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Kragthorpe: Jazz’s five checkpoints for last third of season
NBA » Young players such as Hayward have shown plenty of potential this season, but Utah still has some issues to work out.

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• Performing in the postseason

Even if a major trade significantly helps or hurts their current lineup, the Jazz are pretty much locked into one of the last three playoff spots in the Western Conference. They really would have to crumble to miss the playoffs altogether and they need a huge surge to crack the top five.

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So that means they’ll face San Antonio, Oklahoma City or the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, creating the prospect of being swept again. But the Jazz have grown beyond that level. They’ve defeated the Spurs and Thunder at home this season and could have beaten the Clippers twice, so they should not be intimidated by those teams — regardless of who’s wearing a Jazz uniform in April.


Twitter: @tribkurt

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