As NBA schedules go, the Utah Jazz have had a long break. They have been off since last Saturday in Tokyo, when they wrapped up a two-game split with the Phoenix Suns. The Jazz resume their 82-game schedule tonight at 7:30 in the Salt Palace against the San Antonio Spurs.
Although there have been no games this week, the Jazz haven't been idle since returning Sunday evening. They practiced briefly at Westminster College on Sunday, then resumed their regular daily practice sessions on Monday. Tuesday's practice was cut short by about a half-hour. "A lot of people say the second day is the hardest after a long trip," said Coach Jerry Sloan.Rookie forward Chris Munk was absent from Monday's practice because he was driving his car from San Francisco, his home, to Salt Lake. He rejoined the team for Tuesday's workout.
The Jazz returned with mixed views on the first two games of the year. The first one, a 23-point loss to Phoenix, was characterized by 27 turnovers. In the second game, the Jazz won by a point, and the turnovers dropped to 15. "Our concentration wasn't good the first game, but it improved the second game," said Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan. "You throw the ball away 27 times, you're not going to give yourself a chance to win."
Curiously, in the second game the stat crew, provided by Statman II, recorded the NBA's top assist man, John Stockton, for only four assists the second night.
San Antonio, 2-0, following a Wednesday game against Denver, is picked by most publications to repeat as Midwest Division champions.