Friday afternoon marked the official release of the NBA’s schedule for the 2021-22 season, as well as the unofficial commencement of mental gymnastics about and armchair analysis of what each team’s schedule portends.
How the Utah Jazz will ultimately fare is in the hands of the basketball gods, but what we can say definitively is that they will open their back-to-normal, 82-game regular-season schedule on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at Vivint Arena against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and will close Sunday, April 10 in Portland against the Trail Blazers.
In between, they’ll have 13 sets of back-to-back games, two homestands and one road trip of six games apiece, and 26 total appearances on national television, including one game on ABC, four on TNT, and eight on ESPN.
Per the analytics site Positive Residual, the Jazz have the easiest schedule by “travel and rest adjusted standards.” They are helped by such travel-reduction advantages as a New York/Brooklyn back-to-back, an Atlanta/Miami/Orlando trip, even such minor details as including Chicago and Milwaukee on the same trip.
Meanwhile, those two sets of six consecutive home games certainly don’t hurt. The first takes place Dec. 15-25, and includes games against the Clippers, Spurs, Wizards, Hornets, Timberwolves, and Mavericks. The latter occurs Feb. 2-14, and includes the Nuggets, Nets, Knicks, Warriors, Magic, and Rockets.
The half-dozen-game-long road trip comes near the end of the regular season, beginning March with B2B New York set against the Knicks and Nets, then going on to Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, and Los Angeles, where the Jazz will wrap their trip against the Clippers on March 29.
This year’s slate includes just three games against the perennial contender Lakers — on Jan. 17 and Feb. 16 at Staples Center, and at Vivint Arena on March 31. The other Western Conference teams they face just three times apiece are the Clippers, Grizzlies, and Spurs.
The two matchups with the defending champion Bucks take place Oct. 31 in Milwaukee and March 14 in Salt Lake City
Holiday matchups this year include the Bucks on Halloween; a home Christmas game vs. the Mavericks; a Vivint Arena back-to-back on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day against the Wolves and Warriors, respectively; MLK Day vs. the Lakers; and Valentine’s Day in SLC against the Rockets. They also play the day before (at OKC) and after (home vs. the Pelicans) Thanksgiving.