The Utah Jazz are, historically, a great home team. Even in the worst seasons you can't schedule an easy time in the 801 if you are the visitors. The inverse is also, sadly, true; when the Jazz are on the road you almost feel like they are bound to lose. That's been the case with a young Jazz team led by 20-somethings John Stockton and Karl Malone, and it's been the case with everything since then. Only rarely have the Utah Jazz been road warriors.
So far this season the Jazz are 0-2 on the road, with losses at the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers. This week the team treks out East to face the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, and Toronto Raptors -- a handful of teams in the span of just a week:
|Game Date||Opponent||Seed||Home Record|
|1||Sunday||Nov||9||2014||@||Detroit Pistons||(2 - 3)||East 9||2 - 1 at home|
|2||Monday||Nov||10||2014||@||Indiana Pacers||(1 - 6)||East 14||1 - 3 at home|
|4||Wednesday||Nov||12||2014||@||Atlanta Hawks||(2 - 3)||East 11||2 - 0 at home|
|6||Friday||Nov||14||2014||@||New York Knicks||(2 - 5)||East 13||1 - 2 at home|
|7||Saturday||Nov||15||2014||@||Toronto Raptors||(5 - 1)||East 1||3 - 0 at home|
So it's two sets of back-to-backs, with a single game in-between. Travel time-wise, Indy and Detroit are about 35 mins in the air away. And The Big Apple and the Big Maple are about 45 mins in the air away, but there's that whole customs procedure that has to take place. Still, that Toronto game is as a schedule loss as possible with it being the second night of a back-to-back, the third game in four nights, the fourth game in six nights, and the fifth game in seven nights -- against an undefeated home team that's the best in their conference.
I think that the Jazz will go 2-3 on this road trip, with wins against Indy and New York. I'd love to be wrong, but the Hawks are much stronger than their record indicates, and were a playoff team last year. And Toronto's game is just a no-win situation.
The rubber match is the first one, in Detroit. From what I saw against some of the best of the West, I am worried about our defense. Time will tell if our collective worries were worth it, though. If Utah can win that game, it could open up a whole world of hurt for the East.
I'm just not that confident -- even though guys like Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks should have a field day against their wings. Maybe this Michigan return is what Trey Burke needs to get back into form? He had a 20-10 game last time he played in the Palace of Auburn Hills?
Road games. Road trip. Lots of games. And our team is historically not one to go out there and win on the road. I'm sticking with the optimistic 2-3.