Each Tuesday at 5pm Utah Jazz radio voice David Locke joins the Big Show, Spence Checketts and Gordon Monsen, on the home of the Utah Jazz 97.5 FM. This week the topics included Trey Burks injury, the first two weeks of pre-season and is it better to win just 15 games.
It was Monday, October 15, 1979 and for the first time ever Salt Lake City residents could go see their own hometown team. The Utah jazz would take on the Milwaukee BucksThe Jazz started well scoring 37 points in the first quarter but they would lose to the Bucks 131 to 107. The Jazz starting Line-up on this night in Salt Lake City included the great Pistol Pete Maravich as well as Adrian Dantley, James Hardy and Gentel Ben Poquette. Maravich lead the Jazz with 29 and Dantley had 23. The the visiting Bucks had Junior Bridgemen whose 28 lead the Bucks along with Marques Johnson, Brian Winters, Dave Myers and Quinn Buckner in their lineup. The Bucks shot 59%. 7,721 attended the inaugural regular season game in Utah Jazz history.
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This is one of the toughest schedules I have seen. The youngsters are going to be tested early and often. The back to backs are brutal. The travel at times is horrendous and there are numerous serious tests on the schedule.
Start at the beginning. The Jazz open with OKC before playing their first road game against a poor Phoenix team and Jeff Hornacek. However, the Jazz play Friday the 1st in Phoenix and the next night at home v. Houston before flying East for a 4 games in 5 night stretch that includes Brooklyn and Chicago.
After that dip into the fire the Jazz schedule evens out for the Jazz. However, the next stretch is one of the toughest I have seen.
The Jazz play the 11th of December in Sacramento then go to Denver for one game before returning home for a back to back with San Antonio before leaving the next day to go East for 9 days. Jazz will have one night at home from Jan Dec 10th to Dec 24th and it will be a game day. Players and staff will not have dinner at home from Dec 8th to Christmas Eve.
January is pleasant with only two back to backs and 8 of the 13 games at home.
February is equally as soft as January in regards to home and road, 7 home games and 5 road but the back to backs are brutal. In Dallas with a game the next night at home v. Miami, In LA with a home game the next day v Philadelphia all in a span of 6 days. Add on an at Portland with Minnesota home the next day.
When February closes the Jazz get hit with a scheduling 2 by 4. They go on a 6 game 9 day road trip that spans Cleveland, Indiana, Milwaukee, Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Then comes “the have these guys grown” stretch. The Jazz play the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets and Grizzlies in a 4 games stretch from the 14th of March to the 19th of March. That will tell us if they have improved at all because all of those teams will be battling for home court in the West.
I have said this season will be interesting to watch how the young players deal with adversity. The three biggest tests will be
1 – Opening 4 games in 5 nights road trip that includes going through customs on the final night.
2 – Late Jan and Feb has home games to be won can they gain momentum - Minnesota, Washington, Sacramento, Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston and Phoenix.
3 – The aforementioned murder’s row in March. First is the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets and Grizzlies combination and then it is followed by Memphis, New Orleans, OKC, New York and Portland.
- What a start- OKC on opening night and then Houston with Dwight Howard making his first appearance on Saturday night. Hello season. The two favorites to win the West in the opening two games of the season. Heck, the entire opening month of November is a rundown of the best in the West, Denver, New Orleans, San Antonio and Golden State make up the next 4 games and with the off-season moves they all made that could be 6 playoff teams in the opening 6 home games. It doesn’t slow down after that, Derrick Rose makes his first appearance in over a year in SLC and the final home game of November is Jeff Hornacek’s return. Is it possible every game in November is a must see?
- Will Jazz fans see Kobe Bryant coming back from his Achilles? The first trip from the Lakers is Dec 27th and the 2nd game is April 14th the final home game of the year. Seems fair to anticipate that Kobe could be ready for both of those games.
- Lots of reunions, Jeff Hornacek returns as a head coach on November 29th, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver make their only visit on March 10th, Al Jefferson and Charlotte stop by on Dec 30th, Deron Williams plays the first game after the all-star break in SLC on Feb 19th and Carlos Boozer and Chicago comes into town on November 25th .
LOCKE TICKET PACKAGES
One game a month that is all I have time for
OKC in the opener in October, Derrick Rose is back on the floor when Chicago comes on November 25th, December 14th the Spurs are in town and it is worth seeing in person, if you haven’t seen Ricky Rubio then my January choice is Minnesota on Jan 21st. February is easy, the Heat are in town the 8th of Feb, in March as terrific as Chris Paul is to see in person the Hawks have every Jazz fans favorite players so see Millsap, DeMarre and Kyle on March 10th and in April the Blazers and Damian Lillard are in town on the 11th.
