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Jazz Seeking Unfamiliar, Yet Familiar Terrain This Season

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The Utah Jazz have participated in the NBA postseason in four consecutive seasons. They have not, however, enjoyed home court advantage during any of those playoff runs. This year, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell hope to change that. Their ability to do so will hinge on their ability to start hot, and then finish the season strong. 

Avoiding a Slow Start

Believe it or not, the Jazz had a losing record at the half way mark of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 season. They made the playoffs both years due to memorable second-half pushes. During Mitchell’s rookie campaign, the Jazz were a measly 17-24 through 41 games. They finished the season on fire with a 31-10 record. The second-half push was highlighted by win streaks of six, nine and eleven straight.

In Mitchell’s second year, the Jazz were one game below .500 at the midway point. The team finished the season 30-11 with an 18-7 record after the All-Star break. Both electric second-half pushes landed the Jazz in the No. 5 seed, missing out on the chance to host a playoff series. Starting hot will be a challenge this year, as the Jazz have a relatively tough first-half schedule.

Finishing Strong

The Jazz started the 2019-20 season strong, boasting a 24-12 record at the halfway mark. They were 41-23 before the COVID-19 stoppage, but finished the season on a 3-5 slide landing them in the No. 6 seed matchup with the Denver Nuggets. Regardless of the adverse circumstances faced during the last eight regular season games of last year, the Jazz fell short of a top-four seed in the West yet again. 

Putting It All Together

In Spida’s fourth season, the Jazz have a chance to put it all together. In order to secure a top seed out west, the team must start fast and finish strong. Getting off to a hot start will be even more important considering the condensed NBA season. Instead of an 82-game schedule, teams only have 72 regular season games this season. The number of games could be even smaller due to pandemic-related cancelations. 

Jazz Basketball: The Path to Home Court Advantage

If the Jazz stay healthy, they have the potential to finish as a top-four seed in the Western Conference for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The Jazz haven’t finished as a No. 3 seed or better since they did it in six consecutive seasons between 1994 and 2000. The Jazz carry a 2-1 record into their New Year’s Eve matchup with the Phoenix Suns at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Follow us on Twitter @JazzLead for the latest Jazz news and insight. 

About Kyle Peay

Utah Jazz Co-Lead for @theleadsm

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