Tomorrow will mark 23 days that the Jazz have gone without losing a game. Their last loss came on January 6th, when they blew a 18-point lead against the New York Knicks. After that game, it was hard to imagine the Jazz being a true contender. At that point they were 4-4 with a couple of bad losses that were just hard to watch. Fast forward a couple weeks, and things could not be more opposite.
The Jazz have ripped off 10 straight, going for an 11th tomorrow night against the Mavericks at home. At 14-4, the Jazz hold the NBA’s best record. They are in first in the West by a half a game over the Lakers. They own the leagues 5th best offense, and 3rd best defense based on offensive and defensive ratings. Their net rating of 7.5 is 3rd behind the Bucks and Lakers. Not only are the Jazz beating teams, they are absolutely destroying them on this win streak. Since January 8th, the Jazz have a net rating of 14.9 which is by far the best in the league. They have outscored opponents by a total of 153 points in that span. Only one out of the 10 wins has even been within single digits. Simply but, they are just straight annihilating other NBA squads. They are living on the three ball, now just two games away from tying the Rockets NBA record for consecutive games with at least 15 threes made.
The Jazz have now made 15 threes in 7 straight games, the 3rd-longest streak in NBA history. They're 3 away from the record held by the Rockets. pic.twitter.com/6mKTPdBX72— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 27, 2021
Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert are number 1 and number 2 in the league in box plus-minus, and just been completely dominant while on the floor.
Updated NBA plus-minus leaders:— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 27, 2021
1. Mike Conley +215
2. Rudy Gobert +173
3. LeBron James +168
4. Kawhi Leonard +152
The Jazz are getting career-high numbers from several of their key players, including Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson, and Mike Conley who have been on absolute tears during the winning streak.
It’s been awesome to see this team play up to the potential that many of us knew they could. After they way last season ended, and catching a little bit of disrespect in the pre-season playoff predictions, this squad looks as legitimate as a conference contender has looked in Utah since the prime D-Will/Booz days. Rudy Gobert captured it best with a tweet sent late last night following their 10th straight victory.
The last hashtag seems very specifically aimed at the national experts and analysts that left the Jazz out of the playoff picture.
Possibly the best thing about this Jazz team and their current success, is the sustainability of these wins. If you’ve watched the Jazz over this 10-game win streak, you’ve seen just how deep and balanced this roster is. The Jazz are winning games, but it seems like every win is a little bit of a different story. Some of the nights, Donovan Mitchell has taken over, but not to the level the he was in the playoff series against the Nuggets. Mitchell is averaging 25 points per game on 48/46/87 splits, which is great, but it’s not something so crazy that you might expect to drastically drop in the future. Donovan’s had off games during this stretch, and other players have had to step up in his place. After he was ruled out of last night’s game with concussion-like symptoms, Joe Ingles got his first start of the season and dropped 21 points and 9 assists on 7-11 shooting from three. Rudy Gobert had arguably his best game of the season with 29 points and 20 rebounds. Clarkson scorched for 31 off the bench. No, Mitchell - No problem? Not really, the Jazz definitely need Donovan to have any shot at being a contender, but do you get where I’m going with this?
This team has four or five guys that can give you 20+ points really on any given night, and that makes them extremely dangerous. Throw in some really good play from George Niang, the invaluable backup minutes from Derrick Favors, and All-Star level play from Mike Conley, and you have an absolute UNIT of a team. This is all with Bojan Bogdanovic still struggling a bit to recover from wrist surgery and just not looking like himself. Once he gets back to 100%, that adds another consistent threat to the Jazz’s quiver. This balance and depth has shown itself over the win streak, with the Jazz wins coming in various shapes and sizes.
The true test of this team’s ability to contend will be in games vs. other actual contenders. Looking ahead to the month of February, we are going to get just that. The Jazz have a stretch from February 9th to February 26th where they play Boston, Milwaukee, Miami, Philadelphia, @ Clippers, @ Clippers, Lakers, @ Miami. WOOF. This stretch will be great to see how the Jazz line up against the NBA’s top teams, especially the Lakers and Clippers who they will probably need to go through to reach the ultimate form of contention. It’s a good time to be a Jazz fan right now for sure. Based on the way this team has played, we have every reason to believe that it’s going to be a great year. Maybe even REALLY great.