Over the next two months the Jazz play their easiest part of the schedule. Not only are the Jazz in 7th place in the West, but they are only 5 games out of 4th and the all important home court advantage in the first round. Jazz sit at 22-19 with 13 of their next 18 games at Energy Solutions Arena. Here is how I see these games going:
vs Washington (8-30): W – The Wizards have been playing better since John Wall came back but won’t be enough to win in Utah.
@ LA Lakers (17-23): W – Lakers have lost 8 of their last 10.
vs Indiana (25-16): L – Jazz want revenge after the beating they took in Indiana, but the Pacers look like the hardest game in this stretch at home.
vs Houston: (21-21): W – Houston is reeling losing their last 7.
vs New Orleans: (13-27): W – Eric Gordon is back but Jazz can’t lose twice to the lowly Hornets.. right?
vs Portland: (20-20): W – Lillard’s return to Utah. (Probably won’t get booed every play like Jimmer)
@ Portland: (20-20): L – Back-to-back with the Blazers ending in Portland usually never ends well.
vs Sacramento: (16-25): W – Another Crazy night where half the crowd can’t decide if they like one player more than the team they watch every game.
vs Milwaukee: (21-18): W – Could be a tough game.
vs Chicago: (23-16): W – Return of Boozer, if D rose was back there might be a different result.
@ Sacramento: (16-25): L – Last game the Jazz will see of Jimmer in a Kings jersey.
vs Oklahoma City: (32-9): L – Will come down to the wire and I’m hoping I’m wrong with the result.
@ Minnesota: (17-20): W – Jazz will avoid 3 game losing streak with no Kevin Love
vs Golden State: (24-15): W – Payback time; also last game we might see Sap or Al in a Jazz uniform.
@ LA Clippers: (32-9): L – Getting swept by the Clippers will sting since both games in Utah should’ve had different results.
vs Boston: (20-20): W – No Ray Allen = win for Utah
vs Atlanta: (22-18): W – Shouldn’t have lost the first match-up
vs Charlotte: (10-30): W – Last game of the easy stretch.
If all this happens the way I predict it will, the Jazz will sit at 35-24. This will leave them with a need of 11 more wins out of 23 games to ensure a likely outcome of the playoffs. I’m also secretly hoping the Jazz play the Clippers in the playoffs which most likely will require the 6 seed. All this can change drastically with the trade deadline looming just one month out from today. Until then let’s hope the Jazz take care of the easiest part of the schedule.