SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have acknowledged the trying schedule, but they haven’t wanted to use it as an excuse for their slow start to the season.
Utah has had the most road games in the NBA this season with 18 and a number of their home games have been sandwiched between long road swings. And that’s not to mention, the team on the schedule. The Jazz have faced the hardest schedule to date based on winning percentages.
But while the Jazz won’t use it as a reason for why they’re sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will.
“With Utah, I just think everybody's overlooking something that nobody wants to hear about: their schedule has been outrageous,” Spoelstra said before the Jazz blew out the Heat 111-84 on Wednesday. “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.”
Spoelstra said that he thinks the Jazz are just as good as the team that took the league by storm at the end of last season. And he is expecting a similar run this year.
“I think they are every bit of what they were last year,” he said. “I had to look at it twice to see how many road games they have played. Come on, let's not make up a bunch of different narratives about it. They are going to be living at home for the next two months.”
Wade writes message to Korver
The 2003 NBA Draft is often celebrated because of names like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and, until recently, Carmelo Anthony. Kyle Korver would like to remind you that he was also part of that group. And there is someone who didn’t forget: Wade himself.
During Wednesday’s game, Wade wrote a message to his draft classmate on his game shoes.
"Korver, Amazing career you have had, my brother," Wade wrote on one sneaker. "Much love and respect, '03 class" was written on the other.
“He’s one of the nicest people you’re going to meet," Wade said. "One of the best dudes that I’ve been around. Was lucky to have his as a teammate for a few months, but just known him for 16 years and as a competitor as well. I was just sitting there trying to think. I don’t have much space to write on my shoes. I wanted it to be something important and impactful.”
Korver asked to have the shoes, which he proudly held up in the Jazz locker room.
“It’s one of those things you put away in the closet and in a bunch of years, your kids find them are like, ‘Woah! D-Wade!’,” Korver said.
Korver said he was saddened by the fact that they won’t be playing against each other again.
“I have a ton of respect for him,” Korver said. “Obviously, legendary basketball player. A little sad not to get to play against him anymore. But he has a lot to be proud of.”
And, as Wade pointed out on his shoes, so does Korver.
Crowder’s Wade connection
In Miami, it was Donovan Mitchell. In Salt Lake City, it was Jae Crowder.
Dwyane Wade and Crowder swapped jerseys following the game. And that swap held a special meaning to the Jazz forward. He had always looked up to Wade — even saying that he was part of the reason that he chose to go to Marquette.
“I played with him, so that’s more what that jersey means,” Crowder said. “Just soaking a lot of game, a lot of veteran-ness from him — him showing me the ropes and how to prepare for games is more than what that jersey means.”
Crowder said he planned to frame the jersey. So two Jazz players will have special memorabilia's from Wednesday’s game — and Wade’s career.