The Jazz are only a game ahead of the Clippers for the fourth and final home court advantage playoff seed in the West. With players like Hayward hurting with minor injuries it seems like this young team will follow suit of the other great NBA teams and give rest to their players who are hurting. This is more important than assuring a first round homecourt advantage with a team as deep as the Jazz.
Gordon Hayward reportedly has a left quad contusion so the star player will likely need at least a few games of rest to be at full speed as he leads the young Jazz squad to their first playoff appearance in 5 years.
The Jazz were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2012 NBA playoffs. Their last playoff win came against the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2010 playoffs, which resulted in a series clinching 8 point victory in Game 6.
Utah was then promptly swept by the Lakers in the Conference semifinals despite a few valiant game winning efforts that just bounced off the rim. Deron Williams missed a potential game winning shot from just inside the arc and Wesley Matthews tried to tip back the miss as the game sounded.
The Jazz find themselves in a similar seeding situation as 2010 as the 4 or 5 seed is the most likely spot for them with the Los Angeles Clippers being their most likely opponent. The Clippers took the regular season series 3-1 so the tiebreaker goes to Loh City should they finish with the same record as the Jazz.
Gordon Hayward is playing as well as any of the former all-stars on the Los Angeles Clippers. Many believe that Jazz Center Rudy Gobert deserved an All-Stat bid over Clippers center Deandre Jordan, who many believe only got a spot because his other Clipper teammates were injured.
The Jazz have been the most inured team in the NBA for almost two season but just might have a full roster primed for the playoffs if they play their cards right. Besides Hayward, only big man Derrick Favors (left knee bone bruise) and point guard reserve Shelvin Mack (left ankle sprain) are out.
The Jazz return to Vivint Smart Home Arena for a date with Boogie and the Brow of the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite their undermanned roster, a deep team led by Rudy Gobert and George Hill will look to help the team get back on track. The Jazz had an ugly loss against the Clippers on Saturday but they’ve proven all season that they don’t let their last loss define them.
50 wins is still doable if the Jazz win six of their next nine games but the bigger goal is to win at least 4 games in the 2017 playoffs. It’s a tough task for an inexperienced postseason team but this team was built deep so that they can play deep into the postseason.