The Utah Jazz (35-22) are winning games. Many games. They have won .614 percentage of their games, have nearly two wins for every home loss, and are making people #TakeNote when they play on the road this year. Right now they are tired for 4th best in the West, and are going to be making the NBA Playoffs this year. So the issue is . . . how many games will they win this year?
They have 25 more games left on the schedule. And, TL:DR, I have them going 15-10.
They need to win some games they shouldn’t, and avoid as many slip ups as possible. And I think that IS possible. Here are some reasons why:
a) The Team is finally healthy
b) There are only two road trips left (@ MIL, @ WAS, @OKC; and @ DET, @ CLE, @ CHI, @ IND) - so fewer days lost for travel
c) It’s now after the All-Star Break and the Trade Deadline, so teams who are tanking will reveal themselves, and teams trying not to get hurt in the last three weeks of the season will also rest guys
d) We still have Rudy Gobert. And no other team does.
Okay, so there are conditional reasons why the team will play better. But that’s the thing, they do not have to PLAY better. In order to finish with 50 wins this year they will have to do it by winning at a LOWER win% then they have already. Bonus.
So without making a short post even longer, it’s simple . . . are there 15 wins in the next 25 games? Yes. Yes there are.
- Last game of the season, San Antonio Spurs will be resting guys, and it’s on Jazz Fan Appreciation night. Gregg Popovich will not be fighting for a seed here either. This is a win.
- Second last game of the season, @ Golden State Warriors. Same things, not fighting for a spot, game is meaningless, no one wants to get hurt. I can see the Warriors going up early by halftime and then not playing hard. IF the Jazz DO play hard they will win this game.
- Second last home game of the year, Jazz hosting the Timberwolves. Third last game of the season. Wolves tanking.
- Next Wednesday’s game against the Timberwolves, in Utah. It’s the Jazz’ third game in four nights, but I think this is for us. No Zach Lavine. He’s the Jazz killer.
- Next Friday’s game at home against the Brooklyn Nets. Seriously.
That’s five off the bat.
- ESPN game in April at home against the Portland Trail Blazers, who may be tanking at this point.
- NBA TV game in March on the road against the Sacramento Kings
- Late March game on the road against the Sacramento Kings. This team isn’t going to put up a fight, especially not in the paint.
- Tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks who are without two starters.
- The ESPN game at home against the New York Knicks, on the night the Jazz celebrate the 20th year since making the NBA Finals.
That’s now 10 games. The Jazz need to win five more to get 50.
- The Jazz go on a four game road-trip @ Detroit, @ Cleveland, @ Bulls, and @ Pacers - there’s really a chance for the team to pick up two wins there, if not more. But let’s say there’s just ONE win there. That means four more to get.
- Jazz need to win one or more of @ Wizards, @ Clippers, @ Thunder. Three more to get.
- The Jazz need to win one or more of vs New Orleans Pelicans (March 6th, March 27th). Two more to get.
- The Jazz need one win or more from their home and home against the Los Angeles Clippers (March 13th, March 25th). One more to get.
- One tough win, either @ Trail Blazers, @ Spurs, or @ Rockets.
So one tough game on the road. Beating the bad teams at home. Feasting on the East once again on the road. Being nice to West Playoff teams, and holding serve until the last two weeks of the season when teams tank.
Utah’s got 50. Easy, if they play to their ability. And it starts tonight.