Tonight could potentially be one of the most important games of the whole season for the Utah Jazz. For the #TankNote crowd, tonight is like the Super Bowl. The Orlando Magic currently have a four-game lead in the loss column in the race to the top of the lottery (also known as the bottom of the standings, but let’s look at this with a “glass half full” attitude).
Here is a snapshot of the lottery odds as they stand today, courtesy of Tankathon.
If the Jazz lose tonight, not only do they tie the Chicago Bulls in the loss column at 36, but they also gain a game on Orlando and would only be 3 games back of getting the highly coveted 5th-place lottery odds. This is important because the chance of getting a top 4 pick increases quite dramatically when a team jumps from having the 8th worst record to the 7th, going from 17.7% all the way up to 31.9%. The next big jump happens when a team has the 5th worst record where the chance to get a top 4 pick is 42%. The Jazz would gain significant ground on the field in front of them tonight with a loss, and their schedule for the stretch run of the season is significantly more difficult than Chicago, Orlando, and Indiana’s.
What To Watch For
While a portion of the fan base may be hoping the Jazz don’t pull out the win tonight, there are some great storylines developing during this final stretch of the regular season.
- Kris Dunn has averaged 13 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds per game during his stint with the Jazz this year. He has looked really serviceable as a backup point guard, will that continue tonight?
- Can Johnny Juzang prove that he belongs on the NBA level? He has had some great flashes, although his stats look unimpressive so far. I’m sure the Jazz are hoping that he can pull it together, guys with his size and smooth-looking jumper don’t come along every day.
- Simone Fontecchio needs to start hitting some 3s! He’s 11/47 for the last month, which puts him at 23%. Here’s hoping he can knock some down in Orlando tonight.
- Walker Kessler and Jordan Clarkson, 2 of the Jazz’s 3 best players, are currently listed as “Questionable” on the injury report. If they play the Jazz odds of winning obviously improve significantly.
The Orlando Magic are a really fun team to watch. They have the current favorite for Rookie of the Year in Paolo Banchero. His skillset at 6’10” is rare, he’s going to be a very good player for years to come. Franz Wagner has also had an awesome season, the combination of him and Banchero looks promising. Add to the mix that Markelle Fultz has been playing well over the past month and it’s safe to say the future is bright in Orlando, and the Jazz will have to play at the top of their game to win tonight.
When: 5:00 PM MST
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
TV: ATTSN-RM (AT&T Sports Net-Rocky Mountain)
- Wendell Carter Jr. - Out - Left Hip Pain
- Jonathan Isaac - Out - Left Adductor; Torn/Surgery
- Admiral Schofield - Probable - Concussion
- Jordan Clarkson - Questionable - Finger Sprain
- Walker Kessler - Available - Non-Covid Illness
- Collin Sexton - Out - Left Hamstring Strain