BYU Wins Holy War

BYU Wins Holy War
George, like Collie and Harline before him, is now still open!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Utah Jazz Should Play for the Four Seed

If the playoffs started today, the Jazz would be extremely happy...

The Utah Jazz are virtual locks to have the four seed in the NBA Western Conference playoffs. The Jazz would have to self-destruct, and the Nuggets would have to win-out to drop to a lower seed. It would also be hard for the Jazz to make up the two games in the loss column to get into the third seed. Should the Jazz be happy about this fact? YES!!! If the other seeds don't take a drastic shift.

The most important team that the Jazz need to be looking at during the last part of the regular season is the New Orleans Hornets. Right now the Hornets are in the top spot, and have a schedule that is favorable for them to keep that top spot. If they keep that top spot that would set up a favorable bracket for the Utah Jazz. Most likely the Jazz would face either the Suns or the Rockets in the first round; then they would get the winner of the Hornets vs. Nuggets/Warriors in the second round. Every team that would be on their side of the brackets are teams which the Jazz match-up extremely well with. It would also provide for the Spurs and Lakers to face each other before getting to the Jazz.

Is this a sure thing? NO! It could turn very ugly for the Jazz in the last two weeks of the season. The Rockets could play a major role in how the West is shaped. The Lakers have the best remaining schedule to make up ground, and get a higher seed. They still have a head-to-head match up with the Hornets at home, a home date with the Spurs, and the rest of the games they have left are against non-playoff teams. They could win out very easily, and it would just take the Hornets picking up a loss to either Utah or Dallas for the Lakers to surpass the Hornets for the top spot.

The Rockets would then have the inside track to pick up the third spot from the Spurs. It could very well be that the Jazz are playing the last game of the season at San Antonio to determine if they will face the Spurs or the Rockets in the first round. The worst case scenario for the Jazz would be to face the Spurs, without home court advantage, in the first round of the playoffs. Then having the Lakers looming in the second round if they happen to make it past the Spurs.

The Jazz need to be hoping for the Hornets to get the top spot to avoid both the Spurs and Lakers until the Western Conference Finals. This all make the Jazz game against the Hornets very interesting. It might not be a bad thing for the Jazz to drop that game in New Orleans. Maybe have some cases of the flu to rest players up to get the win over Dallas later in the week. Jerry Sloan would never let that happen, but if they Jazz were to drop that game it wouldn't be the end of the world.

The most important game left on the Jazz schedule is really the Rockets at home. Helping the Rockets not catch the Spurs. Yet, any way that you look at the playoffs there going to be a knock-down-drag-out-war. There will be no "gimme" series this year. Any team that the Jazz draws in the first round will present problems for them, although there would be slightly easier roads and more difficult roads to the Finals. The Hornets getting the top seed would create the best road for the Jazz.

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