by Daniel Olsen
The Utah Jazz are simply on fire. Can anything or anyone stop them? That remains to be seen. As of now, nobody has been able to stop them in their eight-game win streak. How long can it last? We will do our best to predict just how the last four games of January will play out. Buckle up and get ready for another Jazz predictions article.
1. Jazz vs Knicks: The Rematch
Date and Time: January 26, 2021 @ 7 PM MST
Ironically, the last team to beat the Jazz was the New York Knicks. It came in a game 20 nights prior to when this game will be played. Since then, a new President of the United States has taken over the White House, the Chiefs and Buccaneers have punched their tickets to the Super Bowl, and the Jazz have recorded their best winning stretch of the season.
Austin Rivers exploded for 23 points in that game and nobody could find a way to stop him from hitting three point bombs to end the game in the Big Apple. Expect the Jazz to come up with a game plan to stop his spark off the bench.
Starters Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle also combined for 52 points in the 112-100 win over our Jazz. This will be a home game and there should be 1,500 Jazz fans in attendance to cheer their team on to victory. I think the Jazz win streak can’t stop with the Knicks. They need to keep it going and will do so in convincing fashion.
Score Prediction: Utah 117 New York 102
2. Jazz vs Mavs: Part I
Date and time: January 27, 2021 @ 7 PM
The Jazz had some great games last year against the Dallas Mavericks. One that comes to mind was a game saving block by Rudy Gobert. The Jazz will hope to win this game on the second night of a back-to-back. The good news is the home stand will last until the last day of the month. The Mavs are struggling out of the gate with an 8-8 record. If the season ended today, they would barely miss the playoffs.
It will be a competitive game. The key star matchups will be Luka Doncic vs Donovan Mitchell and Gobert vs Porzingis. Both stars on the Mavs side are averaging over 20 points per game. Porzingis did miss the last game due to rehabilitation for soreness in his right knee. The Mavs lost that game to the Rockets in a 133-108 blowout.
If I have to pick a loss, it would be this one. I care more about winning the national TV games later in the week more than I do about the win streak continuing to ten games. Hopefully the Jazz surprise us and do both. Their current best win streak as a franchise is 15 straight wins. As many playoff seasons as the Jazz have had, it’s surprising they rank among the bottom half of the NBA in longest winning streaks. Hopefully I am wrong but I predict the Jazz lose this one in overtime off of clutch free throws by Doncic. They will still be able to start another win streak soon enough though even if they drop this game.
Score Prediction: Utah 110 Dallas 113 OT
3. Jazz vs Mavs: Part II
Date and time: Friday, January 29, 2021
This game will be broadcast on national TV for the second time in eight days. It will be the first time this season that the Jazz are featured on ESPN. They will tip off at 8 PM MST in the late NBA Friday Night slot. Similar to the game vs the Pelicans last Thursday on TNT, it will be the second game in 48 hours against the same team. With a day off to look at film, I think the Jazz will be motivated to once again silence the haters.
This time the Jazz will not have to deal with Shaquille O’Neal and the TNT circus show in this game. Hopefully the Jazz can win and earn the postgame interview that they should have received last time. No matter what happens, superstar Mitchell seems to play better when playing with a chip on his shoulder. Whether they win or lose the first game, you can bet they don’t need any extra motivation from criticism given by retired players.
Score Prediction: Utah 120 Dallas 109
4. Jazz vs Nuggets: 3-1 Revenge on 1/31?
Date and Time: January 31, 2021 @ 1:30 PM MST
The Game 7 loss to the Nuggets at the end of last summer still stings? As much as that hurt, the Jazz got revenge on them in a close win back on January 17. That’s when this run started to feel special. While the Jazz haven’t heated up to a 10 game win-streak yet like they did at one point last season, they’ve still performed exceptionally well.
This is a tough one. The Nuggets are a good team and I don’t think they will like losing to us twice this early in the season. Expect them to come out and be even more physical than they were last time. I’m going to say we only beat them if we lose the game to the Maveriks like I predicted. In other words, I think the best case scenario is for this streak to end at 11 games.
This new rivalry has had some exciting finishes so I’m predicting another one. I’m calling on Mitchell to make his first buzzer beater in a Jazz uniform. While he has made plenty of clutch baskets, he hasn’t yet made a game winner as the buzzer sounds. It is a rare occurrence in the NBA but I’m thinking it will be just like what Bojan did to the Bucks and Rockets last year. Again, if the Jazz lose one of the games to the Mavericks, the shot goes in vs the Nuggets and we forget about our streak ending prematurely. If the Jazz sweep the Mavs, the Nuggets will be too hungry to be the ones to end our streak and will blanket Mitchell on defense.
Score Prediction: Utah 118 Denver 115
Either way, this season has been more than “aight” this season for Jazz nation.
Featured image courtesy Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News