The start of the NBA’s 2018-19 regular season is now less than a month away.
There are certainly high expectations surrounding the Utah Jazz, and while much of their success or lack thereof will depend on the talent of the team, how head coach Quin Snyder manages them and if they can avoid major injury, their schedule will play a part as well.
Are there stretches that could be easier or harder than others based on factors such as game locations, quality of opponent and whether or not the Jazz will have sufficient rest in between contests?
Here is a month-by-month breakdown of Utah’s schedule, exploring how these factors could affect the Jazz’s overall regular season win-loss total.
Utah will open the season with seven games in the first two weeks, with the first being Oct. 17 on the road against the Sacramento Kings. In all, the Jazz will play five of those contests away from Salt Lake City, including an early four-game road trip against the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Houston and New Orleans games will be played on back-to-back nights. In all, Utah will play 14 back-to-back sets on the season.
In October, four of the Jazz’s seven games will be against teams that made the playoffs last season.
The first full month of the season could be an interesting one. Again, Utah will be on the road a lot, as it plays 10 of its 16 games away from Vivint Arena. That includes a five-game road trip with lots of travel, as the Jazz will play the Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers.
Philadelphia and Boston will be played on back-to-back nights. Utah will get its games against the Celtics and Gordon Hayward out of the way early, as the two teams play twice in November (the 9th at Vivint Arena and the 17th in Beantown).
While there will be lots of travel for the Jazz in November, just six of its 16 opponents in the month made the postseason during the 2017-18 campaign.
After playing 15 of its first 23 games on the road, December will see Utah play eight games at home compared to just six away. The month could be challenging, however, as a whopping 12 of the 14 games will be against teams that made the playoffs last year, including five of the six on the road.
The other road game will provide an interesting challenge, as it’ll be a neutral site game Dec. 15 against the Orlando Magic in Mexico City. The Jazz will also have the interesting task of playing the Portland Trail Blazers at home on Christmas Day. That matchup will be the second game in a four-game homestand for Utah, the first extended stay the team will have at home on the season.
Utah will play the Oklahoma City Thunder before that on Dec. 22 (the squads will have their first rematch after last season’s playoff series Dec. 10 in Oklahoma City) and the 76ers and New York Knicks after to close out the 2018 calendar year.
The Jazz will again play more home games (eight) than road games (seven) in January, although the month will see Utah have another extended road trip, as it’ll play a four-gamer against the Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks, with the Cleveland and Detroit games being on back-to-back nights.
On the flip side, Utah will start the month with a four-game homestand, with contests against the Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Pistons. Eight of the 15 games during the month will be against teams that made the playoffs last season.
This month is always an interesting one because of the trade deadline and 10-day All-Star break in the middle of it. Before the break this year, Utah will have a four-game homestand (against the Atlanta Hawks, Rockets, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs) and one road game (Golden State Warriors).
The Jazz’s first game back from the break will be on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In all, Utah will play six games at home and three on the road in February. Four will be against playoff teams from last year and five will not.
The last full month of the season looks to be a pretty balanced one in terms of difficulty. Eight of the 15 games will be at home, with seven contests on the month coming against playoff teams from last year. The biggest challenge of the month will be another four-game road trip, with matchups against the Washington Wizards, Knicks, Hawks and Bulls.
The New York and Atlanta games will be played on back-to-back nights.2 comments on this story
After the March 18 game against the Wizards, the Jazz will play just one more game the rest of the campaign against a team that made the playoffs last season (also against Washington on March 29). Eleven of Utah’s final 12 contests will be against non-playoff teams, although two of those will be against LeBron James and the Lakers.
Unlike in recent seasons past, the final stretch of the season looks to be an easier one for the Jazz. As previously noted, none of Utah’s final six opponents made the postseason last year. Three of the games will be at Vivint Arena and three will be on the road.
The final two contests will be back-to-back, however. The Jazz will play the Denver Nuggets April 9 at home and conclude the regular season April 10 on the road against the L.A. Clippers.