It's not probable. But I'm all for that. Anyone with me? Or does the prospect of picking Top 10 sound better than picking #14 (or whatever, because some team will jump the Jazz).