The Utah Jazz are for real after ripping through their toughest stretch of the schedule

You cant deny that the Utah Jazz are for real after this recent stretch of games, culminating in a dominant win over Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
Denver Nuggets v Utah Jazz
Denver Nuggets v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz are one game from .500, sitting impressively at 19-20 after a horrid start to their season. The team has found chemistry it was lacking, and many things this squad struggled to do have been fixed with a few tweaks to the roster. Once the worst passing team in the league, single-handedly used passing to beat the Denver Nuggets.

The Jazz turned into lop-city against the Nuggets, with Lauri Markkanen, John Collins, and Walker Kessler all catching incredible passes for culminating dunks. And it wasn't just from one person. Lauri Markkanen found Kessler at one point, and guys like Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson were making passes that no one saw coming.

This team is finally playing like a team, and they did it right when they needed it the most, in a showdown against the best team in the West (with regards to talent, not record), the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets, the defending NBA Champions of 2023, were picked apart by a Jazz team that made the extra pass. That asked its guys to do what they did best.

Collins put back lob passes, Clarkson attacked the rim, Markkanen "finnesshed" his way to openings all over the court, and guys like Kessler fought for positioning on both ends. This was a team with a group of guys who were finally buying into their specific roles on the team and it worked. What's even more impressive is that defensively, a number of guys put in effort.

Collins and Clarkson aren't your better defenders, but both men swarmed to the ball last night, especially Clarkson, who was the shadow of anyone in front of him. Simone Fonetcchio was meeting guys at the rim and in the paint with gusto and Kessler, with a tall task ahead of him, took it to Nuggets star and rightful MVP Nikola Jokic. Yes, Jokic still went off, he's the best player in the league, but Kessler didn't back down from him.

The team still isn't perfect. Collins is playing too long, Kessler isn't playing enough, Clarkson and Keyonte George are still shooting too many threes and the defense breaks down too often in transition but this is a wildly different team than it was on Dec. 11, 2023, the date of their last losing streak.

On that night they lost by 14 to the Oklahoma City Thunder and since then have gone 12-4 with wins over the New York Knicks, the Miami Heat, the Dallas Mavericks, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Denver Nuggets. Yes, they beat the 76ers and Bucks without Joel Embiid and Damian Lillard, but they also beat a fully stacked Knicks, Heat, Mavs, and Nuggets squad.

This team is different. This team is streaking to the playoffs and more importantly, this team is now buyers at the trade deadline.

The Jazz turn back the clock to the 1990's in a win over the Denver Nuggets. dark. Next. The Jazz turn back the clock to the 1990's in a win over the Denver Nuggets