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Utah Jazz will lose some games down the stretch, but make other teams work for it every night

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The data for this season against that of the last decade is telling

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Utah Jazz lost to the Boston Celtics on a buzzer beating layup by an entirely forgettable player who we will never need to ever learn the name of. (Yes, this post is guest written by Cersei Lannister; the erstwhile Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.) It sucks, but you know what? In the grand scheme of things it was a game where the Jazz, fresh off of beating the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis for the second time this season, were in position to STEAL a game on the road, and go 2-0 on a road only back to back set.

I continue to feel like the this season is remarkable. They aren't going to win 60 games or go to the NBA Finals. But this is a group of guys with an average age of 23 that are a) beating good teams, b) playing defense, and c) putting it all together for wins on the road. These are not givens for any team, let alone a team that is so historically averse to winning on the road. More than that though, this is a team that is competitive in almost every game they are in. This is also not historically a Jazz trait. So kudos to Quin Snyder and his coaching staff for that.

If you look at the data for all their losses (regular season and playoffs combined, and I believe that playoff performances do count) from the 2004-2005 season till now you get a good picture of how the team loses.

Year by Year Final Margins of Defeat:

Jazz Losses - 2004 2015 - 1

Yeah, if you look at that you see that this is a team that just isn't getting blown out much -- and EVEN MORE THAN THE YEARS WHERE THE TEAM WAS IN THE PLAYOFFS A LOT, this team is losing a lot of close games. Are these games those better teams would win? Perhaps. But these are also games that probably shouldn't have been this close. I see evidence by the lack of blowouts for this second idea. Utah is in more games. Last night was a 1 point loss, but with the way the team was playing before going on their late run, it could have easily have been a 13 point loss.

Year to year, we're way ahead of last season -- but also more competitive than the Tyrone Corbin years in general. That's good news.

10 year (2004-2005 till 2013-2014) vs. This season (2014-2015):

Jazz Losses - 2004 2015 - 2

If you just look at the previous decade -- from lotto team to NBA Finals team, and then to the desolation of Smaug we had the last four years -- you get a good core sample of what our franchise has been like recently. Comparing that decade against this year is fun. Why? Check it out.

Over the last decade the Jazz are blown out by 16+ points in 25% of all of their losses. That's ridiculous. This season the team hasn't lost a game by more than 25 points.

I don't know if it's just a product of greater team defense because of Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, and Elijah Millsap . . . or do we need to give some respect to having actual leaders on the team at the same time like Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke? (One leads by example, one walks the walk, the other talks the talk -- you need both on a team.) The new system, an emphasis on team play, players that like one another, everyone being part of this program, young, and long (so deflections) also helps.

Sure, so a game like last night may happen -- but you can only be upset about missing out on the win. The main success for me isn't the final score, it's that a Jazz team from earlier in the last 10 years would have dropped that game by more than 10 points. Instead THIS team fought back and almost stole a game on the road.

And in terms of unlikely themes, our Jazz franchise doesn't usually do that. This is a new team. A new leaf. And a new era for the Jazz. One where no matter what the other team is going to have to earn their wins -- even when Utah is on the road and playing on the second night of a back to back without their starting shooting guard.