UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Home Court Hopes Take Hit With Loss To Dallas

Mar 27, 2022, 8:50 PM | Updated: 9:11 pm

Utah Jazz guards Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)...

Utah Jazz guards Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz postseason odds took a major hit when they dropped to the fifth seed in the Western Conference with a 114-100 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Jazz battled with Dallas through the first half, but with Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanovic, Hassan Whiteside, and Danuel House Jr. all missing the game due to injury the team proved to be too shorthanded to keep the game competitive.

Rudy Gay scored 16 points to lead the Jazz while the Mavericks were led by Luka Doncic who scored 32.

Jazz Will Likely Open Playoffs On The Road

With the loss to Dallas, the Jazz are now more likely than not to open the playoffs on the road, whether that’s in Dallas or potentially Golden State.

The Jazz are one game back of Dallas with seven games left to play and three games back of the Warriors.

According to Tankathon.com, the Jazz have the eighth toughest schedule remaining over the final seven games of the season, just slightly behind the Warriors who have the seventh toughest schedule remaining.

Dallas, meanwhile, has the fourth easiest schedule remaining with seven games left to play.

Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s matchup, the Jazz were going to have a tough time staying ahead of Dallas for the fourth seed, but with a win, they’d have had the tiebreaker in hand, and would have had a punchers chance of opening the playoffs at home had they finished the regular season strong.

Now, the Jazz may need to shift their strategy away from trying to earn home-court advantage in the first round to attempting to set themselves up with their preferred opponent in the first round whether they stay in the fifth seed, or fall to sixth.

But, there’s no guarantee that strategy will work as with the standings so close, the Jazz might not know where either Dallas or Golden State will finish the regular season, and could still find themselves with their less-preferred matchup when the postseason opens.

No matter what happens, for the Jazz to finish last season with the best record in basketball, to then fall out of contention for home-court advantage in the first round has made for a difficult season for a team that was expected to compete for a championship.

Latest On Hassan Whiteside’s Injury

Though Gobert was a late scratch due to a leg bruise, a seemingly minor injury, Whiteside missed his second consecutive game with a sprained foot, an injury he suffered against the Brooklyn Nets last week.

While Whiteside’s play has been somewhat inconsistent this year, when he’s played well, the Jazz have had one of the most productive center rotations in the NBA.

Prior to the game, Snyder discussed Whiteside’s injury and how the team is approaching it.

“He started feeling some soreness, and anytime you have soreness in a foot it’s something that you know you need to be really mindful of,” Snyder said.

Whiteside has averaged 8.1 points and 7.6 rebounds in 60 appearances with the and will be an important piece of the Jazz’s playoff puzzle.

“The guys in health performance are doing everything they can do,” Snyder said of the injury. “I know that Hassan wants to play, but I think the focus right now for him is on getting healthy so that he can play.”

Early Sunday The Athletic’s Shams Charania announced the Jazz were planning to sign veteran big man Greg Monroe in Azubuike’s absence, though the signing has not been made official.

The Jazz have been one of the league’s worst defenses this season without one of their three seven-footers on the floor. With Udoka Azubuike out for the season with an ankle injury, Whiteside’s health will be key ahead of the postseason.

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Jazz Home Court Hopes Take Hit With Loss To Dallas