The second seed in the West (technically tied with the Nuggets) is not the Clippers. Or the Mavericks. Or the Rockets.
It is the Utah Jazz, now 27-12, having won nine in a row and 14 of their last 15 (though only one of those wins came against a team above .500).
The Jazz have, during this stretch, regained their darkhorse status as a potential Western Conference Finals contender, and will get at least one All-Star rep (Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are both worthy) in February.
This cycle -- to start very slow then churn out wins around midseason, only to be dispensed by a more serious contender -- is also turning into an annual occurrence in Salt Lake:
Salvaged season with: a 29-6 run to end the season, finishing with a 48-34 record
Playoffs: Beat OKC in six, lost in five games to the Rockets in the second round
Salvaged season with: a 32-12 run to end the season, finishing with a 50-32 record
Playoffs: Lost in the first round in five games to the Rockets
Salvaged season with: a 14-1 run that’s still alive
Playoffs: We shall see
Will this year be any different? Should Mitt Romney book his NBA Finals trip?
Probably not, but the growing pains were shorter this time around, plus Bojan Bogdanović (350,000-Club member, 21 points per game) is a nice addition, and Mike Conley, though struggling, is a playoff-tested guy.
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