Utah Jazz 2017-18 Week 23 Outlook, Predictions

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 17: Joe Ingles #2 and Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz high five during the game against the Sacramento Kings on March 17, 2018 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 17: Joe Ingles #2 and Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz high five during the game against the Sacramento Kings on March 17, 2018 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 5
Next
SAN ANTONIO,TX – MARCH 17 : LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard #2(in street clothes) of the San Antonio Spurs share a laugh in closing minute of game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at AT&T Center on March 17, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO,TX – MARCH 17 : LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard #2(in street clothes) of the San Antonio Spurs share a laugh in closing minute of game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at AT&T Center on March 17, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

3/23 Utah at San Antonio

6:30 pm MT – AT&T SportsNet/League Pass

Opponent record: 40-30

Season series: Jazz lead 3-0

The Utah Jazz have played the San Antonio Spurs on the second nights of back-to-backs in all three meetings this season, yet they still hold a 3-0 lead over them. Yes, you read that right and, yes, despite San Antonio’s weird and injury-plagued season, it’s still as crazy as it sounds. Each game has been closely-contested, particularly the last one where the Jazz were down 10 heading into the final quarter and had to use an insane push to come out on top.

And while Kawhi Leonard‘s return is still unclear, the Spurs have suddenly shown new life that has them looking quite different from their recent slump that saw them plummet all the way down to 10th in the standings for a brief period of time. They’ve won three straight, including over fellow Western Conference playoff contenders New Orleans and Minnesota.

And considering that Utah and San Antonio are currently tied in the standings, the Spurs are going to know how important this contest is and be ready to come out and give it their all. Although Utah already has the individual tiebreaker over San Antonio, earning an extra win over them could be big if the season were to conclude in any sort of three-way tie, such as the one that exists right now between Minnesota, Utah and San Antonio.

Although Minnesota currently owns the individual tiebreaker over the Jazz, the Jazz have the best record in the three-way tie, and earning yet another win over San Antonio would only help the Jazz further if that scenario were to reemerge.

Nevertheless, as big as this game will be for both teams, and despite how well the Jazz have been playing, I believe this contest will be where they see their streak come to an end. Yes, Utah has matched up pretty well against the Spurs this year, but with the playoffs nearing, San Antonio is starting to play inspired basketball, and I have a hard time seeing the Jazz pulling off a four-game sweep of the Spurs as they’re still a solid, albeit flawed, team.

I could be wrong on this, just as the Jazz have proved as much in the previous battles against San Antonio, and if that ends up being the case I’ll gladly accept it. However, it will take a monster effort for the Jazz and they’ll need to look much more like they did against the Pistons last week than they did against the Kings if they’re to top a much more daunting Spurs squad.

My Prediction: Spurs Win

Final Score: San Antonio 103, Utah 96