Utah Jazz: Schedule-makers finally show franchise some respect

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s not often that a spotlight hovers over the Utah Jazz on Christmas Day.

Yes, even in the case of the oft-overlooked Utah Jazz, it appears that putting up the NBA’s outright best record in the regular season (52-20) is indeed sufficient to land a Christmas Day game the following season.

Hallelujah. It’s always overdue.

Despite reaching the playoffs in all but eight of the past 38 seasons, this will mark just the Jazz’s eighth Dec. 25 appearance in history and the only the second this century. Magnifying the frequent snubbing, it’s worth noting that the franchise is 5-2 all-time in its Christmas Day contests.

The other instances were in 1975, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1988, 1997, and 2018 (see highlights below). Now, notice that two of those years were before the team’s move from New Orleans. And another happened during the introductory campaign in Salt Lake City.

Four games to precede the Utah Jazz’s late Christmas show

On Tuesday, the NBA announced the Christmas Day slate. It features five games and a heavy supply of superstars, with the Utah Jazz welcoming Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks to town for an 8:30 p.m. MT showdown on ESPN.

ALSO READ: Ranking the Jazz Big 3 among the NBA’s best trios

First, though, at 10 a.m. on ESPN, the New York Knicks tip off the day’s festivities versus the Atlanta Hawks in the Big Apple.

Then at 12:30 p.m. on ABC, the Boston Celtics will play the Milwaukee Bucks on the defending champs’ home floor before the 3 p.m. battle on ABC between the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors in Arizona.

As for the evening affairs, the Jazz-Mavericks clash will follow the Brooklyn Nets’ 6 p.m. road date against the Los Angeles Lakers, which will air on both ESPN and ABC.

Next. Projecting the Jazz's rotation next season. dark

According to NBA.com, the entire 2021-22 schedule comes out on Friday.