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Utah Jazz Eastern Conference Road Trip #3 Preview and Predictions: Charlotte, New York, Brooklyn, and Washington D.C.

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Charlotte, New York, Brooklyn, and Washington D.C. . . . four games Utah should win.

Al Bello/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz start their third of six major road trips in the 2015-2016 season this week. They will face the Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Washington Wizards, four games over six nights. This is a less hectic road trip than many others in recent Jazz history. Or even compared to the other road trips this season, this one is scheduled at a much leisurely pace. To start the season the Utah Jazz played @ Detroit Pistons, @ Philadelphia 76ers, and @ Indiana Pacers -- three games in four nights. Later on in November the Jazz played @ Cleveland Cavaliers, @ Miami Heat, @ Orlando Magic, and @ Atlanta Hawks. That was also four games in six nights; however, it was more difficult than normal because the team lost players to injury as the road trip went on. This time around the team is actually getting healthier and I would not be surprised to see long lost starter Derrick Favors make a return to the court!

But before we get there, let's look at this road trip!

Road Trip 03 CHA NYK BKN WAS

  1. Sunday: Fly to Charlotte, North Carolina
  2. Monday: Utah Jazz (18-22) @ Charlotte Hornets (18-22), fly to New York after the game
  3. Tuesday: Night in New York #1
  4. Wednesday: Utah Jazz (18-22) @ New York Knicks (20-22), Night in New York #2
  5. Thursday: Night in New York #3
  6. Friday: Utah Jazz (18-22) @ Brooklyn Nets (11-30), fly to Washington after the game
  7. Saturday: Utah Jazz (18-22) @ Washington Wizards (19-20)

Okay, so the back-to-back set is at the end of this trip, Friday and Saturday. That should mean that the last game is the hardest. The team also has a maximum chance of three nights in the same hotel room during the MIDDLE of this road trip. I do expect the team to also visit the NBA's head office in Manhattan while they are there. What else are they going to do, right? I would have expected the back-to-back to be NYK and BKN in some manner, but there's a night off in-between. This gives the Jazz to actually PLAY either NYK or BKN on THEIR second night of a back-to-back when they fly into their home to a waiting road team. I haven't seen the Jazz do this that often, so this is a potentially new experience.

I'm less worried about a few nights in New York than I would normally be, but a lot of these guys are legit wives, babies, or girlfriends in some specific order. The only guys who, as far as I can tell, do not are Trey Lyles (20 years old), J.J. O'Brien (23 years old), Rudy Gobert (23 years old), and maybe Chris Johnson (25 years old). Alec Burks (24 years old) also fits the bill, but he and Dante Exum (like 7 years old still) did not travel with the team to NYC. So I don't expect an Pero Antic / Thabo Sefolosha night club fights against New York Police with this team.

Anyway, as for the games ... all of these teams the Jazz will play aren't giant killers. They all have their own warts.

Charlotte: Al Jefferson is out for right knee surgery, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is also out. So they are without their best defender and best scorer. Jeremy Lamb may be active against the Jazz, but he's not a difference maker. They still do have Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lin, and an amazing Nicolas Batum -- however, I'm just not afraid of Marvin Williams when Trey Lyles is balling like he is. Cody Zeller, Spencer Hawes, and Frank Kaminsky will all get destroyed by Rudy Gobert and Jeff Withey. This game really should be a win.

New York: Everyone is enjoying the Kristaps Porzingis show, Robin Lopez is playing well, but we don't really know the status of Carmelo Anthony yet. He didn't play on Saturday, but this game on Wednesday is far enough away that he could be ready to go. The Knicks aren't horrible this year, but they still aren't bigtime. The Jazz beat them once already this season and I would not be surprised to see a healthier Jazz team be able to match up against them very well. Trey Burke always seems to play better against big market teams as well, and he has been pretty hot of late averaging 16.0 ppg off the bench last week while shooting 48.4 FG%.

Brooklyn: Brooklyn only has 11 wins this year, and have already racked up 40 losses. Their starting point guard Jarrett Jack is out, he just had surgery. Andrea Bargnani, Chris McCullough, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are not impact players, and may not be in the active roster when this Friday game comes around. Sergey Karasev continues to be an enigma. I do get that Joe Johnson is a load to defend, and Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez constitute one of the best PF/C combos out East . . . but this is a really bad team. They have two more wins than the Lakers. I don't think Utah should lose to this team. Especially not with a night off between their last game and this one, while being in the effectively same city and hopefully hotel room all that time.

Washington: The Wizards are the most talented team on paper, are the second game of a back to back set, and the last game of this road trip. So this should be the hardest game out there. I don't know who is going to be healthy for them though, as Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kris Humphries, Drew Gooden, and Alan Anderson all missed their game on Saturday. John Wall is great. Nene and Marcin Gortat have the potential to be good every night. Guys like Jared Dudley always go off on the Jazz. If there's a schedule loss on this easy road trip it's this one.

All that said, if the Jazz get Derrick Favors back, and Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood, Trey Burke, Trey Lyles, Jeff Withey, and Gordon Hayward are all playing like they can -- why do the Jazz have to lose ANY of these games? The conservative opinion here is that the Jazz will go 2-2 on this trip. There's no indication that Favors will be back. And there's no way to accurately predict who is going to be injured for either team when some of these games are a full work week away. But after a certain point you know how good YOUR team is. And you know that they are capable of beating the best teams out there -- even when injured.

It would be conservative to predict 2-2 on this trip. I'm going to go out there and say the team goes 3-1.

GO JAZZ GO!