The league-leading Utah Jazz, at 44-16, became the first team in the league to seal their berth in the 2021 playoffs. They clinched their spot courtesy of the result from Monday's early game in Portland, where the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Portland Trail Blazers 120-113.
That final score meant that even in the unlikely worst-case scenario that the Jazz lose the rest of their games while both the Grizzlies and the Trail Blazers win their remaining contests to all be tied at 44-28, Utah will finish as the higher seed by virtue of owning the tiebreaker against both franchises.
Therefore, under that highly unlikely forecast, Utah will finish no lesser than sixth seed, which is the highest guaranteed spot with the existence of the Play-In tournament.
🔓 𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐘𝐎𝐅𝐅𝐒 𝐂𝐋𝐈𝐍𝐂𝐇𝐄𝐃 🔒#TakeNote | @ZionsBank pic.twitter.com/wmFxaApOxN- utahjazz (@utahjazz) April 25, 2021
This will be the team's fifth-straight postseason appearance, the second-longest in franchise history and longest since their 20-year streak from 1984 to 2003, which is the third-longest in NBA history.
Their 44-16 start to this season, coming off an agonising Game 7 defeat to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2020 playoffs, includes three nine-game winning streaks, a 20-1 stretch, and a franchise-best 24-game home winning streak.
In addition, for just the second time in franchise history and the first since the 1988-89 season, the franchise sent three players to the All-Star game in Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley Jr.
If the Jazz hold on and finish with the best record in the league, currently holding a two-game lead over the Phoenix Suns and the LA Clippers, they will achieve that feat for only the second time in franchise history and the first since 1998 when they last made the NBA Finals.
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