Brent Asay

Utah Jazz to play on Christmas for the first time since 1997

by Aaron Falk

For once, it’s OK to sneak a peek at your Christmas present.

The NBA on Wednesday unveiled its national TV broadcasts for the first week of the upcoming season, its Christmas lineup, and its Martin Luther King Day schedule. The announcement revealed two more games from the Utah Jazz’s 2018-19 schedule—including the team’s first Christmas Day contest in more than 20 years.

The Jazz will host Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on December 25 at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Tipoff time for the game has yet to be determined.

The Jazz will also be featured on ESPN during the NBA’s opening week, when Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the rest of the defending champion Golden State Warriors visit Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 19. Utah played in 11 nationally broadcast games during the 2017-18 regular season (appearing twice on TNT, four times on NBA TV, and five times on ESPN).

The Christmas contest will be the first time the team has played on the holiday since 1997. Utah beat the Houston Rockets, 107-103, in that game behind 24 points from John Stockton and 20 points and 10 rebounds from Karl Malone.

The Jazz are 4-2 all time in games played on Christmas. The team previously played on December 25 in 1975, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1988 and 1997.

So far, three of the Jazz’s 82 regular-season games have been revealed. On Tuesday, the NBA announced the Jazz would travel to Mexico City to play the Orlando Magic on December 15.

The full NBA schedule is expected to be released later this month.