The Utah Jazz finish this last stretch before Christmas with 5 games in 8 nights, each game on the road, but thankfully all in just two time zone. The Jazz start things off tonight playing in Miami, they got there yesterday so at least they all were responsible and spent the night in their hotel rooms reading quietly while listening to NPR. The rest of the trip looks like this:
|Monday||December||16||2013||Utah Jazz||(6-20)||@||Miami Heat||(17-6)|
|Wednesday||December||18||2013||Utah Jazz||(6-20)||@||Orlando Magic||(7-17)|
|Friday||December||20||2013||Utah Jazz||(6-20)||@||Atlanta Hawks||(12-12)|
|Saturday||December||21||2013||Utah Jazz||(6-20)||@||Charlotte Bobcats||(10-14)|
|Monday||December||23||2013||Utah Jazz||(6-20)||@||Memphis Grizzlies||(10-13)|
Yes. I know what you southern Jazz fans are thinking -- it's only 1,537 miles from arena to arena for each of these five games. It may be worth it to try (it's not like you guys have snow to deal with).
- The Miami game is tonight, and we have yet to find out if Dwyane Wade is playing or not. He seems to take certain games off by design. One of them could very well be the one against the second worst team in the NBA. (That would be us, for those of you who only listen to the radio and may not know that the emperor is naked.) It's also our third game in four nights. So that's always fun. To our credit, being healthy helps and we are playing much better. We do have a history of semi-success against the Heat. But they're still the Heat. They play defense and hit threes. We rotate on defense and are finally taking threes. Different class. But at least Michael Beasley and Greg Oden will for sure be out! Of course, Miami is 10-2 at home so maybe it doesn't matter who is playing and who isn't. They're just good. They have this LeBron James kid on their squad.
- Orlando should be a win-able game because they're just not very good. We're not either, but I think most of that is just record related. (We have good players and can be a good team; I don't think they can say the same) Orlando is about as healthy as we are (mas o menos) but Glen Davis (Big Baby) got his shoulder banged up a bit last night. There is more banging in his future as Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter will be in town, so hope he and Nikola Vucevic are ready to rumble. They are only 5-6 at home this season.
- Atlanta is a team of familiar faces with Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, et al (Pero Antic, I see you!). They always aim for the playoffs and are right in the mix of things in the Eastern conference. They have so many vets Tyrone Corbin may trade himself to his former team at halftime. The Hawks are an okay home team, but have had little success against Western Conference teams this year. They do have quality up and down their lineup. And let's not get ahead of ourselves, we're still the 2nd worst team in the league; and they are built for the playoffs.
- Charlotte should be a fun game because it's our first chance seeing Al Jefferson this year. We love Big Al. We love it when he expands his range and takes more jump shots. He's going to get a lot of chances to do that with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Brendan Haywood injured. Someone's gotta take those shots, might as well be Big Al. Well, it should be Big Al, but Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson will be taking more shots instead. Charlotte is an interesting team for sure. They are under .500, but that doesn't mean they aren't capable of beating the Jazz. At 10-14 they are #6 in the East this year. They would be #14 in the West.
- With Memphis we play a team in our own conference on this trip (hooray?), and they are not playing very well to start this season. They are only 10-13, but again, they'd be better than Charlotte if they played in the East. They have some hard luck right now with injuries. Quincy Pondexter (rotation wing) suffered a stress fracture in his foot last week, and will now be out for the rest of the season. Marc Gasol (the best guy on their team) sprained his MCL in November and is going to miss another few weeks. And last night Mike Conley got a thigh bruise -- but doesn't plan on missing any games. They are hurt. By the time we play them we'll be road weary. They are a better team, and our players will be looking for fresh underwear at this point in the trip.
A 3-2 trip isn't impossible. A 1-4 trip is more likely. What do you think?