For now, Utah Jazz is playing the game you’re waiting for. Soon, they will know who their first playoff opponent is.
The match for the first round of jazz will be decided on Friday night as a result of the final play-in tournament game. The winner of the night will be the eighth seed of the Western Conference and will play Utah in the first round series starting on Sunday.
What does each of the four teams that may face jazz bring to the play-in round?
7th place: Los Angeles Lakers
- Record: 42-30
- 2020-21 Record vs. Utah: 1-2
- LeBron James, Small Forward: 25.0 points, 7.8 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals per game.
- Anthony Davis, Power Forward: 21.8, points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals.
- Dennis Schroeder, point guard: 15.4 points, 5.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals.
Possibility to face jazz: Defending champions Lakers, who seriously injured stars James and Davis this season, are most likely to avoid Utah. They host the Warriors on Wednesday night, and the winner of the game will automatically win the 7th seed at the Western Conference and play the 2nd seed Phoenix Suns in the first round. After more than a month without a consecutive victory, Los Angeles has finished its regular season for five consecutive games. The Lakers also defeated the Golden State in two of the three meetings this season, including a two-game split in Los Angeles.
8th place: Golden State Warriors
- Record: 39-33
- 2020-21 Record vs. Utah: 2-1
- Stephen Curry, Point Guard: 32.0 points, 5.8 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 42.1% 3 points shooting rate.
- Andrew Wiggins, Small Forward: 18.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists.
- Kelly Oubre Jr., Shooting Guard: 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals.
Possibility to face jazz: The Golden State seems to be the most likely opponent of jazz in the first round after finishing Season 8 in the Western Conference rankings. The Warriors must start a play-in tournament against the Lakers. The Golden State, however, is in Hot Streak with a 9-8 to end the regular season. Curry, who leads the NBA in scoring this season, averaged 36.7 points in eight games during the stretch, including three games with over 40 points. The Warriors are also one of the four potential jazz first round opponents who had a record of victory over Utah.
9th place: Memphis Grizzlies
- Record: 38-34
- 2020-21 Record vs. Utah: 0-3
- Ja Morant, point guard: 19.1 points, 7.4 assists, 4.0 rebounds.
- Dillon Brooks, Small Forward: 17.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals.
- Jonas Valanciunas, center: 17.1 points, FG shoot rate 59.2%.
Possibility to face jazz: Grizzlies like San Antonio need to win two in the play-in phase just to play against Utah. Memphis, however, is stepping into the Spurs by hosting their game on Wednesday night. The Grizzlies lost 2-1 to San Antonio this year, the only Memphis defeat in the season opener. If Memphis progresses to face jazz, it can be an interesting series. Two of Grizzlies’ three defeats to Utah were 3 and 4 points, respectively.
10th place: San Antonio Spurs
- Record: 33-39
- 2020-21 Record vs. Utah: 0-3
- DeMar DeRozan, Small Forward: 21.6 points, 6.9 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 49.5% FG shoot rate.
- Dejounte Murray, point guard: 15.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.5 steals.
- Derrick White, Point Guard: 15.4 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 blocks.
Possibility to face jazz: The Spurs technically have a shot to get to the first round, but at this point it looks like a long shot. San Antonio has lost 10 of the last 12 games to end the regular season. Eleven of these games played against the playoff team and beat Milwaukee, the third seed in the east, alone. If the Spurs win two play-in wins and move on to the first round of Utah, there are a few things to do. Jazz has averaged 21.3 points ahead of San Antonio in three matches this season.
Utah Jazz: How likely are you to face jazz for each play-in team?
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