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Utah Jazz enter NBA playoffs with a lot to show | Opinion


Utah Jazz followers are hopelessly optimistic about their staff, so I’ll attempt to not rain on the parade as their staff opens the playoffs Saturday morning in opposition to the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas.

So I in all probability shouldn’t even point out that the timing of the playoffs might be, um, higher. Why couldn’t they’ve begun the playoffs in, say, December?

I additionally shouldn’t point out that the Jazz, after beginning the season so strongly, are limping to the beginning line of the playoffs. Their longest win streak in two months is three video games; since ending the calendar 12 months of 2021 with a 26-9 document, they’re 23-24, together with a 4-7 end.

You didn’t hear this from me, however ESPN requested a gaggle of “NBA analysts and writers” to make predictions for the Jazz-Mavs playoff collection. Only seven of 19 “experts” picked Utah to outlive the primary spherical.

(Brief, covert, slightly gloomy apart right here: The Jazz have checked out of the playoffs twice within the first spherical within the final three seasons. They haven’t moved previous the second spherical since 2007. Last season that they had the perfect document in the complete NBA and had been bounced out of the playoffs within the second spherical. Not good.)

Not solely is nobody leaping on the Jazz bandwagon, there isn’t a bandwagon (does anybody even know what a bandwagon is anymore?).

“The Utah Jazz are Broken,” learn one web headline on the finish of March. “The Utah Jazz are Crumbling …” learn one other web headline in January. “Utah Jazz Struggling During Mid-Season Slump …” learn nonetheless one other put up in January when the staff misplaced 11 of 13 throughout one stretch earlier than successful 9 of the following 10.

Others are raining on the parade, too: Sports Illustrated just lately wrote that Utah “appears to be coming apart at the seams lately.” ESPN reporter Tim MacMahon had this to say forward of the playoffs: “Unless they catch lightning in a bottle and all the friction this team has gets solved in the next couple of weeks, it feels like they’re a one-and-done team. And if they’re one and done, I do believe there will be franchise-altering changes this summer that could involve pretty much anyone that you would want to name.”

Speaking of friction — and I shouldn’t even go right here — per week and a half in the past, coach Quin Snyder spent 20 minutes refuting hypothesis that Donovan Mitchell doesn’t have a difficulty passing the ball to Rudy Gobert — methinks he doth protest an excessive amount of — and attempting to refute the notion — and the information — that the Jazz have an issue holding a lead.

Three days later the Jazz blew a 17-point fourth-quarter result in the Suns and misplaced.

So perhaps — simply perhaps — the Jazz have points with defending a lead. It feels like a takeoff on a well-known Seinfeld scene: The Jazz know how you can TAKE the lead, they simply don’t know how you can HOLD the lead, and that’s actually crucial half: THE HOLDING.”

I might be mistaken.

So the Utah Jazz’s everlasting quest for a championship resumes Saturday morning underneath a darkish cloud (consistent with the rain-on-the-parade metaphor). The Jazz moved from New Orleans to Salt Lake City for the 1979-80 season and 4 years later certified for the primary playoff berth in franchise historical past. In the 42 years since then they’ve made the playoffs 31 occasions.

But there’s been no championship.

Maybe this would be the 12 months. It’s not all dangerous information. The Jazz have the best offensive score within the NBA this season. And the Lakers are gone. If the Jazz can can advance within the playoffs, no less than they don’t must face these guys. Not even LeBron can win video games from his sofa. And there’s this: Luca Doncic, probably the greatest gamers on the earth — higher than James — performs for the Mavericks, however there’s an opportunity that an harm will sideline him for Saturday’s sport.

There’s cause for some optimism by Jazz followers.

Right?




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