The Utah Jazz look to keep it rolling tonight against the Phoenix Suns. Although the Suns are currently near the bottom of not only the western conference, but the entire league, it always seems entertaining when these two teams face off.
The biggest storyline of the night for the Jazz will be the return of Dante Exum, against the team he got injured playing against no less. It will be intriguing to see if Dante plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder (no pun intended) against the Suns. It will also be interesting to see what his minutes and conditioning look like too.
In the bigger picture the Jazz must fight against the natural tendency to play down to your opponents level. The team seems to be doing better at this than they were earlier in the year as shown by this quote from forward Derrick Favors after the Detroit Pistons game:
Every team is good. Every team has NBA guys, so we have to come out ready. Treat every team with respect.”
Bringing that attitude to the game tonight will go a long way towards not playing sluggish and careless. They may not have a quarter like they did in the 1st quarter against the Detroit Pistons, but realistically the Utah Jazz should be able to put this game out of reach early.
The bigger, bigger picture is also the playoff push that this team is in the midst of. The Jazz currently sit in the 8th seed, but they are on the precipice of moving higher as long as they can keep scooping up games like tonight. On the other hand the team is no lock for the playoffs at this point and it goes without saying that losing a game like this would have huge ramifications on playoff hopes. I only bring this up to illustrate an element of pressure that this game can potentially bring.
Between the record over the last 20 games, Dante Exum’s return and the fact that the Jazz are in prime position for the playoff push. It makes for some really exciting March basketball. Let’s hope tonight does not disappoint, and they Jazz can keep this playoff train rolling