For Utah Jazz Fans, Playoffs Raise Expectations
It’s a sunny day in downtown Salt Lake and Ramiro Saavedra is beaming outside the Vivint Smart Home Arena box office after spending $170 for a ticket to the first home game of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals next Saturday.
The Utah Jazz will face the Golden State Warriors beginning tomorrow night for the second round of the NBA playoffs.
“It’s worth it, though,” Saavedra says of the steep ticket price. “We’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
The 23-year-old Salt Lake Community College student says as a longtime Jazz fan, this post-season has been especially rewarding.
“Yeah, this is the year — I feel like this is the year,” says Saavedra. “I’m so happy. I couldn’t even sleep, I’ve had dreams about the Jazz winning, I swear.”
The Jazz trounced the Clippers 104-91 in game 7 of the first round of the NBA playoffs on Sunday. It was their first playoff victory since 2010 and a roller coaster one at that — with star center Rudy Gobert struggling with an ankle injury and Gordon Hayward leaving a game early due to food poisoning.
“Making the second round this year gets us back on track," says Amar, who along with MychalLowman are managing editors of the popular fan blog and Twitter account SLCDunk. Amar prefers not to use his last name to avoid Internet trolls.
“This was a team that was supposed to be a 50-win team and win the division and they did both of those things," he says. "The playoffs were the cherry on top.”
Mychal says people have long written off the Jazz because it’s not a flashy team with megawatt players, but they still have plenty of depth.
“It’s not so much that they’re going to win this series, it’s that out of all the teams that are left in the playoffs, they probably have the most length on defense that is designed to be able to hamper and slow down the Warriors,” he says.
Amar and Mychal say a tight defense and a near perfect performance from all the Jazz starters will be necessary to hinder the Warriors, who are number one in their division.