Okay, this is going to be a new, but evolving section where I attempt to go over the upcoming schedule for the month, look at some of the key games, and identify what our record ‘should’ be. As I said, this is going to evolve over time so what you see here isn’t exactly what you’re going to get for January or March. Anyway, let’s get to it. Here’s the schedule (and sorry for the color scheme, I made these before the new unis dropped, if I can remember correctly).
Playtime is over, all of these games count. Each of these games are against Western Conference foes who were all playoff teams last season. We only have one home game and – effectively – we’re not supposed to finish this month with a winning record. I think that isn’t going to happen, and that we’re finish October with something to be proud of and, more importantly, something to build upon.
Total games: 3
Home games: 1
Road games: 2
Total vs. West: 3
Total vs. West Playoff teams; 3
Back to back sets: 1
Nationally Televised Games: 2
All of them, so far. A win in October or November is worth as much as a win in March or April.
Wednesday, Oct 27th: Denver Nuggets
Players out: Chris Andersen, Kenyon Martin
Probable: Al Harrington, Nene Hilario, J.R. Smith
This is their big home opener and they’ll have their coach George Karl back. It will be emotional, especially since the Jazz knocked them out of the playoffs last season. Carmelo Anthony will be Carmelo Anthony even if he’s not going to finish the season with the Nuggets. Two of their more tattoo’d players will be out of action for this one. In their stead the Jazz will face off in the paint against Sheldon Williams and Al Harrington (remember David Locke talking about how great he was for those 2 days when it looked like we’d get him? Does anyone tire of Locke’s party line on everything?) We know that they can go on big runs in their building, but I don’t think that they have a size advantage over us. Harrington trying to guard Millsap and vice versa will be interesting to see. Harrington is an Odom type of player. In that I mean he is more of a face up forward who doesn’t shy away from perimeter shots. I wasn’t trying to suggest that they have similar tastes in women. Hopefully, at least. The nuggets didn’t play their best ball in the playoffs. We’re still without Mehmet Okur. I’m not expecting a blowout, but I am expecting a Jazz win here.
Thursday, Oct 28th: Phoenix Suns
Probable: Josh Childress game time decision vs. Portland (Tuesday)
We see the immortal legion of small forwards (think Achaemind Empire) out of the desert wasteland of Arizona this night. We’ve seen them twice before and handled them in the paint. Steve Nash will be playing his regular minutes and I expect to see more out of Turkoglu in this game as well. They are a dangerous team when they get out on the break. This game will be their first in a back to back set (they host the Lakers on Friday night). Perhaps they’ll be looking past us? I don’t know. I don’t care. We should take care of this team, even if they have one of the Lopez twins running wild in the paint disrupting shots. There are no excuses for a Jazz loss here.
Sunday, Oct 31st: Oklahoma City Thunder
Players out: Nick Collison
Probable: Nenad Krstic (?)
This is, really, the ONLY game this regular season where the Jazz are playing against the Thunder and it’s not ALSO the 3rd game in 4 nights for the Jazz. They have all the advantages of health and having had their core play together all last season. This will be the first big test for the Jazz and this is an October statement game, if there ever was one. Collison being out hurts them, perhaps, more than having Okur out hurts us. (After all, we played 10 playoff games without him) They are young, athletic, and the dah-lings of the NBA right now – without ever having won a playoff series. I’m not jealous of them, and I’m not saying that they aren’t going to be a good team. I just think that the way they moved their team and how they ‘got awesome’ are both pretty shady. (They ‘got awesome’ through years and years of consistently losing 45-50 games a season) In order to put these kids in their place the Jazz will need to win this game. I think they should. I like the idea of Raja and Millsap doubling KD and forcing him to pass the ball right into the passing lane that AK is cheating on. Will it happen? I don’t know. Jazz need to win this game to take some of the luster off of this team.
Jazz gotta take care of business by beating up on three flawed teams to start the season right. 3-0 !! (unless the universe hates me)