Jazz Route 66 – January Review / February Preview

The Utah Jazz played 15 games this month, with the vast majority of them at home. The only road games were at the Golden State Warriors, at the Denver Nuggets, and at the Dallas Mavericks – and when the Jazz go 2-1 on the road you kind of expect them to be also capable of defending their home court. The Jazz did just that, only losing three games at home during the month. The three home loses were to the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and Toronto Raptors. In those losses there were three overtime periods, and the Jazz lost by a combined 11 points, or 3.7 points per; essentially free throws.

The Jazz would end up going 11-4 in a month that I had conservatively predicted we would go 7-8. That means the Jazz are up big against my predictions. Let’s take a look at February, and get to my predictions after the jump.

February Road map

January had the Jazz playing at home 12 times, and we won 11 total games in the month. One could chalk up a lot of those wins directly to playing at home. Astute NBA followers could also make arguments for other teams coming into Utah late, on the second night of back to backs, and playing without some of their better players. Of course, we just gotta say scoreboard. Eleven wins in fifteen games doesn’t happen by accident. February, on the other hand has the Jazz playing on the road 9 times in 15 games. More days (nights) are lost to travel and the benefit of sleeping in your own bed is lost. Also lost are all the practice times that our young team benefitted from early on last month.

Week 1:

The Jazz play at home, hosting the Los Angeles Clippers tonight. Then fly off to Golden State for yet another super late game. They end the week against the Los Angeles Lakers. Three games in four nights – all against California teams. Things are different this time around as the Clippers will have Chris Paul and Mo Williams back, and the Warriors will have Stephen Curry back as well. Our guards will be tested this week. And then after that we get our nemesis in the Lakers. Fun week to start this month off with.

Week 2:

Things start off with a back to back set in New York and Indiana, to face off against the talent high Knicks and team concept of the Pacers. Both of these teams are Eastern Conference playoff teams, and both will be tough games. Guys like Carmelo Anthony and Danny Granger can kill our defense. Also, both teams are anchored inside by super long bigs in Tyson Chandler and Roy Hibbert. We should expect for zone. The Jazz fly home and have two days off to rest for our first of three matchups with print and web darlings Oklahoma City neé Seattle. OKC is a great team with a lot of good young players. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Jazz go winless this week.

Week 3:

This is the week where we have our only back-to-back-to-back set of the season: at Memphis, at New Orleans, and then at Oklahoma City. Thankfully these teams aren’t super far from each other; but it’s not like it was as easy as Dallas/Houston/San Antonio though. The Jazz will have to travel every night, and most likely have Wednesday off. The Jazz will then face the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

Week 4:

This week features the All-Star break, yet somehow this season we still have to play three games in four nights: at Houston, vs. San Antonio, and at Minnesota. These are all going to be tough games, and it isn’t outside the realm of possibility for the Jazz to have only wins against the Golden State Warriors and the Washington Wizards at this point in the month. Of course, that’s me just being negative; but by reverses jinxing the Jazz last month we seemed to do pretty well. I’m not going to stop now. The big question still remains on if any of our guys will be going down to Orlando for the All-Star Break/All-Star Weekend.

Week 5:

The Jazz finish off the month with another back-to-back set, this time at Sacramento and then back home in Utah to face the hated Houston Rockets. And thus ends our crazy month of February – and leads into the even crazier month of March.

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Big Games:

  • Feb 1st, vs LA Clippers: this is a big game because it’s a chance to face off against a team we beat last month, but this time they’ll be a full strength
  • Feb 4th, vs LA Lakers: they treat us like little brothers, and until we kick their butts in our gym it will remain so
  • Feb 10th, vs Oklahoma City Thunder: they are the cream of the crop in the West, and will be a great measuring stick – particularly to see if our defense is really improved from last season
  • Feb 19th, @ Houston Rockets: the Rockets will present a significant challenge, especially in their gym. This is a game we should try to show up in – because we hate the Rockets.
  • Feb 29th, vs Houston Rockets: ditto.

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Fearful Prediction:

The Utah Jazz will go 5-10 this month.

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