When the Utah Jazz traded All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell over the summer, just about everyone expected them to be a bad team that had nothing to play for other than a shot at drafting Victor Wembanyama.
But they won 10 of their first 13 games, which raised eyebrows across the NBA and made observers wonder if they could actually be very competitive throughout the season.
Now, the Jazz have lost three games in a row, and it appears there are real cracks in their armor.
At 10-6, they still hold the third-best record in the Western Conference, but it is starting to look like perhaps making the playoffs outright isn’t an iron-clad lock for them.
Yes, reality is slowly starting to set into the Jazz.
Utah Is Losing Games It Should’ve Won
On Saturday, after a 125-119 win over a dangerous Atlanta Hawks team, the Jazz went to our nation’s capital to take on the Washington Wizards, who have been surprisingly competitive themselves but look inferior on paper.
Many probably figured the Jazz would win this contest without too much difficulty, but instead, they fell to Washington, 121-112, as Kristaps Porzingis tossed in 31 points.
Then came a trip up I-95 to play the struggling Philadelphia 76ers, who have been without James Harden because of a foot injury.
Utah allowed Joel Embiid to go into volcano mode to score 59 points on 19-of-28 shooting, and it failed to reach 100 points for the first time this season, leading to another loss.
Two nights later, the Jazz lost 118-111 to a New York Knicks team that few expect to reach the postseason.
The Cinderella Utah Jazz suffer their first home loss of the season to a team who just had their most embarrassing performance in a calendar year and hadn’t beaten a team over .500 all season. Just another night in the NBA.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) November 16, 2022
What Is Next For The Jazz?
Utah’s current slide could continue, as their schedule for the rest of November is filled with obstacles.
It will play the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers twice, as well as the Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers, and Golden State Warriors.
If Will Hardy’s men can’t rediscover what made them hot a few weeks ago, they could find themselves near .500 not too long from now.