The NBA playoff race is coming down to the wire and the Jazz are in a two team race for the 8th spot in the West. They play the Thunder at home on Tuesday and then play back to back games against the struggling Timberwolves. Their final game of the season is against a Grizzlies team who has already clinched the 5 seed in the West, which means that won’t be entirely motivated to play. Looking at Utah’s schedule, they should be able to finish with a 3-1 record and 2-2 at worst.
The Lakers on the other hand (the other team fighting for the 8th spot) have a much tougher schedule. The final three games of the season for them are against the Warriors, Spurs, and Rockets, with the Warriors and Rockets battling for the 6th and 7th seeds in the West. That’s a very difficult three game stretch and the Lakers will have to win at least two of those games to have a chance to finish ahead of the Jazz. That should be quite difficult for them however, considering the Jazz hold the tie breaker over them and are playing much better basketball at the moment.
The Jazz have heated up at the right time, going 7-3 in the last ten games and beating some good teams in the process. If they can take care of the two games they play against the Timberwolves and split the Thunder and Grizzlies match-ups, then they should make the playoffs. The Lakers have dug themselves into a hole that even Kobe won’t be able to pull them out of. Barring a historical run by the Lakers, the Jazz should make the playoffs and take on the Spurs in the first round (good luck Derrick Favors).