There have been times this season when the Jazz just looked flat out bad. Times when they couldn’t score, lost their defensive identity, weren’t disciplined, etc. There were times that, as sad as it was to realize, they just did not look like a playoff team. After losing a handful of games that good teams shouldn’t, most of us doubted their abilities to be a good basketball team. Yes, we’ve all heard about the schedule, which is a legitimate argument for struggles. But still, the Jazz weren’t showing many signs of being a tough-minded, good basketball team like we thought they were. Approaching the month of December, things looked bleak. They were staring their toughest month opponent wise right in the face, already with a losing record. But this tough December, the Jazz have risen from the ashes.
With solid wins over the Warriors, Blazers (twice), Rockets, and Spurs, they have shown much stronger signs of being the team we all thought they were. Even in losses, they have battled and barely fallen short. A two-point loss in Miami, a five-point loss in Houston on the road, and a heart-breaker at home against the Thunder. Taking out a terrible game in Mexico City against the Magic, the Jazz have put together a pretty good month in what was supposed to be the ax of their season and playoff hopes. During the month of December the Jazz posted the NBA’s third-highest net rating at 8.8, with the second-best defense during that time.
They are still fighting to get back to .500, and have a chance to get back in the winning column by the end of the year. They’ve survived the toughest schedule in the NBA, and have played their best basketball as of late. The Jazz schedule is about to get much easier, and statistical models show great signs for the future. According to ESPN’s BPI playoff projections, we shouldn’t have anything to worry about as far as them making the playoffs.
ESPN BPI Playoff Predictions for West— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) December 26, 2018
1. Denver 53-29
2. Warriors 53-29
3. Thunder 51-31
4. Jazz 48-34
5. Lakers 46-36
6. Rockets 46-36
7. Clippers 45-37
8. Spurs 44-38
38 gets in East
A home-court playoff seed? Really? After how this season started? It seems crazy, but the numbers back it up. ESPN also gives the Jazz a 4.5% percent chance at winning an NBA championship, which is 6th highest.
Things are looking up for the Jazz. They are healthy, hungry, and playing very well. If they can keep up this level of play, good things will continue to happen and the wins will start piling up like crazy.
The Jazz’s first Christmas game in 21 years was a huge success. A great turnout from the crowd and a great performance from the team aligned perfectly on national TV in front of a national audience that apparently found it quite entertaining.
ESPN says that it’s telecast of the Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz game drew a 1.5 metered market rating, up 36 percent from last year’s Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves telecast. They say it’s the highest-rated Christmas game in the late window since 2015, across networks— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) December 26, 2018
For two smaller-market teams, having the highest-rated late-night Christmas game in three years is pretty cool.
ICYMI, Jae Crowder is a great gift giver.
Donovan Mitchell re-visited last year’s dunk contest in a recent interview. It’s always fun to hear the players perspectives on these events. Is Spida up for round II?
| This is the 1st of my #ChineyX interview series and we are kicking it off with @utahjazz star @spidadmitchell! Here's on sliding in & winning the Slam Dunk contest.— Chiney Ogwumike (@Chiney321) December 26, 2018
Full vid: https://t.co/1rMRJGNb33 ( : @klaejohnson) pic.twitter.com/SJkXQuhYSt
Adidas and Donovan Mitchell released some heat on Christmas day, unveiling their new “Spida” logo.
The spider-inspired logo is pretty sweet. It’s going to look even cooler on a signature shoe in a couple of months. (peeping eye emoji).
**REVISED** COUPLE OF MONTHS?? TRY TODAY!! (full story coming soon)