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Utah Jazz have a difficult finishing schedule, but are a team no playoff team in the West wants to face

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Read up on the last five games and vote in the poll to predict how the Jazz will finish the season!

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Well, ladies and gentlemen, and sentient androids with no gender, there are only five more games for the Utah Jazz to play in the 2014-2015 season. After two nights off the team will get back to things by hosting the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. On Friday they start a back-to-back set where they host the Memphis Grizzlies, then fly out that night to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. After another night off the Jazz then play another back-to-back set, hosting the Dallas Mavericks at home, then flying off the finish the season against the Houston Rockets in their gym.

2014 2015 Schedule Week 24 25 - SAC MEM POR DAL HOU MAP

2014 2015 Schedule Week 24 25 - SAC MEM POR DAL HOU

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Game 78: Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz

This is the easiest remaining game on the schedule, though I cannot state enough about how close the Jazz were to losing last night. Usually when your team is playing the second night of a back to back in a different timezone, on the road, and your best player is benched by the head coach you don't leave with a win. They did last night. Thank you Based Rodney Hood. Sacramento played with Darren Collison or Rudy Gay, two of their "Big Three". Collison will still be out for the next game, but I suspect that Gay will be cleared the NBA's concussion protocol by then (it's three nights from now). But to the disadvantage of the Kings they will be playing the night before against the pesky Minnesota Timberwolves. We've seen firsthand what can happen when you under-estimate them, so it could be very likely that those two up-tempo teams tire each other out the night before. I do not anticipate Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Trey Burke to all be 'no-shows' for this next game, so I really predict a win here. You know, just as long as the Jazz don't assume a win and do not play to earn one.

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Game 79: Memphis Grizzlies @ Utah Jazz

Memphis is obviously in the playoff hunt and in a dogfight with Houston for the #2 seed in the West. Only 1.0 game separates these two teams, and both have the same number of remaining games left to play. Thus, every game matters. Memphis has dropped games to the Jazz twice already this season, both in their gym. They've beaten Utah in Utah before, and will be looking to do it again. Both times the Jazz won they didn't have to face Zach Randolph or Tony Allen. They'll have to face both on Friday. Memphis starts a three game road trip where they'll play @ Utah Jazz, @ Los Angeles Clippers, and @ Golden State Warriors. The target is on Utah as the "easy game". This could help or hurt them, though I believe their motivation to beat the Jazz will be high.

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Game 80: Utah Jazz @ Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers have locked up the North West division, but that doesn't mean they have home court in the first round. They are currently 1.0 games behind the Clippers for that honor. They have a pretty up and down road to the playoffs, having to play @ Brooklyn Nets, vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, @ Golden State Warriors, vs Utah Jazz, @ Oklahoma City Thunder, @ Dallas Mavericks. Clearly Utah is one of the easy ones from their point of view. They are 2-1 against Utah this season, but are historically really tough at home. This is the second game of a back to back for the Jazz, and the third game in four nights. It could be a loss. It's also Fan Appreciation night for them, as it's their last home game of the regular season.

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Game 81: Dallas Mavericks @ Utah Jazz

This is the Jazz' fan night, and the first game of another back-to-back set. I hope for a win here. Dallas is a vet laden team (Dirk Nowitzki 36, Richard Jefferson 34, Tyson Chandler 32, Amar'e Stoudemire 32, Devin Harris 31, Monta Ellis 29, etc) that doesn't look like they have the juice to get the #6 seed, or are that close enough to NOP/OKC for fear of dropping to the #8 seed. They could be resting some guys. I don't know. I do know that they finish their season vs Phoenix Suns, @ Denver Nuggets, @ Los Angeles Lakers, @ Utah Jazz, and then vs. Portland Trail Blazers. Effectively those are four non-playoff teams before Portland. It's one of the easiest finishing schedules. If they win the first three games before getting to the Jazz, the last game in a three game road trip and the second game of a back to back for them, we could get lucky.

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Game 82: Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets

This is fan night for the Rockettes, and as we stated earlier, they are in a dog fight against Memphis for the #2 seed. If it's locked up by then they could, and should, rest a lot of their guys. If it's not, then they will be going for the win. It's that simple. It's also the 2nd night of a back to back for the Jazz, the fourth game in five nights, and the fifth in seven. Last season the Jazz went out and won their last game of the season, on the road, in double overtime. I know our guys want to finish strong, but the combination of cumulative fatigue + the chance that Houston also NEEDS to win makes this game hard to feel encouraged about. But again, if Houston doesn't need it, they won't be that hard at all if guys like James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard, and Josh Smith all sit.

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I have the Jazz going 2-3 over the last five just because I'm a homer. That means the team finishes with a record of 37-45, a 45% winning rate, and a +12 over last seasons' win total.