The Utah Jazz are currently 32-19 (.627) on the season and are in sole ownership of the #4 seed in the #TryHard Western Conference. Utah hasn’t been as dominant at home as previous Jazz teams have been, you know back when they were playing in the Salt Palace or Delta Center. Times have changed. There’s no greater evidence of that than how Quin Snyder’s club is taking care of business on the road this season. The Jazz are 13-10 away from Utah. That shows growth. That shows maturity. That shows a team that can get the job done miles and miles away from whatever superstitious, security blankies that other Jazz teams needed. (Most likely high elevation, crazy fans, and facing teams who themselves were tired and on road trips.)
This Utah Jazz team is growing up. Especially on the road. They are heading out on the road again, this time only a three game sojourn. But still it’s one of five such trips on the remaining schedule. (N.B. 14 of their remaining 31 games are on road trips.)
How the Jazz finish on the road, starting with tonight’s @ Atlanta Hawks, @ New Orleans Pelicans, @ Dallas Mavericks trip will go a long way to determining if Utah has homecourt in the first round . . . or not. So win on the road now to earn the right to play at home when it matters most.
As a result, how have our Jazz fared so far this season when they are living out of suitcases?
A quick gander tells you that the Jazz, our Jazz, are 8-8 on road trips this year. That’s 50%. On the five game trips the Jazz have gone 4-1 and 2-3. There are no more five game trips left, but all of these games matter.
- FEB: @ Hawks, @ Pelicans, @ Mavericks - Atlanta fans just lost the Super Bowl, New Orleans could be making a trade, and Dallas is enjoying Yogi right now.
- FEB: @ Bucks, @ Wizards, @ Thunder - None of these games are going to be easy.
- MAR: @ Rockets, @ Thunder - Wanna make a statement? Handle James Harden and Russell Westbrook, on the road. Taking out two MVPs in a row means something.
- MAR: @ Pistons, @ Cavaliers, @ Bulls, @ Pacers - The last East road trip of the season (until the NBA Finals). TV Games. Exposure. Bigger Markets than Salt Lake all of them.
- APR: @ Trail Blazers, @ Warriors - POR and GSW could be resting / tanking here. It’s the second last game of the season for the Dubs in particular. Of course, if POR is going for it it’s not going to be fun at all.
Will our guys go 7-7 the rest of the way? Will they rise and become fearsome road warriors? Or will they regress towards being easy pickings outside of the mountains they call home?
Whatever they do, it starts tonight with a game against the Hawks. This first game will be that first step towards determining how this team finishes. I believe in them.