Utah Jazz reveal schedule for the NBA's regular season return in Orlando
Things will look and feel different when the NBA resumes the 2019-20 season next month in the confines of the Disney World Resort in central Florida.
The arenas will be empty and quiet. The battle for homecourt advantage won’t mean what it once did. But the final goal remains the same. So as the Utah Jazz prepare for their return to the hardwood, a postseason berth now clinched, they will use the final eight games of the regular season to jockey for playoff position and tune up for a run at the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The NBA on Friday released the revised schedule for the Orlando 2020 restart. These eight “seeding games” will determine playoff matchups and will let the Jazz test themselves against some of the very best in the Western Conference.
All games will be broadcast locally on AT&T SportsNet and The Zone Sports Network.
JULY 30 — vs. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS, 4:30 p.m. MT
SEASON SERIES: 2-1
Nov. 23, 2019 — Jazz 128, NOP 120
Jan. 6 — Jazz 128, NOP 126
Jan. 16 — NOP 148, Jazz 132 (OT)
Donovan Mitchell and his fellow Western Conference All-Star Brandon Ingram treated fans to an overtime duel back in January, going off for 46 and 49 points respectively.
Ingram and the Pelicans should be motivated as New Orleans fights for the final playoff spot in the West. The matchup could be the Jazz’s first regular-season look at No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. The rookie, who is averaging 23.6 points per game, gave the Jazz bigs problems during their one preseason matchup.
AUG. 1 vs. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER, 1:30 p.m. MT
SEASON SERIES: 1-1
Oct. 23, 2019 — Jazz 100, OKC 95
Dec. 9, 2019 — OKC 104, Jazz 90
The basketball world came to a screeching halt on March 11, the last time these two teams were under the same roof. Months later, this could still be a first-round playoff preview between the No. 4 seed Jazz and the No. 5 seed Thunder.
Donovan Mitchell has given the Thunder fits this season, just as he did when he led Utah to a first-round playoff victory against OKC two years ago. The All-Star guard averaged 29 points (on 51-percent shooting) in the first two meetings of the regular season.
Thunder All-Star Chris Paul, meanwhile, always seems to cause problems for the Jazz with his mastery of the midrange. OKC could also be buoyed by the potential return of Andre Roberson, one of the game’s best wing defenders when healthy.
AUG. 3 vs. LOS ANGELES LAKERS, 7 p.m. MT
SEASON SERIES: 0-2
Oct. 25 — Lakers 95, Jazz 86
Dec. 4 — Lakers 121, Jazz 96
The road to the NBA Finals won’t literally go through Los Angeles. But it still very well may go through LeBron James. King James has the Lakers in first place in the West and he has given the Jazz problems in two meetings this season. James had 32 points, 10 assists, and seven dimes in one victory over Utah.
The Lakers have a size advantage against most teams, but it was the transition game that hurt the Jazz last time these two teams faced off. The Lakers had a 32-5 advantage in fast-break points in that one.
Some X-factors to consider: L.A. will reportedly be without veteran guard Avery Bradley in Orlando. Jazz point guard Mike Conley was only available for one of the two meetings with the Lakers.
AUG. 5 vs. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES, 12:30 p.m. MT
SEASON SERIES: 2-1
Nov. 15 — Grizzlies 107, Jazz 106
Nov. 29 — Jazz 103, Grizzlies 94
Dec. 7 — Jazz 126, Grizzlies 112
The Grizzlies’ young stars Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. have Memphis ahead of schedule in their rebuild and currently sitting in a playoff position as play resumes. Morant has made his case to be the league’s Rookie of the Year, putting up 17.6 points and 6.9 assists per contest.
The Jazz have had success against Mike Conley’s old squad though. Joe Ingles dished out 10 assists in a win over Memphis back in December. All-Star center Rudy Gobert, meanwhile, has put up big numbers (18.3 points, 13.7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2.3 blocks) in three meetings with the Grizzlies this season.
AUG. 7 vs SAN ANTONIO SPURS, 11 a.m. MT
SEASON SERIES: 0-2
Jan. 29 — Spurs 127, Jazz 120
Feb. 21 — Spurs 113, Jazz 104
It was another midrange master who has given the Spurs a pair of wins over the Jazz this season. DeMar DeRozan averaged 28 points in those two San Antonio victories — and he did it without so much as attempting a 3-pointer against the Jazz.
The Spurs will be without a major piece in Florida, though. Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is done for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
AUG. 8 vs. DENVER NUGGETS, 1:30 p.m. MT
SEASON SERIES: 0-2
Jan. 30 — Nuggets 106, Jazz 100
Feb. 5 — Nuggets 98, Jazz 95
Nikola Jokic and Co. have taken two games off the Jazz already, despite a star effort from Utah sixth-man Jordan Clarkson, who went off for 37 points last time out in Denver.
AUG. 10 vs. DALLAS MAVERICKS, 1 p.m. MT
SEASON SERIES: 2-0
Jan. 25 — Jazz 112, Mavericks 107
Feb. 10 — Jazz 123, Mavericks 119
Luka Doncic has put himself into the MVP conversation this season. Against the Jazz, the Dallas All-Star has averaged 25 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals.
But the Jazz’s All-Star center has given his squad the Ws. It was Rudy Gobert’s game-saving block that sealed the deal for Utah back in February. Gobert, meanwhile, has yet to miss a single shot against Dallas this season, with a perfect 15-for-15 line from the field.
AUG. 13 vs. SAN ANTONIO SPURS, Time TBD
The Jazz will wrap up their regular season with one final matchup against Coach Gregg Popovich's squad.