All-Star Weekend is officially over for the 2013-2014 season. The Jazz were well represented by Trey Burke who, along with Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers, won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge in dramatic fashion on Saturday night. The Jazz were also represented by a Jazz legend in Karl Malone, who teamed with Kevin Durant and Skylar Diggins to make the finals in the Sears Shooting Stars Challenge. All this wrapped up Sunday with the East squad topping the West in a very high scoring All-Star game.
Now that things are going back to normal, it is time to start thinking about the last half of the season. The Jazz currently are on a three game winning streak and hold a 19-33 record. The schedule has 30 games left on it, and most fans are worried about the lottery. The schedule really isn’t that easy, so Jazz fans might get what they wished for. Depending on what happens at the trade deadline, this is how I see the rest of the season playing out.
The three game winning streak will get tested right out of the gates when the Jazz host Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets. The Jazz played Brooklyn earlier this season and were throttled 104-88. The next two games after the Nets are against the Portland Trailblazers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. All three teams, the Jazz have yet to beat this season.
There game against the Boston Celtics at home might be there best chance of picking up a win in February. They face a good Phoenix Suns team, and the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road. The Jazz will most likely compete in all games, but they could start to see a rough stretch.
February record 2-4
The Cleveland game the last day in February is the start of a six game East Coast road trip for the Jazz. They have already played a long road trip once this season playing the Eastern Conference, where they put up a respectable 2-3 record before coming home.
March looks brutal for the Jazz. Counting the five road games to start March, the Jazz will play 12 of their 17 games on the road. Those road contests include playing teams such as the Indiana Pacers, the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, and Oklahoma City Thunder. If you are rooting for Jazz losses, March will be good for you.
March record 4-13
The seven games in April are pretty even. The Jazz play a couple pretty good teams, and a few lesser teams to end the regular season. The game to keep an eye on though, for entertainment purposes, is April 14th when the Jazz host the Los Angeles Lakers. The Jazz have taken two out of three from the Lakers, including one in the Staples Center. Kobe Bryant has vowed to return before the end of the season. If he does, that game will be fun to watch.
April record 2-5
In my scenarios, the Jazz would finish the last 30 games of the season, 8-22. That kind of finish would give the Jazz a 27-55 record. A 27 win season should be close to keeping the Jazz in the top five of the lottery in the upcoming NBA draft. It will depend on what the other teams are doing of course, but I think in March you will see the Jazz creeping closer to the bottom, and see some of those bottom teams winning a few more games. No matter what, the schedule looks tough and my guess is Jazz “tank” fans will be singing a happy tune here shortly.