Utah Jazz: Top 10 games of 66-game season

Published: Sunday, Dec. 25 2011 7:00 p.m. MST

It is an away game, so Jazz fans have to wait until Jan. 11 to thank ex-Utah fan-fav-turned-villain-for-some Derek Fisher for his labor-strife role. Utah can also thank the NBA because its Game No. 1 will be the last night of a back-to-back-to-back for L.A. You won't hear a smarmy word from Phil Jackson. He's retired. This will be the Jazz's first match-up with the Mike Brown-coached Lakers. Fun reminder: Gordon Hayward scored 22 and the Jazz beat the Lakers when they visited in April.

3. Jerry Sloan

Appreciation Night

TBD: at Utah

The franchise hasn't announced it will honor Jerry Sloan. But a night to pay tribute to the backbone of the franchise for the past 23 years has gotta be coming, doesn't it? It should and will. Sloan has only returned to EnergySolutions Arena once since his stunning resignation last February, and that was for his Utah Sports Hall of Fame induction. Here's hoping Bear chauffeurs Sloan around the court on a John Deere tractor for well-deserved victory laps on his next visit.

2. Get Jazzed,

East Coast style

Jan. 14: Nets at Jazz

It's still mind-boggling how two guys once considered to be the next Stockton-to-Malone were booed by Jazz fans in consecutive games — IN UTAH. Sure enough, two nights after Boozer heard expected boobirds when his Bulls visited in February, Deron Williams, sporting No. 8 for Utah, received Bronx cheers by many in Jazz Nation. Fans were flabbergasted over his perceived role in Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan's midseason resignation. Two weeks later, D-Will was traded.

This will be Williams' first game back as an opponent since that mind-blowing chain of events unraveled. Jazz fans continue to debate whether that controversial deal was the right call. Williams will bring back a familiar face with him in recently traded Mehmet Okur. The East Coast Jazz also have ex-Utah players Sundiata Gaines, Kris Humphries and DeShawn Stevenson. Don't forget the potato salad for this family reunion.

1. January gets Jimmered

Jan. 28 (and March 30): Kings at Jazz

Jimmer Fredette received a huge ovation, fans lined up for his autograph and he was treated like a big-time star the last time he visited EnergySolutions Arena — and he was just a college kid watching a pro game at the time.. Forty-plus media members surrounded him for quotes the one time No. 32 wore a Jazz logo at a pre-draft camp.

Can you imagine what Jimmermania will be like when BYU's living legend comes back to Utah for a real basketball game? It'll be hoops hysteria. A Sports Illustrated writer even included this one (and D-Will's return) in his top-10 must-see games for the entire NBA. Jazz fans only hope they don't get Jimmered. Then again, some might not mind for one night.

Also worth watching:

Jan. 3 — Bucks at Jazz: Utah's favorite Australian (Andrew Bogut, not Mel Gibson) makes a rare visit.

Jan. 17 — Clippers at Jazz: Blake Griffin might dunk over a Miller-sold Kia.

Jan. 30 — Blazers at Jazz: Wesley Matthews brings his three-goggles to Utah.

Feb. 7 — Jazz at Pacers: Who goes more berserk: Indiana fans for beloved Butler star Gordon Hayward or ex-Ute coach Jim Boylen on the bench?

March 23 — Denver at Utah: Kosta Koufos brings his dance moves back to EnergySolutions Arena.

April 21 — Dwight Howard brings his Magic act to town — assuming he's not traded by then.

email: jody@desnews.com

twitter: DJJazzyJody

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