5 games I have to see package
OKC in the opener again, the first night with the jumbotron and Kevin Durant
Nov 18th v. Golden State – the addition of Iguodala and watching Steph Curry in person is awesome
Feb 8th – LeBron and the World Champion Heat – what else needs to be said
March 14th – Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers
April 14th – Lakers and Kobe – How many more times can we see Kobe and I don’t care what state the Lakers are in beating the Lakers is always awesome
- The first three road games the Jazz play are all against NBA rookie head coaches, Phoenix, Brooklyn and Boston.
- Of the Jazz 4 road games in LA (2 Clippers and 2 Lakers) all of them are a part of a back to back, with 3 of them have the road game on the back end of the back to back and one where Jazz play the Lakers and the next night are home against Philadelphia.
- Jazz have lots of games against the same opponent without much time in between. They play Phoenix and Minnesota in back to backs. They play the Kings twice in 5 days. They play the Lakers, Pelicans and Grizzlies twice in a week, and Golden State twice in 9 days. I will keep a close eye on how are guys do in these games where teams scouting will be extra sharp. Will be interesting to see how our players adjust.
Utah Jazz radio voice drops a Tip Off in on a —– filled day talking Paul Millsap, ownership and the Jazz next season.
Utah Jazz radio voice David Locke looks at game 3 of the finals, Jason Kidd, the Spurs uniquenes, avoiding turnover in the NBA, the Bucks off season, Gil Maskal and draft prospect Jamaal Franklin
The final 4 teams left in the Western Conference this year were the 4 best teams in the West in effective field goal % defense. ( Weighs three point shooting.) The top 5 defensive teams all made it to the round of 8 and the New York Knicks were the only team to make the Final 8 with a defense below the top 15 in the NBA. You must play defense to win in the NBA.
For the last three seasons, the Utah Jazz have finished ranked 23rd, 19th and 21st defensively in the NBA. If the Jazz are competing with the best in the NBA they must become a better defensive team.
Last year the Jazz allowed 104.7 pts per 100 possessions. To move into the top 15 the Jazz would need to allow 103.0 and to move into the top 10 they would need to allow 101 pts per 100 possessions.
Therefore, I reviewed the last 20 plus years of NBA stats and found the 16 teams to have made a substantial (about 5 pts per 100 possessions) defensive jump from one year to the next. Over the next few weeks I will look at those 16 teams to see what made their defensive jump possible.
Note: I have not included any lockout shortened seasons.
DEFENSIVE IMPORVEMENT CASE STUDY #7 – Memphis 2010-11
DEFENSIVE CHANGE: This is really a two year span that does include a lock-out season but is still worth involving in this case study. In 09-10 Memphis allowed 109.9 pts per 100 possessions (19th in NBA), then in 10-11 they allowed 105.1 (9th) and in the lockout season of 101.8 pts per 100 possessions. This will focus on the move from 09-10 to 10-11
INSIDE THE FOUR FACTORS: in 09-10 the Grizzlies were 25th in opponents EFG% then improved to 18th , they were 20th in forcing turnovers and made a huge jump to #1 in the NBA, they were 20th in defensive rebounding and they stayed the same and they were 3rd best in not fouling and in the improved year fouled much more putting them 14th in the NBA. The Grizzlies were 10th in pace of play in 09-10 and then in the improved year slowed down slightly to 15th.
PLAYER MOVEMENT: In 09-10 the Grizzlies started Conley, Mayo, Gay, Randolph and Gasol. The bench was Sam Young, Marcus Williams and Hasheem Thabeet. The year of improvement made one signigifant change adding Tony Allen from Boston and Rudy Gay got hurt. .
COACHING: This was Lionel Hollins second year as the head coach of the Grizzlies. The staff was Johnny Davis, Barry Hecker, Damon Stoudamire, Henry Bibby and David Joerger. This was the same staff the previous season.
CONCLUSION: The Grizzlies did this largely by becoming more aggressive and forcing more turnovers and even fouling more than they had in the past. The addition of Tony Allen was a huge part of this however, much of this has to do with Hollins 2nd year as the head man and understanding what his team needs to do to be better. The next year the Grizzlies went to 9th in the NBA. The improvement in condition and play of Marc Gasol is a huge part of this as well.
Utah Jazz radio voice David Locke stopped by KUTV for Talkin Sports and answered 7 questions from Dave Fox about the Jazz season and looked ahead to the off-season