The Utah Jazz face a tough Week 22, which is somewhat disconcerting considering the precarious spot they sit at in the Western Conference standings.
Well, Week 21 didn’t exactly go as hoped. Despite optimism that the Utah Jazz could go on a big run as they broke into a significantly easier schedule streak, it was a disappointing trio of games for Utah. They dropped the first game of the week at home against the New Orleans Pelicans despite being up by as many as 17.
They were able to win the rematch in The Big Easy, but it wasn’t exactly a convincing win. And things got worse from there as the Jazz went on to lay an absolute egg in Memphis where they fell victim to a feisty Grizzlies team.
In other words, in a week that I had Utah slated to go undefeated, they went just 1-2, bringing the Jazz to 37-28 on the year and leaving my projections record only slightly better at 38-27.
The worst thing about the subpar week is that the Jazz now find themselves in a precarious position in the Western Conference standings as their record is tied with the LA Clippers and they sit just a half-game ahead of the eighth-place San Antonio Spurs. With such being the case, if the Jazz aren’t able to turn things around in Week 22, they could be in danger of plummeting down the standings.
And while they’re certainly in an easier slate than we’re used to, this week won’t be a cakewalk by any means, especially since they’ll start things out with the toughest remaining contest of the year, hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. From there, the Jazz will visit the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, then return for a two-game home stand against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday and the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.
The Suns are obviously struggling this season, but the Wolves have looked improved of late and the Nets are close to a playoff lock in the East. In other words, this week will still be a challenge, and the Jazz will need to be much more focused and prepared than they were a week ago. As such, here’s my take on how each contest will ultimately play out in Week 22 of NBA action.