It finally happened. The teams competing with the Utah Jazz for one of the 6-8 seeds in the playoffs all lost and the Jazz gained ground.
Here’s what happened on Tuesday night.
Denver lost to the Dallas Mavericks. Yes, the tanking Dallas Mavericks beat the Denver Nuggets. It could also be a sign of trouble in Denver as there were a lot of strange things going on in that game. For example, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray sat the entire 4th quarter. For whatever reason, as the Nuggets reintegrating Paul Millsap into the lineup has not been great.
Jokic las 4 games (since Millsap returned):— Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares) March 7, 2018
4-5 for 18 points
2-5 for 9 points
3-8 for 9 points
2-9 for 4 points
There may be some bad juju going on in Denver and I couldn’t be more pleased.
Malone going with his trust guys tonight as the season hangs in the balance.— Ryan Blackburn (@NBABlackburn) March 7, 2018
I guess Nikola Jokic isn't one of them.
If you'd said before the Nuggets' 3-game road trip they'd be 2-1 coming back, you'd take that 10 out of 10 times. But somehow they beat Cleveland on a back to back and then lost to Dallas, and come back with bad mojo.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 7, 2018
One more from Michael Malone after tonight's #Nuggets loss to the Mavericks: "Tonight’s loss does not sit well with me at all. There’s just an underlying current to our team right now that I’m just not happy about."— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) March 7, 2018
New Orleans beat the Clippers. With this loss, the Los Angeles Clippers sit only a half game ahead of the Jazz.
The Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Houston Rockets. The Thunder are 6-4 in their last ten but have struggled to beat some easy games. Making the playoffs isn’t a given for them at this point.
The Jazz have dealt with adversity this season with Rudy Gobert’s injuries and a horrific December schedule, but they may have won the games that counted the most. The Jazz’s fate is in their own hands and that’s all they could ask for at this point.
Uhhhhh, this is now looming...— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 7, 2018
Jazz lead Clippers 2-1 in season series one to play, tied Denver 2-2, and lead New Orleans 2-1.
Big thing: Utah's 22-16 in conference, Clips are 22-19, New Orleans 19-19. (Pels are 4 up in the loss column overall.) Nuggets are 22-21.
Did Tony Jones reveal when Dante Exum would return?
Exum. Soon. https://t.co/Thon6UFmAW pic.twitter.com/5TuSqOvfqD— Kris (@5kl) March 7, 2018
Exum has definitely been in full contract drills. At this point it is up to the Jazz and Quin Snyder to decide when it is time to integrate Exum into the games and not just practice.
Whenever it happens it’s going to not suck.
Kevin Love released a fantastic piece about learning to deal with his mental health in positive ways. It’s well worth the read.
I’ve never been comfortable sharing much about myself. I thought about mental health as someone else’s problem. I’ve realized I need to change that. https://t.co/355HcQw3Ei— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) March 6, 2018
It was also great to see Jazz players come out in support of Kevin Love and his message.
way to open up and keep it real !! https://t.co/OvgbhLBo8q— Ricky Rubio (@rickyrubio9) March 6, 2018
keeping it real. respect @kevinlove “you never know what someone else is going thru, treat people like you would want to be treated. Be yourself!” https://t.co/UxAYdpZ4mR— Jonas Jerebko (@JonasJerebko) March 6, 2018
Thabo Sefolosha is back to traveling with the Jazz again!
Out officially tomorrow, but we have a little road update from @ThaboSefolosha pic.twitter.com/mh2ocjUOjB— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 7, 2018
Get well soon, Thabo!
Finally, Rudy Gobert might be a better shooter than Ben Simmons.
It’s a really small sample size, but from 16 ft to <3-pt Rudy is shooting 4/8 for 50 percent.
From the same distance, Ben Simmons is shooting 11/25 for 44 percent.
The reason I bring this up is that Rudy has started taking this shot more often. Before January he’d only taken two jump shots from that range. Since January Rudy has taken it 6 times. Is this something that Rudy is going to do with more regularity?
If that jumpshot becomes a reliable weapon, Rudy’s dribble drive game becomes more potent. Gobzilla’s reign of terror may become even more destructive.