Previous Schedule Previews: Full Season -- OCT+NOV -- Dec -- Jan -- Feb -- Mar -- Apr -- May
Previous Schedule Reviews: OCT+NOV -- Dec -- Jan -- Feb -- Mar -- Apr -- May
The Month that is:
- Total Games: 14
- Total Days: 31
- Home Games:8
- Road Games:6
- Longest Home Stretch: 3 games in 10 days
- Longest Road Stretch: 3 games in 4 days
- Games vs. West:7
- Games vs. East:7
- Back to Back Sets Remaining: 3 (@PHX/@DEN, @ATL/@DET, @LAL/vsIND)
- Three games in Four Nights: 6 (@DEN, vs DAL, @ DET, vs MIA, vs IND, vs HOU)
- Four games in Five Nights: 0
- Four games in Six Nights: 5 (vs DAL, @ DET, vs MIA, vs HOU, vs NOR)
- Longest Rest: 4 nights
This month has the Jazz never playing on Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday. Every Friday Night / Saturday Night is a double header, except for one -- which is at home with no travel the next night. So our weekends are work weekends. Five of our 6 road games are in the first two weeks (Friday, Saturday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) -- then the prevailing condition is long home stretches. Six of the last seven games are at home, and after the Detroit Pistons game the Jazz are in Utah from Sunday, January 13th till the 24th, have a game in LA, then fly back to Utah for another three games in a row (four, if we include the first game in February which is also at home).
This month, effectively, is the payback for our absolutely brutal 12 of 18 of our first games on the road. (Really, if you factor that back into the equation -- we're doing okay this year)
January Week 1:
- Wednesday, January 2nd: Minnesota Timberwolves vs Utah Jazz
- Friday, January 4th: Utah Jazz @ Phoenix Suns
- Saturday, January 5th: Utah Jazz @ Denver Nuggets
If the Utah Jazz are going to be returning to the NBA Playoffs these are the type of games we need to be winning. The first game, tomorrow, is the return of Andrei Kirilenko. Dude was amazing for us, and I hope we a) win, and b) give him the respect he deserves as a long lasting member of the Jazz -- from the Stockton and Malone days all the way to the last time we went to the Western Conference Finals. The Jazz turn around and play a road back to back set in Phoenix (who can beat us), and the back in Denver (who always seem to beat us there). This is a tough week -- but if we're going to make the playoffs we should win all of these games, even if it means going through Kevin Love, Goran Dragic, and Andre Iguodala. I don't know how well we'll do here, but I'd love it if we went 2-1. Tough, 1-2 is more likely as we don't know if Marvin Williams or Mo Williams are available.
January Week 2:
- Monday, January 7th: Dallas Mavericks @ Utah Jazz
- Wednesday, January 9th: Utah Jazz @ Charlotte Bobcats
- Friday, January 11th: Utah Jazz @ Atlanta Hawks
- Saturday, January 12th: Utah Jazz @ Detroit Pistons
The Mavs are back in town -- the last time we saw them here we beat their brains in. They have Dirk Nowitzki back, and he's always good for some bitter sweet memories. Anyway, Dallas is supposed to be better than we are. Today, for no reason, my brother saw Brian Cardinal at his local grocery store -- so I'm taking this as an omen -- we win this one. (My brother is a surgeon living in Dallas) The Jazz go on their longest road trip (3 games in 4 nights) of the month here -- but it's not like we're facing Boston, Miami, and New York or anything. This is the Bobcats, Hawks, and Pistons. Right now the Hawks are 19-10, but the other two squads are a combined 19-45. This is the return/revenge game for Marvin Williams in ATL. I'd love to see him have a good game. Devin Harris is also in the same situation for the Hawks. I can see the Jazz losing that game -- we usually do lose in Atlanta. I would expect the Jazz to go 2-3 on this road trip, and finish this week 3-4.
