Last night the Utah Jazz (29-16) lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder (26-19) on a game winner by Russell Westbrook with 1.4 seconds to play. The end result took the Jazz out of a tie with the Clippers, and somewhat closed the gap between the #5 and #6 seeds, OKC is now only 2.5 games behind UTA. And these two teams play twice more this season (both times in their gym). But that’s NBA Playoff talk. And we’re not really there yet. We’re still wallowing in having the streak snapped. (Also Rudy Gobert’s double-double streak ended last night as well.)
Six games. That’s good, right? Is it good? It’s not great though. After trawling through Basketball-Reference.com I found how that in New Orleans / Utah Jazz history there have been over 50 such streaks. So, what’s great for us this season isn’t even a drop in the pool of how great previous teams were. (Sorry is this is seeming more and more like Old Man Amar on the porch yelling at kids to get off of his lawn. I’m just trying to build a frame of reference here because after all the old Jazz fans are gone, people are going to only remember things like the Tyrone Corbin era.) So let’s look at how good the Jazz used to be.
Let’s (really) go streaking!
Looking at just the streaks of 6 games and up we get this:
Hmmmm, most of these are from the late 80s and the entire 90s were wins on wins on wins. You see zero Tyrone Corbin teams here, mind you. Food for thought.
So here we see that winning six in a row is nice, but not special. It’s happened 24 times in four decades, so about once every two years. Of course, a streak of over 6 wins in a row has happened 32 times in four decades, so three times in four years. Winning in a row isn’t anything but expected for us older Utah Jazz fans.
When you look at the frequency you get this:
- 1970-71 to 1974-75: 1 (first season of team was ‘74-75)
- 1975-76 to 1979-80: 3
- 1980-81 to 1984-85: 2
- 1985-86 to 1989-90: 5
- 1990-91 to 1994-95: 11
- 1995-96 to 1999-00: 19
- 2000-01 to 2004-05: 4
- 2005-06 to 2009-2010: 6
- 2010-11 to 2014-15: 3
- 2015-16 to 2019-20: 2 . . . so far
So, understandably, the longest streaks and most streaks happened during that golden era of John Stockton and Karl Malone. (Hall of Famers are more than just stats, they are wins as well.)
And as this team currently doesn’t have any Hall of Famers on it, and huge streaks don’t look possible unless the team starts to really play much better. I don’t think they are going to take another elite jump in play, so we should just be happy with wins then. Even if it’s not going to be in a double-digit streak.
Looking at the schedule:
There are 11 games between now an the All-Star Break.
After the All-Star break there are three more games before the end of the month. Each on the road, each going to be hard. The Milwaukee Bucks are tough and young and long and get fast break points. The Washington Wizards have point guard firepower (John Wall, uh, Trey Burke). The Oklahoma City Thunder are directly competing against the Jazz in the standings, and it’s never easy to win in their gym.
And when February is over there are only 22 games before the NBA Playoffs.
And really? I don’t think the Jazz are going to go on any big streaks again anytime soon unless they really step up their games. While I’m not certain of any large streaks (there could be one at the start of March if they take care of business against the Houston Rockets and Thunder and injured Clippers), I am certain that there are going to be wins.
So do not despair! The streak is over. LONG LIVE THE WINS!