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What to Watch: 10 highlights from the Utah Jazz's 2019-20 schedule
That’s all that stands between you and the first Utah Jazz game of the new season, following the NBA’s 2019-20 schedule release on Monday.
The Utah Jazz will tip off the new season at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 23. And there will be plenty more notable matchups over the course of the 82-game regular season. We’ve taken the liberty of highlighting a few dates on your calendar. Here are 10 things to watch:
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) August 12, 2019
All-Star big man Anthony Davis has teamed up with LeBron James in Los Angeles. But are they the best team in L.A. after the Clippers’ summer landed them Kawhi Leonard and Paul George? Jazz fans won’t have to wait long to get a look at both teams. The Jazz visit the Lakers on Oct. 25 and then see the Clippers twice (in Salt Lake on Oct. 30 and in L.A. on Nov. 3) over the following week.
You’re not the only ones excited to see what new Jazzmen Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic can do alongside Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. The Jazz are slated for 16 nationally televised games this season—10 on ESPN and six on TNT. That’s a jump from eight games on ESPN and three on TNT last season.
After a busy summer, there will be a number of reunions with former players this season. Derrick Favors’ return to Salt Lake City (Nov. 23), where he became a fan favorite over the last nine seasons, figures to be one of the most meaningful. The game against Favors’ new squad, the Pelicans, will also be Jazz fans’ first chance to see No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson in Utah.
ON THE ROAD
The Jazz’s longest road trip of the year will come in late November and early December, as the team heads out for a five-game swing. The Jazz will cover about 5,000 miles over the next eight days, as they take on MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (Nov. 25), the Pacers (Nov. 27), the Grizzlies (Nov. 29), the reigning champs Toronto (Dec. 1) and the Philadelphia 76ers (Dec. 2).
The Jazz will be part of the NBA’s slate of games on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with the Indiana Pacers visiting Vivint Smart Home Arena on Jan. 20.
The Houston Rockets have become a familiar foe over the past two seasons. But the Jazz will only see James Harden and Russell Westbrook three times during this regular season, twice in Utah (Jan. 27 and Feb. 22) and once in Texas (Feb. 9). The Suns, Kings and Mavericks are the other non-divisional Western Conference teams the Jazz will play just three times.
Few things about the NBA’s 82-game schedule are more challenging than a back-to-back. The Jazz will have to do that 11 times this season, with seven of those sets coming after Jan. 29.
HOME FOR FEBRUARY
The Jazz will be able to unpack their bags in February. The squad will play eight of their 11 games that month at home in front of 18,000-plus loyal Jazz fans.
HALF MAN, HALF AMAZING
Over the past couple of seasons, we’ve seen a number of NBA legends hang them up. Some have done after public farewell tours (Dwyane Wade) and others have done it quietly, only announcing their retirements after their final games (Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili). The legendary Vince Carter hasn’t made any proclamations about his future beyond this season. But, just in case, you may want to be at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 28 when the Atlanta Hawks visit.
You already know what a difference one game can make in the West. That should make April a crucial month for the Jazz’s playoff positioning. Utah closes its regular season campaign with six games against Western Conference foes—five of them against playoff teams from last season.