Jazz Can Clinch NBA’s Best Record With Win Over Kings
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – While the Sacramento Kings may have little to play for, the Utah Jazz enter the final game of the regular season with the NBA’s best record on the line.
With a victory, the Jazz can clinch the best record in the league for the first time in franchise history, guaranteeing themselves the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, and home-court advantage throughout the postseason.
On Friday, the Kings announced they’d rest the majority of their starters including De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley, and Richaun Holmes.
The Jazz meanwhile will have nearly all of their rotation players available. After Mike Conley returned to the team’s lineup in Friday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, only Donovan Mitchell, who is missing his 16th consecutive game with an ankle sprain, will sit out the Jazz regular-season finale.
Though the Jazz won’t know who they’ll face in the opening round of the playoffs until the play-in tournament concludes, the top seed would give the Jazz a significant advantage in the postseason.
Regardless of who they play in the first round, the Jazz will have had a full week’s rest before playing game one next Sunday in Utah. Their opponent will be traveling to Salt Lake City having had to win a game on Friday to earn the final spot in the playoffs.
The Jazz can spend the week recuperating and scouting for their future opponent while their opposition will have just one day to travel and prepare for the opening game of the playoffs.
Additionally, the Jazz will open every playoff series at home regardless of how deep they make it into the playoffs. The Jazz haven’t had home-court advantage to open a playoff series since the Western Conference Semi-Finals in 2007 when they beat the Golden State Warriors 4-1.
The team hasn’t lost a playoff series that began in Utah since 2001.
The Jazz and Kings tip-off at 7 pm MT, the game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.