UTAH JAZZ

Jazz In Good Shape For Another Big Playoff Push

Mar 4, 2019, 4:19 PM
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors (15) talk during a free-...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors (15) talk during a free-throw as the Utah Jazz and the Milwaukee Bucks play a Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Jazz won 115-111. (Scott Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are currently rolling on a 4-game winning streak and by the looks of their remaining schedule, are in prime position to make a run at a high seed in the playoffs.

According to the metrics on Tankathon.com, the Jazz possess the easiest remaining slate of opponents in the NBA. With 20 games to go, Utah’s upcoming opponents have a combined winning percentage of just .412.

The hardest part of the post All-Star break schedule is already over and the Jazz did terrific work with wins over the LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks. For his efforts over the last week, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was named the Western Conference Player of the Week.

Granted, the Jazz will still have to face the Nuggets and Clippers one more time each, but the table is set for Utah to rise quickly up the standings in the playoff seeding race.

Jazz Can Pass Houston, Oklahoma City

Prior to Monday’s home contest against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Jazz sit in sixth place in the West. They’re a game and half behind Houston for fifth and two and half games behind the Thunder and Trail Blazer, who are tied for third.

First, the Jazz will have to pass the Rockets in the standings. The remaining schedule for the Rockets, while not the most difficult schedule to play, is no cakewalk.

Houston must face Milwaukee, Toronto, Golden State and Philadelphia in its remaining 19 games. It’s possible that James Harden and the Rockets could soon be in Utah’s rearview mirror.

Out of Portland and Oklahoma City, it’s probably most likely that the Jazz pass the Thunder soon in the standings. Although the Thunder have a dynamic duo in former MVP Russell Westbrook and could-be MVP Paul George, they also have the most difficult schedule left to play of any team.

The Thunder will be playing playoff-caliber teams pretty much the rest of the way. They’ll have the Bucks, the Raptors (twice), Golden State, Denver and Indiana to contend with still. It’s a tough road for the Thunder to hang on to their current position.

Favors Thinks A Big Run Is Possible

After turning in a big-time game in the win against Milwaukee, Jazz forward Derrick Favors feels this year’s team is capable of another big late-season run, like they did last year.

In fact, the Jazz are in a better place than they were at this point last season. With 20 games to play in the 2017-18 season, the Jazz held a 32-30 record. Going into the matchup with the Pelicans, the Jazz are 36-26.

“We can try to do that, it won’t be easy,” said Favors during morning shootaround prior to Monday’s game. “As long as we come in focused, motivated and knowing that we have to come out, play hard, be focused every game and take every game like it’s the last game, I think we’ll be fine.”

The game against New Orleans will tip off at 7 p.m. and be broadcast on AT&T Sports Net.

 

 

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