With two seeding games remaining, the Utah Jazz (43-27) need either one win or one Dallas Mavericks (42-30) loss to guarantee that they won’t fall to the 7th seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Today, Utah has a chance to make both of those things happen when they take on the Mavericks without some of Dallas’ best players on the floor.
Conversely, if climbing the standings is the kind of thing that interests you (personally, a 3-6 first round matchup with Denver is my preference), the Jazz can pass the Oklahoma City Thunder to reclaim the 5th seed with a win and a Thunder loss to the suddenly-white-hot Phoenix Suns. That would also put Utah one game back of the Houston Rockets, currently sitting at 4th.
When: Monday, August 10, 2020 • 1:00 PM MT
Where: The NBA Bubble, Disney World
TV: NBA TV, AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
What to look for
Who will be on the court for the Mavericks?
Following Luka Doncic’s dismantling of the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime Saturday night, the young superstar will have the day off against the Jazz. While it will be disappointing from a competition standpoint to not see Luka on the court, it’s an ultimately understandable decision by the Mavericks, especially considering he’s averaged 40 minutes per game in Dallas’ five seeding games thus far.
Also sitting for the Mavs will be fellow starters Kristaps Porzingis and Dorian Finney-Smith, who each played 40+ minutes on Saturday as well. At this point, for the teams locked into the playoffs, the remaining seeding games will be more about keeping their guys healthy than anything.
This will mean lots of playing time for former Jazz man Trey Burke, who is actually turning in a good performance thus far in Orlando after being picked up by the Mavericks prior to entering the bubble. In 5 games in a Dallas uniform, Burke is averaging 12.6 points per game and shooting nearly 40% from 3. Also look for a lot of minutes from Delon Wright, Justin Jackson and possibly Michael Kidd-Gilcrhist. If the Jazz want this one, it should be there for the taking.
More minutes for Utah’s youngsters
With Donovan Mitchell listed as questionable after playing 47 minutes in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Nuggets, it’s unclear where Utah’s priorities lie in regards to going all-out in this game. Sitting Mitchell and/or limiting the minutes of the other starters, who all played 40+ minutes Saturday, would be reasonable.
That means we may get a continued look at the development of second round rookies Miye Oni and Jarrell Brantley, some playing time for Rayjon Tucker, and more extended minutes for Tony Bradley and Georges Niang. Finding a diamond-in-the-rough type of role player out of that bunch, especially the rookies, could be paramount for the Jazz in future seasons, and there’s been some promising signs from each of them so far in Orlando.