March Schedule Look Ahead

February 29th, 2016 | by Lucas Falk
 AP Photo/Steve Dykes

AP Photo/Steve Dykes

Another month down in the NBA season so it’s time to take a look at the March schedule to make some predictions.

@ Toronto (3/2)

The Raptors are nipping at the heels of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Kyle Lowry has been playing phenomenally. In the month of February, Lowry averaged 23.6 points and 6.9 assists per game. Toronto is one of the best three point shooting teams in the league, making 36.6 percent from downtown. This is one Utah is expected to drop.

Prediction: Raptors win

@ Memphis (3/4)

When the trade deadline approached, the Grizzlies were one of the most active teams. They shipped Courtney Lee to the Hornets and acquired Chris Andersen from the Heat, then traded Jeff Green to the Clippers for Lance Stephenson. Later, it was announced Marc Gasol was done for the year. The Grizzlies will still be in the playoffs, but they won’t be the team we’ve come to know.

Prediction: Jazz win

@ New Orleans (3/5)

Utah rolls into New Orleans on the second night of a road back-to-back. Eric Gordon finally returned from injury for the Pelicans and scored a season-high 31 points. Anthony Davis is finally playing like the MVP candidate the world thought he would be. I could be wrong, but my gut is saying the Pelicans pull it off.

Prediction: Pelicans win

vs Atlanta (3/8)

What gives, Atlanta? You had a chance to trade Jeff Teague to the Jazz, but you were too greedy. Things could have been much simpler for both teams if you would have done so. But Utah did pry Shelvin Mack from the Hawks and he’s played quite nicely. The Hawks still have a ton of incentive to play well, if they want to have a shot at resigning Al Horford this offseason.

Prediction: Hawks win

@ Golden State (3/9)

The more I watch Steph Curry play, the more I believe he is not from our planet. The Jazz have shown a propensity to struggle against elite point guards and Curry is the most elite of them all. With the Warriors continuing to chase history, the Jazz will be another notch in Golden State’s belt.

Prediction: Warriors win

vs Washington (3/11)

The last time Utah and Washington met was the first game back after the All-Star break and the Jazz came out flat. I can’t imagine the Jazz having a similar performance as Snyder should make the necessary adjustments to get the team ready.

Prediction: Jazz win

@ Sacramento (3/13)

Currently, the Kings are just 3.5 games back from Utah for the ninth spot in the West. Unfortunately, the also have enough instability as an organization from top to bottom that things could get toxic fast if they lose a couple of games. The Jazz know they’ll face Cleveland the following night so they can’t afford to drop this game, considering that Cleveland might be a scheduled L for them.

Prediction: Jazz win

vs Cleveland (3/14)

LeBron. James. The Jazz simply don’t have an answer defensively for King James and, as mentioned earlier, the Raptors are catching up with the Cavs for top seed in the East. Cleveland will want home court throughout the the Eastern Conference playoffs so they’ll be motivated to get a W. Both teams will be coming off a back-to-back so fatigue may be an issue.

Prediction: Cavaliers win

vs Phoenix (3/17)

The Phoenix Suns have been nothing short of a mess this season. After a tumultuous first half of the season, the team fired Jeff Hornacek as their head coach and it’s been a dumpster fire ever since. In a month where the Jazz face Golden State twice, this is a game Utah cannot afford to lose.

Prediction: Jazz win

@ Chicago (3/19)

The Bulls have been sputtering as of late, losing seven of their last 10. Of course this is due to their best player, Jimmy Butler, being on with a knee injury. By this time, Butler should have returned and play a couple of games. Having shaken off the rust, Butler and the Bulls should redeem themselves from the OT loss the had against the Jazz in Salt Lake City.

Prediction: Bulls win

@ Milwaukee (3/20)

The Bucks are a bottom three team in the East, but if they were in the West they’d actually be closer to a playoff spot. Unfortunately, Milwaukee doesn’t have a lot of outside shooting thanks to Michael Carter-Williams. Jabari Parker has played well as of late, but I don’t think the team as a whole has enough offense to stretch the Jazz defense.

Prediction: Jazz win

@ Houston (3/23)

There one could go either way, but I’m being optimistic. It’s possible by this date the Rockets will have imploded and begun to attack one another. But it’s also possible that James Harden’s offensive skills will have willed Houston into staying in contention for a playoff spot. I view this as a toss up and hoping the Jazz can pull it off.

Prediction: Jazz win

@ Oklahoma City (3/24)

Another road back-to-back for Utah and this one won’t end well for Jazz fans. Despite a heart breaking loss to the Warriors at home in OT, the Thunder proved once again that they can hang with the best. The scoring duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant cause matchup nightmares for almost any team, Utah included. Jazz point guards will struggle to contain Westbrook and Durant’s size and scoring ability will be too much for Utah’s wings.

Prediction: Thunder win

@ Minnesota (3/26)

In two years, a matchup between the Timberwolves and the Jazz could be a high profile playoff series. For now, Minnesota continues to develop its talent, while letting Sam Mitchell hang around for the rest of the season. This is a game where Utah’s experience really needs to shine through against a team filled with star potential.

Prediction: Jazz win

vs Los Angeles Lakers (3/28)

This is a game that the Jazz should be favored in, which is why I would mark this down as another must-win for the Jazz. If Utah wants to stay alive in the playoff race, it has to take the “gimmes.” The Jazz cannot afford another defeat like the one Brooklyn handed them.

Prediction: Jazz win

vs Golden State (3/30)

See notes from 3/9.

Prediction: Warriors win

March record: 8-8

Alright, bring me your hate. Let me know how wrong I am.

Lucas Falk
Lucas Falk is a basketball junkie from Salt Lake City. Lucas is an alumnus of both Olympus High School and the University of Utah, where he earned a degree in Economics. Lucas is also a proponent of doing a reboot to the film "White Men Can't Jump." He can be found on Twitter @Lucaswfalk.
Lucas Falk
Lucas Falk

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  1. LKA says:

    Have a feeling Jazz wil beat Boston tonight. Also I think they beat pellies as Davis might be out.

  2. Matt says:

    5-11. That is a tough stretch of games and UTA is proven to be a mediocre team. Exum better be something special . . .

    • Diggin' It says:

      I estimated 49 wins before Exum went down. That estimation was made assuming everybody else would be healthy. I didn’t expect Trey Lyles, Raul Neto, or Rodney Hood to be playing like they are.

      So, I think if the Exum-less squad stayed healthy all year, they would be a 53 win team and 4th seed in the west. Remember last November, the Burks/Hood/Hayward/Favors/Gobert lineup had the best net rating among 5-man units in the league.

      • Matt says:

        Oh, I agree there is potential. I guessed 47 Ws even after Exum went down. Certainly all of the injuries have contributed to the poor record. But even missing Exum and Burks, should a “playoff team” go 2-6 over the last 8? Hayward, Favors, and Gobert are really good but they’re not good enough drag a mediocre roster to the 8th seed in a weakened WC. Getting Exum and Burks back will help a lot but I’m having a hard time seeing this squad ever advancing beyond the first, maybe, second round.

  3. Paul Johnson says:

    I hate to be a “Debbie Downer,” but it would not be unreasonable to see the Jazz going 5-11 in March, if they continue to play the way they have been playing the last week or two.

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