This is an updated look at the NBA playoff picture and how it relates to the Utah Jazz.
What happened Friday
The Jazz took on a Memphis Grizzlies team that had lost 23 of its previous 26 games, but had won back-to-back games against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively. Memphis played the Jazz tight throughout, but sat Marc Gasol in the fourth quarter. Utah was victorious, 107-97, with Dante Exum and Donovan Mitchell combining for 43 points.
"The key for us was getting stops at the other end," Utah coach Quin Snyder said in the postgame press conference. "We had guys that were disciplined defensively and we got on the defensive glass."
It was a mixed bag of help for Utah in the Western Conference standings.
The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-102, while the Denver Nuggets snuck by the Oklahoma City Thunder 126-125 in overtime. No help was given by the Timberwolves, who squeaked by the Dallas Mavericks 93-92, or the Trail Blazers, who beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-96.
How this affects the Jazz
The win gave Utah a record of 43-33, which puts the team in the seventh position in the West.
The Western Conference playoff race continues to be ever-changing day to day. Four games separate the third seed from the eighth seed. The Pelicans (43-33) are tied with the Jazz, but Utah owns the tiebreaker. The Thunder (44-33), along with the Timberwolves (44-33), are a half-game ahead. San Antonio (44-32) was idle and is a full-game ahead of the Jazz. The Trail Blazers (47-29) are four games in front of Utah, after they sent the Clippers two games back of playoff contention.
With six more games remaining, FiveThirtyEight says the Jazz have a 90 percent chance of making the playoffs. The website also predicts Utah will win four of its final six games.
Remaining Jazz games
April 1 at Minnesota, 5 p.m. MDT
April 3 vs. L.A. Lakers, 7 p.m.
April 5 vs. L.A. Clippers, 7 p.m.
April 8 at L.A. Lakers, 4 p.m.
April 10 vs. Golden State, 7 p.m.
April 11 at Portland, 8:30 p.m.
Shane Reinhard is a graduate of Weber State University and a teacher and coach at St. Joseph Catholic High School in Ogden, Utah. Email: [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @hoopsters12.