The contrast for the Utah Jazz was striking.

For much of December, their locker room resembled a library after games. The mood was somber, with conversation at a bare minimum. There wasn’t a lot of confidence throughout the roster after repeated losses to some of the elite teams in the NBA.

Saturday night was different in the moments following a 104-101 win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The mood was festive, with Alec Burks and Ekpe Udoh having a spirited discussion about New Year’s Eve plans. Hip-hop from Future resonated as players bobbed heads and mouthed the lyrics.

With a 16-21 record, the Jazz are fully aware of the effects of a brutal December. Players and coaches know winning consistently again isn’t as simple as flipping the calendar to January. But Saturday night’s win over the Cavaliers represents a good place to start trying to dig out of the hole the team is in.

“Hopefully, you know, we can build on this win and hopefully go on another winning streak after this,” Utah center Derrick Favors said. “We went through a lot in December. We played a lot of tough teams, and it tested us mentally and physically. So hopefully, we have learned a lot from what we’ve been through. The goal is for us to improve in January and get back on a winning streak.”

Utah stands 10th in the Western Conference standings, 2 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot — occupied by the New Orleans Pelicans, who visit Vivint Smart Home Arena on Wednesday night.

While the schedule will eventually become softer by the end of the season, the beginning of January is still difficult. The Pelicans feature two of the best big men in the league in DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. An upcoming road trip starting Friday is highlighted by matchups with the Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat and Washington Wizards. The Jazz know they can’t afford to dig a much deeper hole in their race for a playoff berth.

“It’s not like the schedule immediately gets easier for us, and I think we know that,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I think some of the things you learn about yourself through a difficult stretch — hopefully, it can make you better. I know some of the things we’ve dealt with, it makes you focus more. The players realize they have to be more urgent and focused. So how it plays itself out, that remains to be seen.”

The Jazz will have some advantages this month. They will not have back-to-back games until Jan. 19-20, so they will have chances to get rest between games. And after the gauntlet that was December, the Jazz feel confident they can handle just about anything.

As Utah guard Rodney Hood said: “I haven’t even looked at the January schedule, but I know it can’t possibly be as difficult as the schedule we just finished this month.”

Collectively, the Jazz know Saturday’s win over Cleveland puts a cap on a month that did have some successes — over the past two weeks, Utah has registered victories against the Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs.

They also proved to be resilient; limping into the New Year would have been the easy thing to do, but instead the Jazz registered one of the biggest victories of the season. Rookie Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points and outplayed LeBron James down the stretch, Ricky Rubio and Thabo Sefolosha made valuable veteran contributions, and Vivint Smart Home Arena was as loud as it’s been all season.

“Beating Cleveland was a testament to our character,” Mitchell said. “We’ve suffered some tough losses this month against some good teams that we’ve played. So to come out like we did against the Cavs was really good for us.”