Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Unless the Jazz start doing a better job of slowing the likes Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0), their playoff chances appear to be getting more slim by the day. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Monson: Here are the reasons the Jazz will make the playoffs
NBA » Utah needs at least 10 more wins — where will they come from?
First Published Mar 14 2013 12:46 pm • Last Updated Mar 15 2013 07:53 am

A lot of people around here think the Jazz making the playoffs would be a big, big deal. I’m not so sure. You’d think getting swept by the Spurs in the first round last postseason was enough of a treat. Getting rolled again doesn’t seem like such a prize, unless you want to teach your young players the fine points of routinely getting bounced from postseason play.

Not sure any of that will matter this April, though. Here are all the reasons the Jazz are absolutely bound to make the 2013 playoffs:

Photos
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Uh …

Um …

Ugh …

How we doing so far?

How about this reason, this ray of sunshine?

Kobe Bryant’s sprained left ankle.

Maybe there is a merciful basketball god smiling on the Jazz, after all.

Still, they have their part to do, and it hasn’t been getting done, of late. Far from it. Fresh off a lackluster loss at Oklahoma City, after which Tyrone Corbin used descriptive words such as "disappointing" and "concerning," and Gordon Hayward correctly said the team couldn’t get embarrassed like that and hope to compete, the Jazz find themselves in a tough spot. It’s not that their task is impossible. It’s just that the degree of difficulty ranks somewhere between climbing a wall that’s leaning toward them and kissing a woman leaning away.


story continues below
story continues below

With 17 games to play in the regular season, that’s the problematic place where the Jazz stand. Even if they were to suddenly play better ball — they’ve lost eight of their last 10 — they would need help from the two teams they are racing and rubbing with down the stretch — the Lakers and the Rockets. And don’t forget the Mavs, who have just one more loss than the Jazz, and finish the season with a run of home games.

As for the teams in front, as of this writing, the Lakers are 34-32, with 16 games to play. The Rockets are 35-30. The Jazz, who hold the tiebreaker over L.A., are 33-32.

Looking at the Lakers’ schedule, they are likely to finish with at least nine more wins — unless Kobe is out for an extended stretch. They have Sacramento, Washington, Dallas, Memphis, the Clippers, New Orleans, Golden State, San Antonio and Houston at Staples Center. And they travel to Indiana, Phoenix, Golden State, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Sacramento and Portland.

The Rockets play Phoenix twice, Minnesota, Golden State, the Jazz, Cleveland, San Antonio, Indiana, the Clippers, Orlando, Memphis and Sacramento on their home floor. And on the road they have Memphis, Sacramento, Portland, Denver and Phoenix.

There are nine wins mixed in there, somewhere.

That means, for the Jazz to have any kind of chance at the playoffs, they would be forced to find victory at least 10 times, and possibly more, in their remaining games.

They get Memphis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Brooklyn, Portland, Denver, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Minnesota at ESA. And they hit the road to face Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Portland, Golden State, Minnesota and Memphis.

Where exactly are the necessary wins?

If you give them an automatic seven at home, they’ll have to pick up three victories on the road. That’s where the Jazz’s failure to conquer one of their biggest liabilities this season, second only to playing bad defense too often, rips them apart. They can’t consistently win on the road. They lose more than twice as many games as they win away from ESA. Their current road record is 10-24. And that might well kill them.

They have a decent shot at Minnesota, and maybe at Portland. Winning at Golden State could be asking for too much.

The Jazz have a chart in their locker room of the always updated Western Conference standings. They’re fully aware at all times of their circumstances. (They probably knew about Kobe’s sprained ankle before he dipped it in the ice bucket.) They’ll be staring at that chart a lot over the next month, wishing the numbers on it could be rearranged just enough to keep the lights on for a week or two longer.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.