Jazz Route 66 – December Review / January Preview

Whopping four games this last month, and three butt whippings. It really sucks that the month ended on a Sunday because it just looks like spam now, because I’m trying to put things out on time. Well, during a regular month I’ll recap the most important things that happened: important games, transactions, trades, rotation changes, injuries, and of course, our continuing record. There are only 66 games this year, hence the name.

More Jibber-Jabber about December and a preview of January after the jump . . .

My prediction

I thought the Jazz would finish December 1 – 3, and it actually happened. How unlikely is that? I figured that we’d beat Denver and lost to Philly, but the opposite happened. Still, three butt kickings and a solid homegame that we failed to build off of. December sucked, and in a way, 2011 was really a bad year for the Jazz. I am glad it is over . . .

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Next on the Roadmap . . .

Is the wonderful month of January. We play 12 games at home and 3 on the road (15 total).

The BEST thing about this month is the dearth of home games. WE have a three game home stretch; a game away, another three game home stretch; a game away; a four game home stretch; a game away; and then another home stretch to end the month. The lack of travel days, and number of two days off between games (4 times this month) mean that the Jazz can schedule more practices, video sessions, and independent work out sessions for players. This is why I always suggested that January was going to be our preseason training camp. We’re going to learn a lot about our team this month, and our team will learn a lot about what we’re trying to do. Coaches will make smarter rotation changes. Players will develop chemistry with one another. And, who knows, we may even seen Alec Burks play more than 6.0 mpg this month!!???!!!

January’s ease is absolutely necessary; as we look bad right now, and because we need to get this stuff in now, because the rest of the season will have way less time for practice / way less home games. If the Jazz coaches eff up January then our entire season is toast. Forget playoffs, I did months ago; I mean in terms of doing something good during that critical period in a young player’s NBA development to give them training, teaching, a comfort zone, and then confidence. That has to happen now, because it’s not going to happen in February when we’re on the road and travelling every other day.

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Key Games:

The first Key game is the game at home tomorrow hosting the New Orleans Hornets. Not because it’s the first game of collective Post-Deron Williams / Post-Chris Paul eras; it’s a big game because they have Chris Kaman and Emeka Okafor. The Lakers didn’t have Andrew Bynum when we played them. The Nuggets only had Nene. The Spurs are a bigman away from being a true contender. And Spencer Hawes isn’t going to make you think he’s Mutombo out there. New Orleans has some legit bigs who should, and will, test ours. We usually beat them, but this year it’s going to be a challenge – especially with how we are playing right now. This game will also be our 3rd game in 4 nights.

The next big game is the home game against Cleveland on the 10th. We all felt pretty happy after beating up on them last year at home, if you are buying tickets to see the Jazz this is the game you want. They don’t seem to be that much better than last year, and we’re a lot worse. Triple overtime NBA classic in the making. Also the next game the Jazz play some non-Lob City team from LA.

The game on January 14th is a home game hosting the New Jersey Nets – which is like a home game for the visitors as well. It’s on NBA-TV, so I’m making space on my DVR already for bad commentators.

The last key game of this month is on January 30th against Portland. They are our rivals (more so than the wolves would be), and we faced them twice already (in the preseason). They should be the measuring stick for us all season long, as a young-ish team (kinda) who made the playoffs last year.

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Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, I guess there’s that whole Jimmer Fredette thingy two nights earlier, that’s also on NBA-TV. We better win that game, but I fail to see who can contain Tyreke Evans and their three point shooting phenomenon.

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Fearless Prediction:

The Jazz will go 7 – 8 this month. But the long term gains will help us more than our record will.

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