So, what will it take for the Jazz (35-36) to get back in the eighth spot in the West?
The Lakers (36-35) need to lose Tuesday at Minnesota and the Jazz must beat Phoenix at home on Wednesday.
That's it. Despite the torture rituals Jazz fans have endured over the last three weeks, the playoffs actually remain within reach for the Jazz. While getting back into the position with 10 games remaining would not exactly lock up a playoff spot, it's much more enviable than where we all thought the Jazz would be at this point. However, L.A. has helped Utah out with three straight losses, including two we had penciled in as Ws: at Phoenix and at home to the Wizards.
The Lakers end the season with three games at home, but those are far from gimmes: Golden State on April 12, San Antonio two nights later, and Houston on April 17.
We may still be playing close attention to those games at that point, something few of us would have expected as recently as Friday when the Jazz lost to San Antonio.
All in all, the Jazz's total collapse hasn't taken them out of things yet. The bigger concern may be that it allowed Dallas to get back in the race. The Jazz are 1/2 a game ahead of the Mavs, who play the Clippers Tuesday at the American Airlines Center.
Seven players scored in double figures tonight for the Jazz. It actually felt like show and tell: everyone got their turn. Kept waiting for Al Jefferson to pull a turtle out of a shoebox.
Three really impressive runs from the Jazz in the first half to just take Philly completely out of the game. I actually thought the 76ers would make more of a push, but the Jazz did a nice job of answering runs with bigger runs.
The Jazz opened the game up 10-0, including a pair of 3-pointers by Gordon Hayward. Then, the Sixers cut that lead to 27-23 by the end of the quarter. Was this going to be another game we've seen a lot of them in which the Jazz build a double digit lead but give it back? No.
The Sixers got to within two at 31-29 after a Thaddeus Young layup, but the Jazz then went on an 11-0 tear, which included 5 points from Derrick Favors, 4 from Alec Burks, and one 2-point slam dunk basket by Enes Kanter. It was encouraging for the Jazz to see the young group really dominate a game. Earl Watson did a nice job at point guard with that group, too. At that point, the Jazz led 42-29 with 7:21 left in the second quarter.
However! Philly had one more run to go. They cut the Jazz lead to 45-40, but Utah scored 13 straight to go up 58-40 and into halftine up 58-42.
The Jazz scored 15 points in the final 1:15 in Dallas, and this team has somehow found a way to score points quickly, which has been a problem throughout the season. And don't say it's just the young players. The 13-0 run was with the starting lineup in the game.
Short one tonight; have to save some stuff for tomorrow. The Jazz are taking a day off before playing Phoenix on Wednesday.