Still not Amar
The Jazz and Pelicans played a close game for 32 minutes with Ricky Rubio seemingly single handedly keeping us in striking distance. The next 16 minutes, the Jazz just dominated the Pels. Spida Mitchell started 1-9 from the field with 2 FT’s and 4 points at halftime and just as the Jazz started their move to tie the game, he turned it on, hit Rudy for an assist and then went on to score the next 17 Jazz points, finishing 10-21 with 27 points. The recent FT woes seemed to end as the Jazz went 24-25 from the line. In the end they won going away 116-99.
The Nuggets, as expected, manhandled the Kings; taking most of the 4th quarter off and still won 130-104.
The Jazz just can’t seem to get any help in their quest for the playoffs as the Warriors minus Curry lost to the Wolves. GSW played uninspired, lazy ball. The kind of malaise that besets a lot of the best teams during the regular season as if they are too good and it’s a waste of their time. This hubris has seen GSW lose the top seed for the first time in what seems like 3 full seasons. Final score 109-103.
**Subnote on GSW. Curry's early career ankle issues may be returning. I really hope not, but it's worrying.**
The other teams in the scrum of the Western playoff race took the night off; although since I'm semi-tracking the Lakers; they did manage to beat down the Cavs last night
Results of last night’s prediction:
The Jazz won going away and the Nuggets handled the Kings, but the dumb Warriors couldn’t do their job and beat the plummeting Wolves. My overall prediction score is now 10-4
Houston has more control over the western playoff race than any other team. Six of their next seven games are against one of the western playoff hopefuls. Starting at home with SAS with Houston playing on the second night of a Texas triangle back to back after playing Dallas last night without Harden. They follow this up with hosting LAC, then a 3 day road trip to NO, Minn (2nd night of B2B) and Portland before coming home. They get a bit of time off and a game against the Pistons before their rematch with NOP. San Antonio, for their part is coming off day of a rest day after their loss to the Thunder. They are 2-8 in their last 10 games. They are getting healthier, with Aldridge back and rumors that Leonard will be suiting up again soon.
The rested Thunder get the Kings on the 2nd half of a B2B at home. There shouldn't be much more of a gimme game than this. The Thunder, on the surface, are playing well at 7-3 in their last 10 with 2 straight wins; but when you look at who they've actually beaten, it's a different story. Since Feb 1 they are 9-8. they beat Golden State, Memphis twice, Phoenix twice, Sacramento, Orlando, Dallas and San Antonio. So they're winning the games they're supposed to, but lost to Denver, New Orleans, the Lakers twice, Cavs, GSW, Portland and Houston. To close out the season, they play only 3 sub .500 teams and 11 straight against playoff teams. Keep an eye on the Thunder to possibly drop out of the playoffs. So, much as I wish otherwise, this doesn’t qualify as a trap game. Sactown is just too bad to challenge them
Portland looks to extend their win streak to 10 games when they face the Heat in Miami tonight. Both teams had last night off, with Portland being extra rested, having not played since Friday. This game is a bigger game for Miami than Portland; as they’re in the middle of the Eastern version of the Western playoff mess. The Heat sit at the 7th seed but could finish anywhere between 3rd and 8th. Unlike the west, though, falling out of the playoffs isn’t likely in the cards though.
538 shows playoff percentages as follows for the 3-8 race:
- Jazz ⬆ 92%
- Blazers ⬇ 97%
- Pelicans ⬇ 77%
- Timberwolves ⬆ 91%
- Thunder ⬇ 86%
- Clippers ⬇ 52%
- Spurs ⬇ 54%
- Nuggets ⬆ 49%
- Lakers ⬆<1%
538 gives 9 teams a chance to win the title. The Jazz (1%) are one of those 9 along with the Rockets (46%), Raptors (22%), Warriors (18%), Blazers (2%), 76ers (2%), Celtics (2%), Thunder (1%) and Cavs (2%)
538 also predict the Jazz to finish 47-35 along with the Wolves and Thunder. If that is the case, both teams own the tie breaker with us, putting us at the 6th seed and a 1st round match up against Portland
Next up for the Jazz Tuesday vs the Pistons at Energy Solutions Arena.