Utah Jazz 2013-2014 Schedule: January preview, December review

USA TODAY Sports

2013-2014 Game Streams: October + November, December, January, February, March, April
December Record: 7 - 9 (10% of the vote Back on Dec 2nd, 2013)
January Schedule: 12 games (Home 8, Road 4)

The Utah Jazz are 10-24 after their first Barkley of games this season. The first game of the 2014 calendar year is game #35 for our team, and should be a sufficiently good test of tanking ability. In fact, you could argue that the month of January 2014 is one of the best months in scheduled recent history. Utah will play only TWO sets of back-to-back games this month. And only one game will be the third game in four nights. This is a hard month for an LA team, but let's go back to November where the Jazz had six back-to-back sets and seven games qualified as being the third game in four nights. This month as scheduled is a piece of relative cake for us. I am sufficiently impressed -- not just with this month's slew of games, but moreso with the performance of the team over the last little while.

I was dead wrong back on December 2nd when I predicted that the Jazz would go 3-13 last month. They instead went 7-9, which is vastly better. I'm okay with being wrong though, as a fan you always like to see wins, no matter how alluring the NBA Draft is. The jazz did some crazy things last month. It started off with a 109-103 victory over the Houston Rockets at home (recap). Then within the first two weeks of the month Utah went out and won both games of a road trip, beating the Sacramento Kings 122-101 (recap), and then busting up the ailing Denver Nuggets 103-93. The first game was a great display of teamwork, and the second was probably more about Ty Lawson and Randy Foye having bad games than any true brilliance on our parts. The road warrior Jazz then went on a five game Eastern Conference road trip and beat the Orlando Magic in a tank-off (no Ay-Ay-Ron for that game) 86-82 (recap), and beat the Charlotte Bobcats 88-85 (recap) as well. Utah then defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 105-103 (recap) in an exciting game where Derrick Favors had the game winner. The last win we had was at home, against the same Bobcats a week later, 83-80 (recap).

Over these wins the total margin of victory has been, well, small:

Jazz wins Result Margin
1 Utah Jazz 109 vs Houston Rockets 103 Win 6
2 Utah Jazz 122 @ Sacramento Kings 101 Win 21
3 Utah Jazz 103 @ Denver Nuggets 93 Win 10
4 Utah Jazz 86 @ Orlando Magic 82 Win 4
5 Utah Jazz 88 @ Charlotte Bobcats 85 Win 3
6 Utah Jazz 105 vs Los Angeles Lakers 103 Win 2
7 Utah Jazz 83 vs Charlotte Bobcats 80 Win 3
Jazz Total 696 Opp Total 647 49
Jazz Avg 99.4 92.4 7.0

If you remove the Kings blowout the margin is only +4.7 points per game. Four of the wins were by less than 5 points. So a few lucky bounces, calls, and injures aside, perhaps this Jazz team is the team that I thought it was? Regardless of the wins (which were fun), the losses tell a more full picture of who this team is, but I'm not going to browbeat anyone about it. The good teams all kicked us to the curb early and often -- let's not forget losing to the Portland Trail Blazers by 32 points, and not being competitive for large stretches of our games against the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, and others.

But THIS month is going to be better, right? Of course it will. While it's hard to top a 7 win month for these Jazz (70% of our wins this season came last month), this might be even better.

Jazz_2013_2014_schedule_-_04_jan

Yup, looks much better especially when you factor in all the rest the team will be getting each week!

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Week 1: January 1st to 7th

Game #
Date Game
Wed Dec 1 2014
1 Thu Dec 2 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) vs Milwaukee Bucks (7 - 24)
2 Fri Dec 3 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) @ Los Angeles Lakers (13 - 19)
Sat Dec 4 2014
Sun Dec 5 2014
Mon Dec 6 2014
3 Tue Dec 7 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (25 - 6)

So the Jazz play the worst team in the league right now, while they are in the start of a three games in four nights Western Conference road trip. We could be the "trap" game for them, and they aren't winning a lot, but did win 2 of their last 5 games. Still, we're at home, and we should easily win this one. The Jazz then go back to LA to play the Lakers again. They are super hurt at PG right now, and they (right now) have lost 6 games in a row. Again, should be a win. The last game, after three nights of no games, is against the Thunder. I honestly don't even care just as long as we are healthy and had good teaching sessions in between.

I feel like the team should go 2-1 this week.

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Week 2: January 8th to 14th

Game #
Date Game
Wed Dec 8 2014
Thu Dec 9 2014
4 Fri Dec 10 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (10 - 21)
Sat Dec 11 2014
Sun Dec 12 2014
5 Mon Dec 13 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) vs Denver Nuggets (14 - 17)
Tue Dec 14 2014

Only two games this week, 2 nights off between the Thunder game and the Cavs, then another two nights off until we face the Nuggets. Lots of teaching this week. Hopefully winning too. The Cavaliers are a mess right now with all their injuries: we know about Andrew Bynum, but Kyrie Irving just had an MRI for his bruised knee. MRI was negative, but still, he's not at 100%. The Nuggets are also still missing Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee. I could see the Jazz winning both of these games, unless, you know, all the rest develops into rust for our young guys.

Jazz should go 2-0 here.

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Week 3: January 15th to 21st

Game #
Date Game
6 Wed Dec 15 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) @ San Antonio Spurs (25 - 7)
Thu Dec 16 2014
7 Fri Dec 17 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) @ Detroit Pistons (14 - 19)
8 Sat Dec 18 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) @ Minnesota Timberwolves (16 - 16)
Sun Dec 19 2014
Mon Dec 20 2014
9 Tue Dec 21 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (16 - 16)

Four games! The big deal is the three games in four nights road trip. The Spurs are better than us and I don't expect a win. The Pistons and Timberwolves should be better than us, and their records indicate as such. Utah could lose all of these games and break the mini-run they were on. If that's the case I'm not going to feel bad. These are schedule losses in a way. The game at home against the Wolves, though, should be much more competitive.

Still, I have the Jazz going 0-4 this week.

.

Week 4: January 22nd to 28th

Game #
Date Game
Wed Dec 22 2014
Thu Dec 23 2014
Fri Dec 24 2014
10 Sat Dec 25 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) vs Washington Wizards (14 - 15)
Sun Dec 26 2014
11 Mon Dec 27 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) vs Sacramento Kings (10 - 20)
Tue Dec 28 2014

Two more games after another three day "break" from games. Coaches better be putting in a lot of hours in non-game-playing development this month. We keep hearing about how that's more important than playing in games, so hope they do a good job with it. The Kings are just as bad as we are, and the Wizards are better but slightly banged up.

I give the Jazz a split here: 1-1

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"Week 5": January 29th to 31st

Game #
Date Game
Wed Dec 29 2014
Thu Dec 30 2014
12 Fri Dec 31 2014 Utah Jazz (10 - 24) vs Golden State Warriors (20 - 13)

One more game, and it's against a team playing at a high level. This is a loss.

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Prediction: Jazz go 5-7 this month, playing nearly .500 ball for a month is pretty good!

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