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Friday, April 18, 2008

Great Utah Jazz Playoff Reads....

This was a great article from John Hollinger of ESPN. Here is a link to the full article.

Here is what John had to say about the Jazz.

Why are the Playoff Odds so high on Utah?
There's a tendency to overreact to What Just Happened, so Utah's stinker against San Antonio on Wednesday night probably increased everyone's doubts about this team.
Nonetheless, the Power Rankings have Utah as the league's second-best team, and the Playoff Odds give them the best chance of winning the West at 31.0 perecnt.

The Jazz played extremely well down the stretch. Even with the meltdown in San Antonio included, over the last quarter of the season the Jazz had an Offensive Efficiency rating of 116.0 -- that dwarfs the Suns' league-leading mark of 111.2. To put that into context, if they had done it for a full season, the Jazz would have been by far the best offensive team of all time.

Utah went 37-12 after Jan. 1, and the number of blowout wins over quality teams is staggering. The Jazz beat the Celtics by 18 in Boston -- the Celtics' worst loss of the season anywhere. The Jazz beat New Orleans by 28, and then again by 22 -- two of the Hornets' three worst defeats of the year. They beat San Antonio by 26 and the Lakers by 24 -- for each, their worst loss of the season. They beat Phoenix by 22 and beat Denver by 27 ... twice.

Overall, Utah won an astounding 18 games by more than 20 points. In contrast, the Jazz didn't lose a single game by more than 20 points all season ... until Wednesday night in San Antonio. And given their questionable motivation in that game and Deron Williams' trouble with a bruised buttock, it's hard for me to hold that against them much when we have 81 games of evidence that they're the best pick in a compacted Western pack.

Enough with the numbers -- who's going to be there in the end?

OK, now for the fun part. Here's how it will all go down -- and remember, I gave you Chicago as your Eastern Conference champion before the season, so you know you can take these picks to the bank.

You might have seen my first-round picks plastered elsewhere on this site, but for those who haven't, I like Boston in 4, Detroit in 5, Orlando in 6 and Washington in 6 in the East, and the Lakers in 5, New Orleans in 7, Utah in 6 and Phoenix in 6 out West.

My reasoning on Phoenix, by the way, is mainly that they've built their team to face the Spurs. Shaquille O'Neal has done extremely well defending Tim Duncan over the years. Somehow, San Antonio has to figure out how to make Shaq a liability on D and not an asset.

In the second round, I see Utah and the Lakers meeting in what should be the true conference finals -- which is why I was so disappointed the Jazz lost to San Antonio on Wednesday and missed out on the No. 3 seed. I have Utah beating L.A. in a six-game barnburner that's about as close to a coin-flip as any pairing you can come up with. (Note: I generally pick the road team to win in six and the home team in either five or seven, since the odds say that's how it's most likely to end. I made an exception for Orlando since they were so strong on the road.)

The Hornets-Suns second-round matchup should be a doozy, too. New Orleans might be even more exhausted after going seven against Dallas, but Phoenix doesn't match up nearly as well with the Hornets -- and New Orleans has home court. Thus, I'll take the Hornets in seven again, in another series that looks to be about dead even.

That sets up Chris Paul versus Deron Williams in the conference finals, which is a matchup we all want to see (well, unless you happen to walk around town in a gold "24" jersey). I think Paul might finally get the better of the matchup individually, but Williams has better teammates -- so Utah rolls to the Finals in six.

Back East, I already gave away my Pistons-Magic projection -- Detroit in a grueling seven. Meanwhile, the Boston juggernaut will dismiss Washington in four. That sets up a much-awaited conference finals battle between Boston and Detroit. But I think Boston will win in five easier-than-expected games.

The Finals? Utah versus Boston.

The 2-3-2 format and Utah's dominance at home will keep things interesting for a while, but mostly it will allow the Celtics to celebrate a title on their home court after knocking off the Jazz in six.

Well, that's what the odds say, anyway. Now let's see what really happens.

Editors Note: Wow. I am not sure how much credit you can give the numbers, but I picked my NCAA bracket based on emotion and got slaughtered. I'm ready for the numbers to finally prove themselves and take the Utah Jazz all the way to the Finals. Then the numbers can go to hell as the Jazz beat Boston in 6!

Here are some other Jazz articles:
What If Sports has the Jazz as NBA Champions
CBS Sportsline "Experts"
AK-47 doesn't want the Jazz to start 0-2
Korver says the Jazz aren't overconfident


Scrumtrulescent said...

cautious optimism....

C.B. Jack said...

I know, I know. But it's just so hard...

Michael Scott: That's what she said.

Pick-n-Roll said...

C.B. Can you please buckle us up. It's go time.

moneyman memo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
moneyman memo said...

Speaking of buckle up, I just watched this highlight-clip of game 7 of last year's series against the Rockets...announced by Boler and Booner. Absolutely priceless dialogue at about 2:10 into this clip:

Boler: 40 ticks to play! Game 7, buckle up! If you've got a harness, throw it on!

Booner: Heh heh heh...I'm riding bareback, baby.

UofTOrange said...

Alright mofos, what's the bet?

Here's what I'm thinking:

Rockets win, The Dream Shake gets two posts at My Utah Jazz to say whatever we want, without going overboard of course. And we get to post a few pictures.

Jazz win, My Utah Jazz gets two posts at the Dream Shake to say whatever you want and a few pics as well.

All will be with descretion as to poor taste, but for the most part, I'm for whatever the other wants to say.