It’s the culmination of a season that’s main goal was to stay healthy. After the disappointing end to last year, the team that came into the playoffs and lost to the Clippers comes into this season healthy. But are they whole? There have been serious ups and downs with this team. Because of resting players they have dropped some games, that was to be expected, but there have been a surprising amount of games where the Jazz had leads in the 4th and lost the game. How much of that was the team not trying to get injured for the playoffs and how much of it was a glimpse of some cracks in the foundations of the team? We’ll find out starting now.
Even though the core starters of this team are the same, there are some key differences to the bench from last year. The biggest difference was the departure of Joe Ingles. After his ACL tear, the Jazz were involved in a multi-team trade that moved Ingles to Portland and brought in Juancho Hernangomez and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. NAW was expected to be the biggest get for the Jazz in the trade, but Hernangomez has been the surprise rotation player. The other big move, and likely the biggest move of the season has been the acquisition of Danuel House. House initially signed on with multiple 10-day contracts but earned a full contract after standing out for the Jazz. House brings athleticism, size and energy that the team has been in desperate need of. He’s played so well so far that fans have been wondering when he’ll be inserted into the starting lineup. It’s been a pretty remarkable story. And so this team has sacrificed the playmaking of Joe Ingles with the length and athleticism of Hernangomez and House. The question going into these playoffs is how much that will change things for Utah.
Of course, the biggest keys for the Jazz are still Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley. If those three play well, the Jazz are still one of the most dangerous teams on any given night. The question is can they play a complete 48 minutes or will they fall apart at the end of games like they’ve done all season?
Now is the chance for the Jazz to put everything behind them. Everything that has happened before doesn’t matter because every team is starting over, 0-0. Are the Jazz ready? We’ll find out!
It’s clear the oddsmakers are leaning towards the Jazz in this one with Luka Doncic’s injury. With him being out it’s an uphill battle for the Mavericks. It’s a game the Jazz should win, we’ll see if they can take advantage.
Dallas Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic (calf strain) will be out for Game 1 vs. Utah on Saturday and significant concern remains for his availability Monday in Game 2, sources tell ESPN. Mavs will play long game w/ injury and take it day-by-day after playing without him Saturday.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 15, 2022
When: 11:00 AM MT
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
TV: ESPN, AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5/1280 The Zone, Utah Jazz App
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