Operation 82: December

Now, this is late – the Jazz have already played three games. I guess if I had a job that did not involve me being at work all night long I’d have a more regular blogging schedule. Anyway, this is the continuing series of Monthly previews. (Hop in the time machine to read the previews for October and November, if you want)

So far we’ve won games against the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies, while falling against the resurgent Dallas Mavericks. It’s a good start on the W/L record, but the Jazz clearly aren’t playing at the high level that they were in November. Still . . . take a look at what we’re going to face this month:

Last Month Review:

I purposely reverse-jinxed the Jazz by saying that they’d go 9-7 in November in my last Operation 82 article. They responded with a remarkable 13-3 run that included demolishing the Eastern Conference; a string of impressive come from behind wins; and win streaks of 5 games and of 6 games each. It was not all roses though, as the Jazz went 1-2 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Lakers. Wins against struggling Eastern Conference teams in November rarely breeds confidence in the Western Conference Playoffs. Did you know that the Jazz record vs. the 7 other teams that would make the West Playoffs today stands at 3-5? (Well, you would if you followed me on twitter!)

Over all it was a great month. Especially when we were forced into playing 16 times in 30 days. This next month will bring its own specific challenges.

Overview:

  • Total Games: 14
  • Home Games: 7
  • Road Games: 7
  • vs. Western Conference: 9
  • vs. West playoff teams last season: 4
  • Back to back sets: 3
  • 3rd Game in four nights: 5
  • Longest Home Stretch: 5 games in 10 nights
  • Longest Road Trip: 4 games in 6 nights
  • Nationally televised games: 3

Big Games:

Saturday, Dec 11th: @ Dallas Mavericks

I would be remised if I did not mention that the game against the Mavs (that we lost at home on TV) was a pretty big game as two teams with 7 game win streaks were facing off against each other. It would only serve that the game on December 11th will be a ‘revenge’ type of game for the Jazz if they want payback. It’s always a funny situation as it’s a homecoming for Deron Williams and C.J. Miles as well. The team hasn’t won a lot in that building in recent history. The Jazz are 2-9 in Dallas since the 2004-2005 season. Compounding problems for this game is that it’ll be the 2nd night of a back-to-back set, and the 3rd night in four games for the Jazz. Also, um, it’ll be on NBA-TV. I don’t think we show up on that network that often. I would LOVE a win by our Jazz in this game, but I’m old enough not to ask for Christmas Presents early.

Revenge Game Alley:

Not to be confused with Kirstie Alley (warning: Hawwtt!), Revenge Game Alley is this crazy sequence where we play a number of teams we just beat last month. On Dec 8th the Jazz host the Miami Heat, whom the Jazz beat on Nov 9th. Then on Dec 10th the Jazz host the Orlando Magic, whom the Jazz beat on Nov 10th. On Dec 17th the Jazz visit the New Orleans Hornets, a team the Jazz beat at home on Nov 24th. The next night, Dec 18th, the Jazz visit the struggling Milwaukee Bucks – a rematch of the Jazz victory on Nov 29th. Wow, that’s a lot of revenge / rematch games. Sure it. But that’s not even all of them. The Jazz face the Portland Trailblazers twice this month, Dec 27th and Dec 30th, rematches of the Jazz victory on Nov 20th. Lastly, the Jazz go face the Los Angeles Clippers again, on Dec 29th, a rematch of a game the Jazz won on Nov 6th. That is a substantial list of teams we’ve faced before. Hopefully the Jazz will get a chance to ‘avenge’ some of their losses as well as they’ll get a crack at the Golden State Warriors this month as well, Dec 13th. The Jazz suffered a bad loss on their court on Nov 5th.

Wednesday, Dec 22nd: @ Minnesota Timberwolves

In a month full of games against Dallas, Eastern Powers, and broken down West teams why am I picking this one? This is the first time that Al Jefferson will play in ‘Sota after the trade that sent THE KOOF to the frozen northlands. It is the last game on a four game road trip – and the last game before the unofficial NBA Christmas Holidays. Hopefully Al can gift us a great performance. The Timberwolf fans are great fans. This will be a good game, especially since Kevin Love will be challenging out guys to every board.

Monday, Dec 27th vs Portland Trailblazers and Thursday, Dec 30th @ Portland Trailblazers

Like it or not, we can still lose to this team – and we shouldn’t take them lightly. Wesley Matthews is doing great things, and they are still big and tall inside – if not stiff and brittle. The roadie is the 2nd night of a back-to-back set and the 3rd game in four nights. I’d love to see the Jazz win both games over the Blazers at the cost of losing in Dallas, rather than the alternative. Losing to a good team on their court isn’t something to be sad about. Losing 2 games to inferior competition, on the other hand, would be.

Prediction:

I have the Jazz going 7-7 this month. We’re not playing great, and we have a long road trip. A dip in December will be even more pronounced when we get Mehmet Okur back (hopefully) next month and all of our problems magically disappear. What do you guys think?

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