SALT LAKE CITY — The Miami Heat began the 2016-2017 season just 11-30 before executing a complete 180 by going 30-11 the last half of the campaign.
They then made minor moves in the summer of 2017 but started last season just 18-17 before finishing 44-38.
The Utah Jazz are going through a similar experience now, having started last year just 19-28 before going 29-6 down the stretch. They then didn’t do much personnel-wise last summer but were just 13-15 heading into the two teams’ second matchup of the campaign Wednesday night at Vivint Arena.
Before Wednesday’s game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra noted in rather strong terms a big reason he feels the Jazz have been inconsistent thus far, and also made a prediction about the rest of their season.
"With Utah, I just think everybody's overlooking something that nobody wants to hear about: Their schedule has been outrageous,” he said. “They've basically lived in a hotel for the first six weeks of the season. Come talk to me in two months and we'll see what their record is. I think they'll be climbing up that Western Conference pretty quickly."
FEELING GREEN: While the Utah Jazz’s green Earned edition jerseys that they’ll wear on Christmas Day against the Portland Trail Blazers were leaked last week, they were officially unveiled on Wednesday.
They were released along with the other 15 that NBA teams who made last year’s playoffs will wear over the last 3.5 months of the season. The Jazz specifically will wear theirs 10 times after the Christmas Day game.
The jerseys are nearly an inverse of Utah’s gold jerseys, with the team’s note logo in yellow and white on top of player numbers and yellow trim.
The Jazz will have six total uniforms to wear for the rest of the season.
Derrick Favors and Jae Crowder served as “models” of the jerseys as the team unveiled photos of them on social media.2 comments on this story
“I like ‘em, I like ‘em,” Favors said at shootaround on Wednesday morning. “I like the color. I like that we change it up a little bit. I like the look of them...I remember when I first got here, we only had two colors. Now we’ve got like five or six colors. I’m enjoying it.”
The jerseys will be available for purchase at the Utah Jazz Team Store beginning on Dec. 19.
A GAME OF CHICKEN: Even as the Jazz went up by 42 on Wednesday, the loudest cheers of the night came in the fourth quarter as Miami’s Justise Winslow missed two free throws in a row, making those with a ticket to the game eligible for free Chick-fil-A.