Utah Jazz 2012 Schedule – Route 66 February Review and March Preview

We’ve been doing this every month if you’ve been following along, starting here, and going on here; and here. So now we’ve come to another months end, and the hope of a great month to wash away all the losing. I did not for one minute believe the Jazz were a super team, they won in January because a lot of games were at home, and we played a lot of teams that were playing poorly (for whatever reason). In February this did not continue. No, In February the Jazz went 4 and 11. I predicted that the Jazz would go 5-10, so even me, Mr. Dour, was wrong. Last month the Jazz went 4-11. I call that crashing back down the earth.

At least Jeremy Evans, he who is unaffected by gravity, gave us something to be happy about . . . for a few days . . .

March Road Map:

If that is hard to read, click on this for the full-sized. Opens in a new window.

January was fool’s gold. I knew it. And beyond that, we all knew the schedule was going to turn against us at some point. And it did. It did in Feb where we had 15 games, 9 of which were on the road. Well, March has 19 games, and 12 of them are on the road. Oh yeah, in case you forgot, we’re a bad road team. We have 3 road wins in 15 tries. I’d rather have Kyrylo Fesenko at the free throw line than expect us to win on the road. At the rate we’re currently going at, in a grand total of 33 road games this year we’re going to win less than 7 of them (6.6). You’re not a contender if you win 6 road games in a year. Sorry Kevin O’Connor – you may be smarter than us, but we’re not dumb.

But that’s a tangent . . .

In March the Jazz will play 19 games in 31 nights. Only 7 are at home, and those home games will be against the: Miami Heat (NBA Finalist), Detroit Pistons (we lost to them in Detroit last year), Minnesota Timberwolves (lost to them a few days ago), Golden State Warriors (lost to them last month), and the Sacramento Kings (lost to them a few days ago). Our home games are against teams at our level or above. On the road, well, we’re going to be on the road a lot.

The Jazz have two long-ish road trips this month. The first starts after tomorrows game against the Heat, where the Jazz will fly out tomorrow night to face the Dallas Mavericks (NBA Champs) on Saturday. Then the Jazz will fly to play the Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Bobcats, Philadelphia 76ers, and Chicago Bulls before returning home. It’s five road games in 8 nights. It’s also over 5,600 miles – you can follow along by car if you want with this set of directions from google maps.

We aware that this route has tolls.

The second road trip is in the last week of the month and is only three games long: Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets, and Boston Celtics. It’ll be fun. Only two of those teams are playoff teams. Unlike the previous road trip through three contenders.

It’s going to be a tough month. But hey, if our team is currently built for success now then we’ll see some success. If our team is built to lose games and mismanage very expensive youth then we’ll find that out as well. By the way, did you know that #3 Draft pick Enes Kanter, #3 Draft pick Derrick Favors, #9 Draft pick Gordon Hayward and #12 Draft pick Alec Burks are making a combined $13.1 million dollars this season, which is more than the combined salaries of the rest of the team, not including Al Jefferson, Devin Harris, and Paul Millsap? These aren’t cheap rookie deals anymore like we’re used to from hoarding 2nd rounders, these are expensive lotto picks who play, on average, 18 mpg on a team where Raja Bell plays 24.4 and Josh Howard plays 22.1 mpg . . . but that’s another tangent. Excuse me.

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Week 1 & 2:

The Jazz start things off tomorrow night hosting the Miami Heat; then fly to Dallas for the second part of their back to back set. The Jazz will have an off-day and then tip off against the Cleveland Cavs, before flying to Charlotte to face the Bobcats, with another off-day in between. The next leg of the trip is another back-to-back set, facing Philly on the 9th, and then the Chicago Bulls on the 10th. I think the Jazz have a chance to win up to two games over the course of these two weeks. Six games in nine days, and two wins. Best Case: 2-4

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Week 3:

This week is a lot better, with only one road game, and three home games. Game 1 is hosting the Detroit Pistons on March 12th. Then we have an off day and fly to Phoenix to face the Suns, before flying back to face the Minnesota Timberwolves (on the 15th), and the Golden State Warriors (on the 17th). This Week 3 is a little easier, but I still see the Jazz having a hard time. The Utah with the "swag" from January could win all of these games. But I’m saying the Jazz drop some that we shouldn’t. I say we get two wins. Best Case: 2-2

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Week 4:

The fourth week in March has the Jazz playing on the road in LA against the Lakers in the second game of a back to back (previous game was hosting the Golden State Warriors). That should be a loss. Then we host the Oklahoma City Thunder. Another loss. Then a road game in Sacramento – we can lose this too. Then the Denver Nuggets come to down for the second night of a back-to-back, the 3rd night in four games, and the 5th night in 7. They’ll also probably be in town before the Jazz are. Loss. I have four losses here, but I’ll be gentle. Best Case: 1-3

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Week 5:

The Last week of the month has the Jazz going on another road trip. Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics . . . we should win ONE of those games, right? Then another home game against the Kings, a win we hope. Our owner and front office paid for this second Kings home game in the schedule – we were supposed to only host them once this year. The rest of this messed up March is a result of that. And then a road game the very next night against the LA Clippers, loss. Simple, right? Best Case: 2-3

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Big Games:

  • March 2: vs. Miami Heat – because we’ll get to see some heat jerseys in the ESA
  • March 3: @ Dallas Mavericks – because Roddy B’s agent has this game circled on his calendar
  • March 12: vs. Detroit Pistons – because this game will be on TV where I am
  • March 14: @ Phoenix Suns – because this may be the last time we play Steve Nash as a member of the Suns
  • March 15: vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – because this would be a nice time for Paul Millsap to start playing well again.
  • March 22: @ Sacramento Kings – because of Jimmer time!
  • March 23: vs. Denver Nuggets – because this will be the 3rd and last time we see them this year
  • Match 26: @ New Jersey Nets – Devin Harris revenge game.
  • March 30: vs. Sacramento Kings – Jimmer time x2 this month!

Fearful Prediction

The best case scenario I have is the Jazz going 7-12 this month. Because I’m an optimist (I really am if you met me in real life, blogging about the Jazz has turned me into a realist though), I always love to work back from what is reasonable – and I think the best case scenario is reasonable. But I have to apply the conditionals. Do I feel like our team is playing well or not? Last month I felt like the Jazz would go 5-10, and they ended up going 4-11. So even with my very low bar the Jazz failed to meet my standards. That’s a strike right there. Also the Jazz haven’t fixed any of their defensive problems – and in two games this season against the worst defense in the league they have failed to crack 100 points. And they play that same team two more times this month. Furthermore, the Jazz play on the road 12 times, and there are so many back to back sets (7), and third game in four nights sets (13) that I can’t support the best case scenario. All these modifiers give the Jazz a "-2" rating.

I think the Jazz go 5-14 this month.

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