January Week 3:
- Monday, January 14th: Miami Heat @ Utah Jazz
- Saturday, January 19th: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Utah Jazz
No, I didn't forget any games this week -- it's really only two. A home game on Monday, and then a home game on Saturday. Just so your following along, this is about the same number of nights off as the All-Star Break. It's loo-ooong. Traditionally I think we stumble out of the blocks after a long rest, but we should use this to heal up, study film, have practice, and get better. I think we will. The game on Monday will be our last chance this year (until the NBA Finals) to beat the Miami Heat at least once this year. We've beaten them at least once for the past 3 seasons -- a feat that very few Western Conference teams have managed to equal. I can see the Jazz stepping up to the plate here to at least make it a non-blow out. We may lose the game, but we'll definitely be in a position to lose it, and not have the loss thrust on us. (E.g. We could actually win it too.) The second game this week is against the Cavs -- who aren't a great team but they have some very good players in Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, and uh . . . I guess C.J. Miles. It'll be Mas Fresco's return / revenge game. I hope he has a good game, he's a good dude. I also hope we kill the Cavs. We need more home blowouts -- we used to have like 10 a season. Conservatively I have the Jazz going 1-1 this month.
January Week 4:
- Wednesday, January 23rd: Washington Wizards @ Utah Jazz
- Friday, January 25th: Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers
- Saturday, January 26th: Indiana Pacers @ Utah Jazz
This is an interesting week for sure. The Jazz start off with playing the Wizards after having three games off from their last one, the Cavaliers last week. The Wizards aren't a great squad -- in fact -- they were one of the few teams we actually beat on the road back when we were a bad team. We're not a bad team anymore. So I expect to win this one. The Jazz fly off to play thew "new" new Lakers in LA on Friday Night. We are 2-0 against LA this season, but "nowsers" they are for reals. They have Steven Nash, Dwight Howard, and Kobe Bryant all playing at a high level, and together. I wouldn't be surprised to lose this game -- but now more than ever I'd also NOT be surprised to beat LA in LA. I think we've done it 3 of the last 5 times. Conservatively speaking let's call this a loss, if for no other reason than out of respect for the Lakers. The next night the Jazz host the Indiana Pacers at home. We got obliterated by the Pacers the last time we played them. A number of our starters checked out early and it seems like the only guy who was out there playing with something to prove was Alec Burks. I hope our team didn't forget the beating we took. It would suck if we did. This game could go any way. If we get beaten by LA I think the Jazz come into this focused. If they win in LA, then I think the Jazz drop this game to the Pacers. I want to temper some of the optimism here, so I'm saying we go 1-2 this week.
January Week 5:
- Monday, January 28th: Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz
- Wednesday, January 30th: New Orleans Hornets @ Utah Jazz
- Sunday, December 30th: Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Clippers
Yes, really, this is our entire month. Three and two game weeks are the norm. This week has us facing off against two rival-ish South Western teams. (And yes, I think the Hornets should be in the South East division, but whatevs...) The Houston Rockets beat us once and we beat them once. Jeremy Lin has been less than spectacular and there's ONE dude Randy Foye has defended well all season long: James Harden. Houston can still kill us if we don't mind their bigs (Patrick Patterson and Omer Asik) and forget that they all can hit threes. New Orleans is also a club that we've lost to and beaten. In the case of Houston we've played at their gym once, for the Pelicans both games have been in theirs. The new attitude, freshly rested, and home dominant should win both of these games. In fact, we should win these games by a combined margin of 26 points.
Amar's Prediction: 23-23 (8-6 in January)
I felt like the Jazz would be 16-16 after the month of December. We're not. We're 15-17. There are a few reasons for that, but over all, my prediction was off by one full game in the standings. It's not the end of the world. Let's move on. After all is said and done, the Jazz will be 23-23 overall to finish this month. Another solid month of February will follow, and we'll be back in the mix of things. We'll be a .500 team, but we'll be playing better, would have had a lot of rest and practice, and on our way up again.