Whether or not it was on sunny seashores, ski slopes, or the comforts of their very own properties, the Jazz have been capable of take full benefit of the all-star break and get away for a bit.
However with the break over, Utah returns to the courtroom rested, rejuvenated, and centered for a postseason push.
The proverbial second half of the season will get for Utah will get underway on Friday evening after they host Dallas in an enormous showdown between two groups battling for playoff positioning — with tipoff set for 7 p.m. MST. Coming into Friday, the Jazz are ranked No. 4 within the Western Convention whereas the Mavericks are No. 5, simply 1.5 video games behind.
aaaaand we’re again
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 25, 2022
“I believe for everybody, there’s the purpose throughout that point the place you’re capable of form of recharge,” head coach Quin Snyder mentioned on Thursday. “I believe it was good to numerous our guys, even simply mentally and emotionally.”
It’s a giant sport for each groups following the all-star break, the primary of three conferences over the ultimate six weeks. However simply because Utah will face the Mavericks twice extra, it doesn’t imply this sport doesn’t maintain vital which means.
Following the win over Dallas on Christmas Day, one other victory would enable the Jazz to separate the season sequence at a minimal. It might additionally give them some respiration room over the Mavericks shifting ahead, very important contemplating the problem of Utah’s schedule the remainder of the way in which.
Over the ultimate 24 video games, Utah will play opponents with a median profitable proportion of .517, which might rank because the fifth hardest schedule to shut out the season.
Eleven video games will probably be performed towards groups at the moment ranked within the top-6 of both convention. When bumping that to the top-10 of every convention — these at the moment within the play-in — that quantity jumps to 17, together with 12 straight from March 14 via April 5.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 25, 2022
Conscious of the problem, Utah returned to apply on Thursday with a goal. Not solely have been gamers considerably tanner — in line with Donovan Mitchell — there was a unique degree of focus when watching movie and spending time on the courtroom.
“I believe for us, we’ve received some work to do,” Mitchell mentioned. “We all know that, and you’ll inform with everyone’s goal and actions. … Guys are able to go. We received to go on the market and discover methods to win and compete on the highest degree.”
The remainder did wonders for a Utah staff that suffered via one of many worst months beneath Snyder.
January was no laughing matter because the Jazz handled a myriad of accidents and well being and security protocols, resulting in a not often wholesome staff all through the month. Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Mike Conley mixed to play in simply 4 video games collectively, resulting in a 4-12 report within the month.
However in line with Snyder, the month really served a optimistic goal because the staff got here collectively. Quite than struggle inside and crumble, a way of optimism grew, permitting the Jazz to take full benefit of the break.
“We had a tough January,” Snyder mentioned. “I believe that that stretch of damage and COVID-19 and a few losses simply can take loads out of you. … I believe it introduced us collectively too. I imply I believe the way in which we’ve performed of late is a mirrored image form of how our staff dealt with that adversity throughout that point.”
| “That is the mark of a staff that is composed, and also you perceive you have to undergo adversity to get to the highest.”https://t.co/MC2BQKoFdG
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 23, 2022
Earlier than a heartbreaking loss to the Lakers final Wednesday, the Jazz turned issues round with six consecutive victories to begin February. However even that loss to Los Angeles felt like an anomaly as Utah dominated the Lakers for 3 and a half quarters earlier than inexplicably struggling in the long run.
“I used to be actually pleased with the way in which we have now repeatedly performed all through the previous few weeks,” Mitchell mentioned. “It’s a kind of issues that’ll keep on with us (Loss to LA). Hopefully, in June, we’ll look again and say, ‘thank God LA occurred,’ as a result of now we perceive and we are able to use it as a second to push ahead.”’
That second of pushing ahead and taking part in in direction of June begins Friday evening towards Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.
“You must be wholesome, should be a little bit bit fortunate, and it’s important to be taking part in nicely,” Snyder mentioned. “Which means it’s important to be taking part in nicely as a staff. … On a person degree, guys have gotta be taking part in nicely. And people two issues are related.”
“I really feel like one thing occurred inside our staff. … I really feel like we’re a staff that is attempting to perform one thing.”https://t.co/wdCQceBTuV
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 22, 2022
Utah (36-22, 21-10 dwelling / No. 4 Western Convention)
*113.7 Factors Per Sport (No. 4 in NBA)
*115.9 Offensive Ranking (No. 1 in NBA)
*106.9 Factors Per Sport (No. 9 in NBA)
*100.9 Defensive Ranking (No. 10 in NBA)
*Donovan Mitchell: 25.7 factors / 5.2 assists / 4.2 rebounds / 1.6 steals
*Rudy Gobert: 15.7 factors / 14.8 rebounds / 2.3 blocks / 71.1% capturing
*Bojan Bogdanovic: 17.8 factors / 4.4 rebounds / 38.0% 3P-shooting
*Mike Conley: 13.8 factors / 5.3 assists / 41.0% 3P-shooting
Dallas (35-24, 15-13 away / No. 5 Western Convention)
*106.6 Factors Per Sport (No. 24 in NBA)
*110.8 Offensive Ranking (No. 16 in NBA)
*103.3 Factors Per Sport (No. 2 in NBA)
*107.2 Defensive Ranking (No. 5 in NBA)
*Luka Doncic: 27.5 factors / 9.2 rebounds / 9.0 assists
*Jalen Brunson: 16.3 factors / 5.4 assists / 37.2% 3P-shooting
*Dorian Finney-Smith: 10.1 factors / 4.8 rebounds / 37.2% 3P-shooting
MATCHUP TO WATCH
*Donovan Mitchell vs. Luka Doncic
— It’s among the best matchups in basketball — two of the largest stars in Mitchell and Doncic going head-to-head. Each gamers are usually not simply able to profitable a sport by themselves, however able to profitable sequence’ on their very own. In what could possibly be a future playoff showdown, whichever star shines brightest with assist their staff begin the second half of the season the proper manner.
DOUBTFUL — Rudy Homosexual (Non-COVID Associated Sickness)
OUT — Jared Butler (Proper Ankle Sprain)
QUESTIONABLE — Reggie Bullock (proper hip contusion)
QUESTIONABLE — Trey Burke (left shoulder sprain)
DOUBTFUL — Marquese Chriss (proper knee soreness)
OUT — Tim Hardaway Jr. (left foot surgical procedure)
OUT — Theo Pinson (proper fifth finger fracture)
Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Vivint Area / Salt Lake Metropolis, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 1280 The Zone