Are the playoffs slipping away from the Utah Jazz?

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 2: Ricky Rubio /

While the Utah Jazz look to get back on track in the playoff hunt, they also need teams ahead of them to start losing.

The race is on. Teams out West are currently battling for playoff spots, and even with their 11-game win streak before the All-Star break, the Utah Jazz are still on the outside looking in.

The Jazz are currently in 10th place and two games behind the Denver Nuggets who are currently holding onto the last playoff spot in the West.

Playoff contenders in the West are winning

Something that the Jazz can’t really control is whether or not other teams within their division and conference will lose. And right now the teams that the Jazz need to lose are winning.

The Nuggets, who are currently ahead of the Jazz in the playoff hunt, have won eight out of their last 11 games.

The New Orleans Pelicans have won seven in a row.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have won seven out of their last 10.

Even the LA Clippers have won eight out of their last 11.

So the problem isn’t just how well the Jazz need to play, it’s the fact that almost every team ahead of them in the standings is flat-out winning.

What they can control is whether or not they can keep winning. The Jazz need to win in general, but especially against Western Conference opponents, most importantly, those that are in the playoff hunt.

Over their last 20 games of the season, only seven of them are against Western Conference teams that are currently in the top-eight of the standings.

  • @ NOP
  • @ SAS
  • vs GSW
  • @ MIN
  • vs LAC
  • vs GSW
  • @ POR

Consistency is key

Something the Jazz did really well during their win streak was knocking down threes at a very good percentage. Now, it’s probably unlikely they can continue to shoot above 50 percent from deep as a team, but being able to knock down shots night in and night out is what has been a struggle as of late.

The Jazz have also been sloppy with the ball since returning from the All-Star break. Over their last four games, they’re averaging 17.5 TO’s per game. This can sometimes be a result of guys trying to do too much with the ball.

If the Jazz can hit open shots more consistently and commit less turnovers, it will turn them back into the team they were during that 11-game win streak.

It’s closer than ever

I can’t recall seeing a playoff hunt in the Western Conference that was as close and intense as it is currently. Only four games stand between the 3rd seeded Trail Blazers, and the 10th seeded Jazz.

Luckily, outside of those seven games against playoff contending teams that the Jazz have remaining, 10 of their 13 games will be against teams below .500.

If the Jazz can pick up wins in four to five of those games against playoff contenders, and go on a little win streak, they should be able to squeeze into the playoffs.

Next: Utah Jazz-Pesky T-Wolves react: Gobert leads the band to big win

Buckle up Jazz fans, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.