UTAH JAZZ

Bogdanovic Finds Rhythm As Jazz Blitz Thunder

Apr 6, 2022, 10:35 PM
Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz won their second game in as many nights as they crushed the Oklahoma City Thunder 137-101.

The blowout marked their second-largest margin of victory this season, and further increased their hold on the fifth seed over the Denver Nuggets.

Six Jazz players scored in double-figures led by Bojan Bogdanovic who regained his momentum with a game-high 27 point outing.

Bogdanovic Finds Rhythm

Bogdanovic had been on a terrific streak before suffering a calf strain in mid-March that kept him out of the Jazz lineup for nine straight games.

The dynamic scorer had been averaging 19.8 points while shooting 48 percent from the floor, and 45 percent from three in his 10 games prior to the injury. But, he’d struggled with his efficiency in his first three games back after rejoining the team.

In the Jazz’s last three games, Bogdanovic was shooting just 36 percent from the floor and 31 percent from three while scoring 13.7 points per game, all well below his season averages.

Against the Thunder, the sharpshooter regained his form by way of 27 points on 7-11 shooting, 2-4 from downtown, and an impressive 11-12 makes at the free-throw line.

It’s a promising sign that the Jazz are 3-1 in four games since Bogdanovic returned to the team, but rediscovering his rhythm is of higher importance.

The Croatian is the Jazz’s second-leading scorer at 17.9 points per game this season, and the team can’t afford to see those numbers dip in the playoffs.

With the struggles the Jazz have had over the last several months, they’ll need to be clicking on all cylinders if they hope to exceed expectations in the postseason, and Bogdanovic is a key piece in that puzzle.

Jazz Highly Likely To Finish With Fifth Seed

With their win over the Thunder, the Jazz’s odds of finishing with the fifth seed in the Western Conference climbed significantly.

The Jazz now sit a full game ahead of the Nuggets in the standings with just two games left to play, plus they own the season tiebreaker if the two teams were to finish with an equal record at the end of the year.

That means the Jazz will clinch no worse than the fifth seed with any one win, or any one Nuggets loss over the next four days.

The Jazz will be watching closely on Thursday night when the Nuggets host the Memphis Grizzlies who are coming off a loss in Utah on Tuesday.

Memphis had won 11 of 12 prior to their overtime loss against the Jazz.

If the Nuggets do overcome the Grizzlies, the Jazz will likely see a very shorthanded Phoenix Suns roster on Friday in Salt Lake City.

Phoenix rested Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Jae Crowder, and DeAndre Ayton in their matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, and could do the same in Utah.

If the Jazz were to fall short against Phoenix, they’d have another chance to clinch the fifth seed with a win on Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers who have lost 11 of their last 12 games in an effort to improve their draft standings.

The Nuggets meanwhile will finish the season at home against the Los Angeles Lakers.

How the Jazz choose to approach the final games of the season may be determined by whether they prefer to face the Dallas Mavericks or the Golden State Warriors in the first round, though neither team has locked up the third or the fourth seed.

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Bogdanovic Finds Rhythm As Jazz Blitz Thunder