Utah Jazz And The History Of The 3-1 Playoff Lead

Jun 1, 2021, 4:39 PM

Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz contests Denver Nuggets Center Nikola Jokic (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Get...

Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz contests Denver Nuggets Center Nikola Jokic (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz find themselves with a commanding 3-1 series lead in their opening-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

While it looks promising that the Jazz will close out the eighth-seeded Grizzlies in the coming days, Jazz fans aren’t quick to forget last season’s catastrophic elimination at the hands of the Denver Nuggets having held an identical 3-1 series lead.

With last season fresh in mind, let’s look back at the history of the Jazz holding a 3-1 lead in a best of seven series.

(Note: before 2003, first-round playoff series were best of five, and did not factor in this article.)

Jazz And The History Of The 3-1 Series

Including this season, the Jazz have found themselves with a 3-1 advantage in a best of seven playoff series 11 times.

Promisingly, they have only blown a 3-1 series advantage once in their previous 10 outings. That loss of course game against the Nuggets last season under unique circumstances.

The Jazz played the entire series without starting forward Bojan Bogdanovic who missed the second half of the NBA season after undergoing wrist surgery in May. Additionally, each playoff game was played at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando inside the protected campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Had the Jazz had the ability to play any of their three closeout opportunities against Denver at home, the series may have had a different outcome.

Regardless, the Jazz have a .900 winning percentage in series’ after building a 3-1 lead.

Jazz Don’t Always Close It Out In Five

While the Jazz will be looking to close out the Grizzlies in game five in Salt Lake City, history may not be on their side.

In their prior nine instances of taking a 3-1 series lead, the Jazz have only won game five and closed the series four times. That means in five different series, the opposition has pushed the Jazz to at least six games.

The good news for the Jazz, only twice (1994 and 2020 vs. Nuggets) has the series gone a full seven games. And even better, the Jazz have been terrific historically in close out games in Utah after taking a two-game lead four games into a series.

Since 1992, the Jazz are 9-1 in close out opportunities at home. Once again, their only loss in Salt Lake City came in game five against the Nuggets in 1994 in a double-overtime thriller.

Otherwise, the Jazz has closed each series in their first home game after taking a 3-1 lead in eight chances. Equally notable, the Jazz have never closed out a series on the road after taking a 3-1 series lead.

So as Memphis travels to Utah, history says the Jazz are more than likely to close the series out at home. However, even if the Jazz lose game five, fans shouldn’t fret. NBA teams are 244-13 all-time when leading a series 3-1, even if the Jazz let their lead get away last season.

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Utah Jazz And The History Of The 3-1 Playoff Lead