The Utah Jazz have officially clinched a playoff berth.
The Jazz became the first team in the NBA to be guaranteed a top-6 finish and a spot in the postseason, thanks to the Portland Trail Blazers’ loss to Memphis on Sunday afternoon.
The Jazz (44-16) have had a grip on the West’s No. 1 seed for most of the season. Currently, the team holds a two-game lead over the second-place Phoenix Suns.
With 12 games left on their schedule, head coach Quin Snyder and his squad know the work isn’t done.
“There isn’t a lot settled, whether it’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,” Snyder said over the weekend.
But securing a top-six spot is especially important this season.
The NBA has changed its playoff format this year, adding a play-in competition for the final two playoff spots in each conference. Teams in the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th places will have to play at least one additional game after the conclusion of the regular season to earn a playoff berth. The seventh- and eighth- place teams will have to win one game to secure their playoff berths. The teams in ninth and 10th place would have to win two consecutive games to get in.
That’s a wrinkle that could have teams such as the Jazz waiting, wondering and scouting a wide range of possible opponents at the end of the season.
“As that stuff does solidify, that’s a good point,” Snyder said. You’ll have to try to prepare for more teams. That's a challenge that I think every team is going to face. It requires more people working in conjunction with one another.”
This is the fifth straight year Snyder has led the Jazz to the postseason.
Information regarding playoff ticket sales will be released at a later date.