The Jazz got some much needed help from other teams last night. First, the Cavs managed to eek out a win against the Mavs, sans LeBron. This could have been a loss for the Cavs, in their first game home after a four game road trip, but J.J. Barea gon' J.J. Barea. A late turnover by the Mavs guard helped seal the win for the Cavs.
The Blazers, Mavs, and Rockets have all joined the Jazz on the mediocrity highway and since the beginning of the week, the gap has closed. The Jazz now sit just 2.5 games back of the Blazers for the 6th seed. It's improbable that they'll fall that far, but the Grizzlies have dropped three straight since whatever curse befell them.
Some would argue that all this scoreboard watching is bogus and that the Jazz should earn their spot. Nonsense. Every team needs luck to achieve success. You can look at every team across the league and see that they have had luck help in their success. Would the Warriors be a historic team if they had been hit by injuries to the extent of that the Jazz or Wizards have had to deal with? What about their title run last year? Would things have shaken up differently had they caught the Clippers instead of the Rockets after an improbable and exhausting series?
If anything, this Jazz squad deserves some things to go their way, after their perseverance through adversity.
This week on Zach Lowe's podcast, one of his guests was Jonathon Abrams, author of the recently released book "Boys Among Men." The podcast is interesting, but one thing that came to mind while listening was whether CJ Miles would be included. CJ was among the last players to make the jump straight from high school to the NBA. Certainly the book will cover the big name stars that took that path (Garnett, Bryant, Howard, etc.) and the "busts" (Kwame Brown), but CJ is one of those that didn't hit either extreme. Perhaps Jazz fans expected too much of him, and were certainly frustrated by him at times, but he has managed to be a rotation player for about 10 years now.
Should be an interesting book for all NBA fans. You can find the podcast here.
Along those same lines, SB Nation's Tom Ziller wrote about Abrams' book, and had some commentary of his own. The issue has certainly come to the forefront this week, not just because of Abrams' book (I'm sure the timing is no coincidence), but because of the start of the revenue juggernaut that is March Madness (Which starts... right now).
Good news, for people that are into this kind of thing:
Are you a fan of this sort of thing? I am unapologetically so.
Looking forward to tonight's games:
Memphis @ Milwaukee- The odds are about even (56% for Bucks), but this will mostly depend on the Grizzlies' squad
Portland @ San Antonio- The Spurs are huge favorites in this one.
Both games could be great for the Jazz.