Will the Utah Jazz ever lose again? With their 107-97 win over the Phoenix Suns last night, The Jazz have extended their streak to eleven games. They currently sit at 30-28, and are just a game a a half back of being in the playoffs. They enter All-Star weekend as the NBA’s hottest team, and sit in great position to make a run at the playoffs in the next coming weeks.
The crazy thing about this winning streak, is that the Jazz have won in about every way possible. They have had nights when they shoot lights out and score 120+ points. They have also had nights where they shoot 29 percent from three (last night) and still grind out wins. Good teams figure out how to win games. The Jazz were not doing that for the first half of their games this season, but have appeared to figure out how to pull out wins in various situations.
The Jazz are hoping to get Ricky Rubio back from a hip injury as soon as possible, as well as the return of Dante Exum from his shoulder injury that has kept him out of the season so far. Staying healthy will be a huge factor in the Jazz’s playoff chances.
Several national NBA writers across the league have taken note of Utah’s winning ways, and analyzed how their odds look at making the playoffs.
Any time Zach Lowe writes, you should read it. Any time Zach Lowe writes about the Utah Jazz, you need to read it. Lowe took a stab at calculating Utah’s winning formulas during the 11-game winning streak, and analyzed their chances of making a playoff appearance.
Welp. We have a legitimate five-team race for the last three Western Conference playoff spots, and if any of the three teams hanging above that tier -- San Antonio, Minnesota, Oklahoma City -- gets sloppy or suffers a long-term injury, things could get nuts.
Utah has the easiest remaining schedule among all those teams based on current opponent winning percentage. Fifteen of their remaining 25 games are at home. They have the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over New Orleans, Portland and the Clippers going into their final matchups against all three. (They have already split four games against Denver.) The nerds at 538 give Utah a 90 percent chance to make the playoffs, best among this five-team crew.
Lowe provides some great insight on how well Ricky Rubio has played over the last few weeks, and how Quin Snyder’s offense has adapted to his play. But my favorite part of Lowe’s article came when discussing what a playoff appearance would mean for this Utah Jazz squad.
Making the playoffs would be an important, affirming step. No one will say it -- well, Gobert probably would -- but they all want to show Gordon Hayward they are fine without him. And for all the pitying talk in the wake of Hayward’s departure about how the Jazz had done everything they could to convince him, they have won one playoff series since 2010.
Whether or not everyone will admit it, everyone wants the Jazz to make the playoffs to be able to prove that they will be fine without Gordon Hayward. Rudy Gobert said it this off-season, but no one believed him. But this Jazz team is making believers day in and day out, especially after winning 11 games in a row.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, Donovan Mitchell is really good. Leading the Jazz in scoring over this winning streak has put him in a league of his own in NBA history.
Donovan Mitchell is the 1st rookie in NBA history to lead his team in scoring during a win streak of at least 11 games. (via @EliasSports) pic.twitter.com/VC1yREr4Uj— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 15, 2018
Even though Donovan Mitchell posted 27/7/4 and came up huge in the clutch, it wasn’t the most important thing that he did last night.
In reaction to the horrific occurences of the Florida school shootings, Mitchell wrote “Pray for Parkland” and “End Gun Violence” on his shoes worn in last night’s game.
Donovan Mitchell wrote "Pray for Parkland" on his shoes while playing tonight against the Suns. He explained why after the game. pic.twitter.com/nzhLcURxR2— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) February 15, 2018
Donovan Mitchell writes ‘end gun violence’ on shoes tonight. Says the recent shooting in Florida hits home because his mom is a school teacher. pic.twitter.com/NuJKxs0Kfg— kristen kenney (@kristenkenney) February 15, 2018
Donovan Mitchell with a pretty heartfelt explanation of why he wrote “Pray For Parkland” on his shoes tonight. He’s more affected by school shootings because his mom is a teacher who worked near Newtown when the 2012 shooting happened. pic.twitter.com/mBB2JyK4gS— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) February 15, 2018
Mitchell’s comments were genuine and you could tell they were from the bottom of the kid’s heart. Our thoughts go out to all individuals and families affected by this horrible tradegy.
The Houston Rockets officially announced the signing of former Jazzman Joe Johnson.
OFFICIAL: #Rockets GM Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed free agent guard/forward Joe Johnson for the remainder of the season. Johnson will wear #7 for the Rockets.— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) February 14, 2018
Details » https://t.co/78V6LBIDNl pic.twitter.com/MknYCi4CLC