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SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA schedule has been release and now the Jazz know when and where they get to play.
The Jazz will get to unveil their youth movement, along with the regular season debut of their new big screen, in their first game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at home Oct. 30 in Utah.
While the Jazz open at home they will have five road games in their first seven contests. They will travel to Phoenix to play Jeff Hornacek's Suns to open November, then play the Houston Rockets at home the following night. The Jazz will take their first East-coast road swing after that travelling to Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago and Toronto.
A home stand against the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs complete the first half of the month of November. The next month the Jazz will have one three-game road stretch, but nothing more than two games at home or on the road.
Just as we start gearing up for our local college football season, the Jazz push us forward to the end of October. That's when this young and hungry 2013-14 edition of the Utah Jazz open up the season.
The NBA schedule rolled out on Tuesday and here are several of my observations about it.
The schedule starts out rough. The season opens with one of the best teams in the Western Conference featuring Kevin Durrant and his Oklahoma City Thunder. Star point guard Russell Westbrook is expected to be good to go, recovering from ACL surgery. That's just the beginning of a rough November for the Jazz. Five of their first six games (and nine of the first 14) are away from EnergySolutions Arena.
In the first full month of the NBA season (November) the Jazz face the Thunder, the vastly improved Rockets featuring Dwight Howard, Deron Williams and the Nets in Brooklyn featuring ex-Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and, don't forget, AK. They're at Chicago with superstar point guard Derrick Rose expected to be 100 percent, the Nuggets and the Spurs. Then, it's a home-and-home with the Warriors and another round with OKC and the Bulls. Additionally, the Jazz face all-time franchise favorite Jeff Hornacek and the Suns three times (out of 17 total games) in November.
The Jazz open up December with four out of five games at home, then seven out of eight (lone home game has San Antonio in town) on the road including the annual pre-Christmas five-game road trip back East. Former local stars Jimmer Fredette and Damian Lillard both play in Utah, actually back-to-back Saturday (Kings) and Monday (Blazers) December 7 and 9.
The new year will bring the lightest full month of the season, with just a dozen games for the Jazz in January. At the end of the month Jimmer makes his final visit (Mon., Jan. 27), which is part of a four- game homestand at the end of the month. February also lightens the load, with just 12 games (All-Star Break a big factor here). That means the jazz play just 24 games over the months of January and February.
March roars in like a lion with a second Eastern Conference road trip, with the last five of a season-long six game trip. Then, after a quick stop home to get some different suits, the Jazz host the Hawks, Mavs and Clippers back on the road. Then, three more in four nights featuring the Spurs, Rockets and Grizzlies. Ouch! That's eight out of 11 away from ESA.
The Jazz wrap up the season playing eight of their last 13 at home, including the second visit of former Weber State star Damian Lillard.
In that time they will play the Golden State Warriors in a home and home that will interest every Jazz fan. They will also welcome the Chicago Bulls, Suns, Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trailblazers.
To close out December the Jazz will have five road games out of their last seven that includes welcoming the L.A. Lakers and the return of Al Jefferson and the Charlotte Bobcats to town on Dec. 27 and 30 respectively.
The Jazz will play all Eastern Conference teams twice each and Western Conference teams four times with the exception of Houston, Sacramento, the L.A. Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies, who will face the Jazz three times.
The Jazz have 20 back-to-back games. Their longest home stand will be four games at the end of January. They have one six-game road stretch from the end of February to March 8.
The Jazz are scheduled to play on national television five times: Nov. 11 vs. the Nuggets, Nov. 25 vs. the Bull, Jan. 15 at the Spurs, Jan. 31 vs. the Warriors and March 26 vs. the Grizzlies.
Games to watch that include returning players are: Randy Foye and the Nuggets will return Nov. 11 and Jan. 13. Nov. 25 will have Carlos Boozer and the Bulls come to town. Jan. 10 will have C.J. Miles and the Cavaliers Feb. 19, the Brooklyn Nets with Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko come to Energy Solutions. March 10, the Atlanta Hawks with Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll return. March 12 and April 8 have Devin Harris and the Mavs coming to Utah.
Other random games of interest include: The defending NBA Champions Miami Heat coming to town Feb. 8. The Lakers playing Dec. 27 and the regular season home finale April 14. The Clippers will play in Utah March 14. The last home game will in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.
For a look at the full schedule click on the related links.