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Utah Jazz riding roller coaster of tough schedule and own inconsistency

Great teams rise above adversity, which the Jazz are sometimes doing.

NBA: Miami Heat at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

One of the dominating narratives currently circulating Utah is the brutal schedule the Jazz have had to face. It’s been beaten into our skulls from every source and angle. And it’s an absolutely justified narrative.

According to ESPN’s NBA RPI, the Jazz have the toughest strength of schedule in the NBA. The same calculation gives Utah an expected win/loss record of 15-14 against, so the team is off expectations by one game.

However, not all of Utah’s problems have stemmed from the NBA’s apparent hatred of seeing the Jazz have at least a decent schedule. The team’s own inability to maintain momentum from game to game has created a roller coaster of wins and losses.

Case in point, in the last two weeks alone, the Jazz have played the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat twice each. Utah has won and lost to both those teams in that span. The wins were by 34 and 27 points while the losses saw the Jazz give up a 20-0 run in an eventual two-point loss to Miami and a 13-point defeat at the hands of the Spurs.

The schedule has been brutal and Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra rightly called it “outrageous,” but the Jazz haven’t helped themselves by executing consistently night in and night out.

Utah’s 2018 first-round pick Grayson Allen is back with the team’s G-League, the Salt Lake City Stars. Allen, assigned to the Stars Dec. 5, spent three games with the team before being recalled Wednesday for Utah’s game against the Heat. He was re-assigned soon after the game and played in the Stars’ 109-97 win over the Northern Arizona Suns on Thursday.

In four games in the G-League, Allen has averaged 16.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 44 percent overall and 38.2 percent from three. On Thursday, the former Duke guard shot 4 of 13 from the field for 13 points and had five rebounds and four assists.

This isn’t strictly Jazz related, but current Bulls forward Jabari Parker was eyed by many fans as a potential free agent target last summer due to his offensive capabilities. So far this season however, his production on both ends has left much to be desired. That has led the Bulls to reportedly remove Parker from the primary rotation.

The Duke product is averaging 15.8 points — second highest total of his career — but currently has a career-worst effective field goal percentage of 49.1 (largely because of his 29.3 percent mark from three).

Christmas Day is fast approaching and with it, the first Christmas game for the Jazz in over 20 years.

It’s a small thing, but this kind of exposure is exactly the thing missing in Jazzland for years so don’t judge me too much when I get excited over seeing the Jazz in a national commercial like this one, even if it’s for a few seconds.

Here’s your daily reminder that Ricky Rubio is an exceptional human being, no matter what anyone says about his on court performance (good or bad).