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Jazz begin traditional pre-Christmas trip

Published: Sunday, Aug. 30 2015 4:21 a.m. MDT

Demarre Carroll celebrates a good defensive player as the Utah Jazz and the Memphis Grizzlies play Saturday, Dec., 15, 2012, at Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Demarre Carroll celebrates a good defensive player as the Utah Jazz and the Memphis Grizzlies play Saturday, Dec., 15, 2012, at Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s been an annual Utah Jazz holiday tradition that’s been going on for the past 27 years.

What is it?

It’s the annual pre-Christmas eastern road trip that includes four to seven games and usually ends on Dec. 22 or Dec. 23.

This year’s trip began Monday with a flight to New York and will end with a flight out of Orlando Sunday night. In between games in Brooklyn and Orlando, the Jazz will play Indiana Wednesday and Miami Saturday.

The NBA schedule-makers have been giving the Jazz this pre-Christmas “present” ever since 1985 (except the two lockout years) when the Adrian Dantley-led Jazz went to Washington, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Chicago.

It may not seem like fun to be away for a week or so right before Christmas, but for the most part, the Jazz enjoy it because it means they are always home for Christmas.

“I think it’s great,’’ said coach Tyrone Corbin, who remembers the pre-Christmas Jazz trips from the 1990s when he was a player. “I’ve always thought since I was a player, it’s a great thing to do, because you know you’re going to be home for Christmas with your family.’’

First-year Jazz player Marvin Williams said players accept the NBA schedule as part of their jobs, but he is happy about Utah’s holiday schedule.

“I’m excited about it,’’ he said. “We have an opportunity to be home for Christmas and for New Years so it really does work out in our favor.’’

Paul Millsap said he’d rather be home with his family this week, but there are some advantages to being away this time of year. “I know a lot of people still need to do some Christmas shopping, so hopefully we can get together to do some of that,’’ he said.

FIRST TIME: This will be Utah’s first time in the NBA’s newest arena, the 18,103-seat Barclays Center, which opened earlier this year.

“I haven’t been there, it’s a great building from what I hear,’’ said Corbin. “We’re going into a new building where the fans are really excited about having a team in a new location. But we can’t get caught up in the surroundings — we’ve got to get caught up in the game.’’

JAZZ NOTES: Al Jefferson ranks ninth in the NBA in rebounds with 10.3 per game and Paul Millsap is 25th with 8.2 . . . After ranking near the bottom of the league in 3-point shooting last year, the Jazz are eighth this year at 37.0 percent . . . The longest-ever Jazz pre-Christmas road trip was a seven-game, 11-day trip in 1999 . . . The Jazz will have two off-days in Miami before playing the Heat, which is a positive or negative, depending how you look at it . . . The Jazz play home games against Golden State on Dec. 26 and the L.A. Clippers on Dec. 28 after the long trip.

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