This time, it will be under much different circumstances. The Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns resume their rivalry when they open the NBA season, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2 and 3. But instead of playing out their series in the western United States, it will be in Tokyo, in a precedent-setting affair.
The games, to be played at Tokyo's Metropolitan Gymnasium, will kick off the Jazz's 1990-91 schedule, announced Thursday. They will also mark the first time American professional sports teams have played regular-season games outside North America.The Nov. 2 game will be televised in the United States by TNT.
The Jazz open their home season Nov. 8 against Midwest Division champion San Antonio. On Nov. 13, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls will be in town. The world champion Detroit Pistons will play at the Salt Palace Dec. 5, and the Los Angeles Lakers come in on Dec. 7.
As usual, the Jazz will be on a pre-Christmas road swing. They will be gone Dec. 17-23, with road games at New Jersey, Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando and Miami. But the longest road trip of the year is an 11-day trip, from March 1 through March 11. Those games include stops at Detroit, Philadelphia, Orlando, Washington, Chicago, New York and San Antonio.
Other highlights include a national TV appearance on NBC, April 20 when the Lakers visit the Salt Palace. Three other possible NBC dates include Feb. 18 in Salt Lake aganst San Antonio; March 3 at Philadelphia; and April 21 at Golden State. The Jazz will also be featured three times on TNT, including the Nov. 2 game at Tokyo. The other two games are the Feb. 5 game at Minnesota and the March 13 game against Boston in the Salt Palace.
The Jazz will play 56 games against Western Conference opponents and 26 against Eastern Conference teams. They will meet Atlantic and Central Division teams once each at home and on the road, and play each Pacific Division team four times. In their own Midwest Division, the Jazz will meet Dallas, Minnesota, Orlando and San Antonio five times; Denver and Houston four times apiece.
For the complete schedule, see Scoreboard, D4.