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We are officially at the midpoint of the Jazz’es season. 33 games down, 33 games to go. The Jazz currently sit at 15-18 after last night’s surprising (predictable) loss to the very awful (only 3 wins behind us) Sacramento Kings.

 

Let us take a look for a minute at what it would take in the second half of the season to make the playoffs, shall we? We are going to temporarily hold off the conversation of whether or not that is a worthwhile goal, and just look at the likelihood of it.

 

Currently, @johnhollinger’s numbers predict that the 8th seed in the west will have 37 wins—specifically he predicts Portland and Memphis to both have 37 wins and finish 7th and 8th respectively (I emphasized the numbers part of it to remind people that he doesn't personally inject any bias into it after the season begins). He also predicts Minnesota and Denver to miss the playoffs with 34 wins a piece. Now, of course who knows how far off the mark he actually ends up, but I’m willing to bet the silly notion floated that 0.500 will get you into the playoffs in the west this year is a fallacy. No really, I got $100 that says the 8th seed in the west will have no worse than a 34-32 record. Any takers? Incidently, Hollinger predicts the jazz to finish with 29 wins and finish behind GSW at 12th in the west, and gives them a 7.2% chance of making the playoffs. That 7.2%, I think you will agree after reading on, is probably far too generous

 

So, let’s use his numbers as a target. Hech (heck?) I’ll even give you a game, and say 36-30 gets you in. With the Jazz currently at 15-18, that means they need to 21-12 the rest of the way. Yes, they need to win 63.6% of their games going forward to make it.

 

Here is the remaining schedule for the rest of the way:



HOU

@LAL

GSW

MIA

OKC

@SAS

@DAL

@SAC

SAS

@CLE

DEN

@HOU

@CHA

@ATL

@NOH

@PHI

@NJN

@MEM

@CHI

@BOS

DAL

DET

SAC

@POR

@PHO

@LAC

ORL

MIN

@POR

PHO

GSW

PHO

POR

 

For those of you not counting, that is 15 home games and 18 road games. So, assuming they win all their home games (they won’t), they would have to win 6 road games. They won 3 in the first half of the year.

 

For the sake of simplification, I made some assumptions. I counted 6 games they were likely to lose (I would be shocked if we win any of them tbh) and highlighted them in red, and 7 games they should win (although that phrase is becoming hard to apply to this team!) and highlighted them in blue. Assuming they pull that off, and lets be honest that is an optimistic estimate with the way this team has been playing lately, that would put their record at 22-24 for those games with 20 games in the either/or column. So, that would mean of the following 20 games, the Jazz would need to go 14-6.

 

HOU

@SAC

SAC

@HOU

@PHI

DEN

@LAC

@MEM

@PHO

@ATL

@POR

DAL

MIN

@NJN

GSW

@POR

GSW

@BOS

SAS

ORL

 

These are all winnable games, although a few on this list the Jazz will be heavy underdogs (@LAC, @BOS, SAS at home). However, realize of this list they can lose no more than 6, and 11 of them are on the road.

 

I personally, knowing how much I love this team, would lay 15-1 odds right now against my beloved Jazz winning 14 of these 20 games. If you disagree, fine, I am not going to make any further argument about it for now, although 5-10 games down the road I would like to revisit the issue. However, I want you to keep this in mind: We are going to try to win these games, or at least the next X number of them, by starting Josh “I smoke weed and I don’t pass” Howard and eventually sending The Precious to the bench when Bell is back, and hearing Corbin talk about how “Man it’s hard to find an excuse not to play Alec Burks at this point!” (Notice he doesn’t say impossible. As difficult a task as it is, he will find a way)

 

I think it’s time to rip the bandaid off already, instead of painfully pulling it off one…hair…at a time… I don’t think starting the younger guys equals tanking either, and a credible case could be made that starting the vets we are does equal tanking, but I will save that argument for another day.