OAKLAND, Calif. With their first five games coming against playoff teams from last season tonight's season-opener at Golden State, Houston, Golden State again, the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland the Jazz seem to sense they'd be hard-pressed to repeat last season's 12-1 start.
"We could possibly win all those games," starting point guard Deron Williams said Monday. "And we could possibly lose all those games."
Some, however, are holding out hope even as Utah plays six of first 11 games on the road.
"We're capable of it, yeah," backup small forward Matt Harpring said. "You know, that (12-1) is hard to do. There's no question about it. But the goal is to go out and win every game. We have the talent to do that."
"It's a tough test, but I think we're ready for it. We were a playoff team, too," starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer added. "If we come out and play well, we can have that start. If we don't play well, we can start off 0-5."
HARPRING UPDATE: The Jazz are listing Harpring, who missed all seven preseason games because of his surgically repaired right knee, as a game-time decision for tonight.
All indications Monday, though, were that after conferring with coach Jerry Sloan and trainer Gary Briggs, Harpring likely will opt to play.
"We're gonna talk (today)," Harpring said. "It's gonna be a great day."
Assuming he does go, Sloan is likely to closely monitor Harpring's minutes: "That's one of the things you worry about with any player if you put them out there and play them, how much do you play them before you get them hurt again?" the Jazz coach said. "Unfortunately you look at the bad side of it and try to go from there."
LYDE RELEASED: The Jazz on Monday waived free-agent center Kevin Lyde, reducing their opening-night roster count to 14.
"Tough call," general manager Kevin O'Connor said. "He was in the best shape he's ever been in even better than the summer."
The Jazz, O'Connor suggested, decided they wanted to keep their 15th and final roster spot open for flexibility purposes but will consider soon signing someone who recently has been waived and/or bought out.
Said O'Connor: "We're gonna evaluate."
Lyde played parts or all of four of the past five seasons in the D-League and has toiled as well in Argentina, China and Italy. But the Temple University product never has played a regular-season NBA game, something he largely attributes to conditioning concerns.
"I feel like Utah has pushed my body to the limit, and it's still going," said Lyde, listed at 6-foot-9, 294 pounds. "I wish I would have (done) this a long time ago got myself in shape and committed myself. Because I can't blame nobody but myself."
Before getting cut Monday, Lyde who averaged 1.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in three preseason games said making the team would be "a dream come true." He also said he's kept his bag packed "just in case they tell me I have to go home or go on the road."
His dream dashed now, the Washington, D.C., native suggested he'll probably head overseas again.
BIG WORRIES: Sloan listed his major concerns heading into the season as Harpring's health, being without now-with-the-Los-Angeles-Lakers starting shooting guard/backup point guard Derek Fisher and having to rely on younger players.
Said Sloan: "I don't know if a coach is ever happy."
NO JACKSON: The Warriors tonight (and Saturday, when they visit EnergySolutions Arena) will be without tri-captain and would-be starter Stephen Jackson, who is serving a seven-game league-imposed suspension to start the season.
Jackson pleaded guilty last June to a felony count of criminal recklessness stemming from an incident in which he fired a gun outside an Indianapolis strip club in October of 2006, a matter for which he was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service and fined $5,000.
HE SAID IT: Brewer, on the Warriors: "They push the ball, get up a lot of shots, score a lot of points. I think every basketball player wants to be able to be in a fast-paced offense, where you're allowed to shoot the ball a lot ... But, as everybody knows, defense wins championship."MISC.: Doing so before this week's deadline was a mere matter of formality, but O'Connor on Monday said the Jazz have picked up the fourth-year, 2008-09 season option on the rookie contract of point guard Deron Williams. It is valued at $5,069,448, about $1 million more than he is making this season ... The Jazz technically listed C.J. Miles and rookie Morris Almond as their inactives on the roster they submitted to the league Monday, but that is subject to change on a game-by-game basis ... Point guard Brian Chase who started last season in Utah but never did appear in a regular-season NBA game with the Jazz was among four players released Monday by Miami.
Opening night ties
A look at former Jazz players listed on the opening-night rosters of teams from throughout the NBA, as submitted to the league on Monday:
Cleveland: Devin Brown, Donyell Marshall
Golden State: Troy Hudson
Houston: Kirk Snyder
Indiana: Andre Owens
Los Angeles Clippers: Aaron Williams
Los Angeles Lakers: Derek Fisher
Milwaukee: Michael Ruffin, Mo Williams
Orlando: Carlos Arroyo
Philadelphia: Louis Amundson
Phoenix: Raja Bell
Sacramento: Mikki Moore
San Antonio: Jacque Vaughn
Toronto: Kris Humphries
Washington: DeShawn Stevenson
A look at players with Utah ties listed on the opening-night rosters of teams (besides the Jazz) from throughout the NBA, as submitted to the league on Monday:
Boston: Scot Pollard (Utah native)
Milwaukee: Andrew Bogut (University of Utah)
Minnesota: Michael Doleac (University of Utah)
Philadelphia: Andre Miller (University of Utah)
Phoenix: Marcus Banks (Dixie State)
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