The Utah Jazz have done exactly what they’ve needed to do over the past week so that they still have a chance to make the NBA Playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference. They have played a home and away series with the Minnesota Timberwolves and, despite the high degree of difficulty entailed in beating the same team twice in one week, have prevailed both times.
Now, one game remains in the regular season for both the Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers, and Utah trails the Lakers for the eighth seed by one game. The Jazz own the tie-breaker between themselves and Los Angeles if they can close that gap. Essentially, this means that the Lakers hold most of the control over what happens to the Jazz.
If the Lakers win, the Jazz won’t be a part of the postseason and the Lakers will have won the final spot. If the Lakers lose, though, the Jazz will have the opportunity to grab a win and, subsequently, the eight-seed. The gist of the situation is that, for Utah to have any chance of making the playoffs, they have to beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
The Grizzlies have won two of the three games that they have played against the Jazz this season, which doesn’t exactly bode well for the Jazz. However, what does work in their favor is the fact that Memphis locked up their playoff seed on Monday night, meaning there’s a possibility that they could be resting some of their key players.
Regardless of if Memphis plays their full squad, the Jazz can’t afford to have a let-down game. Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Mo Williams and Gordon Hayward have to show up focused and have to not make mental errors. If they do that, they have a chance at beating the Grizzlies, which means they’ll still have a chance at making the playoffs.