January is fresh starts, new hopes, full parking lots at the gym.
February is reality’s return.
Jazz at Mavericks
O Friday, 6:30 p.m.
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And so it is that the Utah Jazz’s 6-6 start to the new year — hardly inspired basketball, but certainly an improvement over the team’s horrendous start to the season — has bled into an 0-2 start this month.
The Jazz are now on a three-game losing streak, their longest slide since falling in four straight back in early December. But forward Marvin Williams says the team isn’t worried about regressing to the form that say Utah start the year 1-14.
"We’ve dropped a couple in a row, but nobody’s panicking," Williams said. "We’ve played some really, really good teams. We understand that. We’re a little short-handed [with Derrick Favors and Jeremy Evans injured] … but once we get our full team back I think we’ll be OK."
But things don’t look to be getting much easier when it comes to the schedule.
After dropping games to Golden State and Toronto, the Jazz now head to Dallas to face Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks, a team that had its way with Utah earlier this season in Texas. Then it’s back home to face LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
"Obviously after coming off three losses you want to come out that next game with a lot of intensity," rookie point guard Trey Burke said. "I think that’s what we’re going to do."
For those concerned about stocking up on lottery balls, things appear to be looking up.
January was a softball. The Jazz played 12 games, eight at home and six against teams with losing records. They caught Oklahoma City missing two starters (Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka) on the same night Gordon Hayward had one of his best performances as a pro to steal a win from the Thunder.
February is a screwball. The Jazz again play eight of 12 at home, and five games against losing teams. But those five games against sub-.500 squads are somewhat deceptive.
The Jazz have to travel to Los Angeles, where the Lakers have already beaten them once this year. Then it’s right back home to face 15-win Philadelphia.
Utah also has to deal with a surging Brooklyn team that broke out of its funk to claim the league’s best record in January. And the Jazz close out the month in Cleveland, the first of a six-game road trip.
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