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NBA Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz Close to Reclaiming No. 8 Seed in Western Conference

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Weeks ago it seemed preordained that the Utah Jazz would vacate the eighth playoff seed just as soon as the Los Angeles Lakers finally got healthy after putting it all together. The Jazz would leave their seat momentarily, but are now pushing L.A. back off it thanks to a season-series tiebreaker and equal loss totals heading into Friday.

Utah (36-36) now sits a half game behind Los Angeles (37-36) for the last playoff spot but has taken two of three from the Lakers on the year.

“We have four road games left. If we don’t get at least two of those, I feel like it’s going to be very difficult,” Jazz point guard Deron Williams said, via The Deseret News. “At this point, I still feel like if we take care of our own business, we can get that eighth spot.”

While the Lakers have dropped four of five, Utah has bounced back from a four-game losing streak to take two straight. Granted, these two triumphs have against the Philadelphia 76ers (28-43) and Phoenix Suns (23-50), but it’s a start — and brings the Jazz back to close to the No. 8 seed from nearly buried.

With Enes Kanter out indefinitely, it will be interesting to see if this winning streak can translate to victories against playoff squads soon. Five teams currently seeded to make the postseason loom in the final 10 contests, including road trips to visit the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies.

Until then, Utah tangles with another squad outside the NBA playoff picture in the Portland Trail Blazers (33-38) Friday night at 8 p.m. MT.

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google