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Northwest Division97.7 (5th)95.9 (1st)
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(B) -- Quin Snyder objected when I asked him about how rarely Gordon Hayward "takes over a game," mentioning how what he does is much more subtle but no less impactful. Still, when that dude cooks like he did Sunday vs. the Nuggets, the Jazz are a whole different animal.
The Jazz are a good team that might miss the playoffs, as compared to the Mavericks and Rockets, which are not-so-great teams that might make it. Timing of health vs. schedule matters more in the NBA than we think.
The window's open, for about the 70th time this season, thanks to Houston and Dallas' drop-off. Can the Jazz just put together one decent stretch from here to the end of the season? They play the Warriors and Spurs but other than that, they're all winnable games. This is going to be up to them.
Utah had a dreadful offensive performance against Chicago on Saturday, but bounced back just fine against the Bucks a day later. The Cleveland win was nice, Shelvin Mack appears to be the real deal and the playoffs are still possible. I just want to fast-forward to next year, though, to see what they look like with a healthy Dante Exum, Alec Burks and more internal development.
At four games under .500, the Jazz should be buried. However, they may have turned the corner at the exact right moment. Dallas' implosion has opened a window, but Utah has no margin for error. It has to close like Mo Rivera.
It's not the talent, it's not the coaching, it's not any one thing you can point to. The team just didn't come together this year for a number of reasons, and will likely miss the playoffs because of it. Shame, lots to like with this squad.
The Jazz have all the potential in the world but can't string together a consistent stretch of quality play. I keep believing in them, and they keep dropping the ball when opportunity arises, like the loss to Brooklyn last week.
They're still all over the map. At their best, they're probably the fifth-best team in the West, but they fail to play their best consistently, and that's a problem with how well Portland is playing and how talented Houston is.
These guys are officially "that team you don't want to run into right now." Versatile, with rim protection, perimeter defenders, guys who can make tough shots, bigs that can contest inside, and a number of different ways they can win. If things break right, it's not crazy to see the Jazz making a run at the five seed or higher.
Uh-oh. Look who got back to full strength and is now tearing the league apart? Lineups with Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert together are scoring at an excellent rate (107.5 per 100 possessions), defending at a better one (99.7 allowed per 100 possessions) and the team is back to its defensive identity. Look out for Utah.
2015-16 Team Leaders
PPGGordon Hayward , SF19.7
RPGRudy Gobert , C11
APGGordon Hayward , SF3.7
FG%Derrick Favors , PF51.5
FT%Rodney Hood , SG86
3P%Rodney Hood , SG35.9
BLOCKSRudy Gobert , C135
STEALSGordon Hayward , SF95
MPGGordon Hayward , SF36.2
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