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Utah Jazz: If history holds, road trip could be trouble

Published December 17, 2012 10:51 am

Eastern swing • Pre-Christmas journey not usually full of cheer for Jazz.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Jazz may require a restaurant recommendation in Brooklyn.

With their annual pre-Christmas road trip opening Tuesday against Deron Williams and the Nets, the Jazz (13-12) are two ugly losses removed from what was their best streak of the season and find themselves at risk of dipping below .500.

So the Jazz recognize they need to figure some things out pretty quick. Enter the need for a restaurant.

"We let coach do his talking," DeMarre Carroll, "and we go out to team dinners and talk. I'm pretty sure when we get on the road, we'll have a dinner in Brooklyn or somewhere."

Hello, Yelp.

By most accounts, the Jazz last had a team dinner Nov. 11 in Toronto, the night before they beat the Raptors in triple overtime. It was the beginning of a stretch in which the Jazz won five of seven games.

Both Marvin Williams and Paul Millsap said it's much too soon to panic and start calling team meetings, but they agreed it might be nice to regroup on the road.

"It's a long season," Williams said. "You're going to have times where you win four or five in a row, you're going to have times you lose two or three in a row. The thing is you just don't want to have multiple times you lose two, three or four in a row."

Each year, the Jazz go on a multi-game trip to return home for Christmas, and almost as reliably, that trip batters the Jazz. Only twice since 2003 have the Jazz emerged from that trip with a winning record.

However, the Jazz are just 4-10 on the road this season and each game on the upcoming trip presents a unique challenge.

After Brooklyn, Gordon Hayward has his homecoming at Indiana on Wednesday, the Jazz face the defending champion Miami Heat on Saturday, and play their fourth game in six nights Sunday in Orlando.

"It's a good test for us," Millsap said.

The Jazz are 4-2 against the Eastern Conference, with losses coming in Boston and Philadelphia.

Only once this year have the Jazz looked as comfortable on the road as they do at home, Dec. 9 in Los Angeles when they kept fighting back and beat the short-handed, but potent, Lakers.

"If we're going to be 'that' team," Millsap said, "we have to go on the road and win games."

The Jazz blew a 12-point halftime lead Saturday en route to a 99-86 loss to Memphis in Salt Lake City. One night earlier they were blown out in Phoenix.

It wasn't exactly the momentum they were hoping to carry East.

"It makes it a lot tougher," Randy Foye said. "We're on the road. … We've struggled this year on the road. But the biggest thing is we got to look at it as these four road games [like] we are 0-0 and try to go 4-0."

boram@sltrib.comTwitter: @tribjazz —

The next four:

Tuesday • At Brooklyn, 5:30 p.m.

• The Jazz's first look at the new Barclays Center and a reunion with former star Deron Williams.

Wednesday • At Indiana, 5 p.m.

• A homecoming for Gordon Hayward, who is from an Indianapolis suburb and attended nearby Butler.

Saturday • At Miami, 5:30 p.m.

• The Jazz play their first of two games this season against the defending NBA champions.

Sunday • At Orlando, 4 p.m.

• The Jazz beat the Magic on Dec. 5, but will be playing their fourth game in six nights. Not much holiday cheer. —

Tripped up

The Jazz's record on recent pre-Christmas East Coast road trips

2010 • 3-1

2009 • 2-3

2008 • 2-3

2007 • 1-3

2006 • 3-2

2005 •1-4

2004 • 1-4

2003 • 3-4