The Utah Jazz finished the month of March by going 10-6, and upping their season record to 47-29. That’s good enough for 4th best in the Wild, Wild Western Conference. And that’s getting closer and closer to another Division title for the franchise that has eight already, but hasn’t hung one up since 2008. What’s more impressive to me is that Utah went 6-1 at home. That is, by far, the best monthly performance this entire year in front of the rabid Jazz fans.
I know, I’ve been keeping score.
Success at home is important, and it’s something a few of us Jazz fans were worried about. After all, some of the team’s worst losses this season came with the club playing in front of their own fans. A 27 point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. A 16 point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. A 14 point loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Yes, losses at home happen, but blow out losses are never good. Nor are dropping close games to inferior competition. Utah lost to the Sacramento Kings at home by one, to the Miami Heat by one, to the Oklahoma City Thunder by two, and to the Memphis Grizzlies by six points and seven points.
And this has been a problem all season long, from the November home game loss to the Chicago Bulls to the 27 point drubbing at the hands of the Timberwolves in March. But something curious has happened, since that home loss the Jazz have not lost at home again. So far. And that’s great!
Over the entire 2016-2017 season, including Summer League and preseason, the Utah Jazz are clearly taking a step up: both at home and on the road. In fact, it was the reliable ability to win on the road (and while injured) that kept this team rolling.
Yes, there were home wins, but I think we all can look at the road wins as signature milestones. After all, there are four wins of 25 or more points on the road this season (Atlanta Hawks +25, Philadelphia 76ers +25, Sacramento Kings +30, and New Orleans Pelicans +33). And only three at home (Denver Nuggets +25, Atlanta Hawks +27, Detroit Pistons +33)!
For the entire year the Jazz have 27 home wins and 26 road wins. For the Regular season it’s 26 and 21, so it’s still close. There ARE more home wins, but the rate is something that finally switched over during the month of March, and the Jazz “take pride at playing at home” switch they turned on after losing to the Wolves.
The team is, cumulatively, finally, better at home than on the road. And this didn’t happen because Utah started to drop a whole lot of road games. No. It’s because they decided to ramp up their performance at home instead! A team that wins over 60% of their home games and 55% of their road games is a team that is capable of winning regardless of where they play.
For this season (removing Summer League and Preseason), the Jazz are at 47-29. That’s a 61.84 winning %. It reflects strong play in every time-zone, and extrapolates to a 50 win season. Utah has six games remaining, three at home and three on the road. They need to go .500 to hit the big 5-0.
It’s up to them to see if they can reach it. But I know that this is a team that isn’t looking at that as the be all or end all of the season. It’s about the NBA Playoffs. And while Utah is fighting for home court it’s clear that it may not even matter. This Jazz squad is dangerous on the road. And now they are even deadlier at home.