SALT LAKE CITY — For the second time, the NBA has released a schedule for the 2011-12 season.
Only this time, it's for real.
Assuming players and owners ratify the tentative collective bargaining agreement, that is.
As far as the Utah Jazz are concerned, a real interesting 66-game schedule — the second-shortest in franchise history — begins Dec. 27 in Los Angeles. It ends only 121 nights later at home against Northwest Division rival Portland.
The Jazz start their condensed and unlocked NBA season at Staples Center against the Lakers in a TNT-televised game two days after the league tips off with a Christmas Day quintupleheader.
The opener begins a stretch of six games in eight nights for the Jazz, who play at Denver on Dec. 28, rest on Dec. 29, make their home debut Dec. 30 against the Philadelphia 76ers and then travel to San Antonio for a New Year's Eve showdown with the Spurs. Utah then has back-to-back home games against New Orleans (Jan. 2) and Milwaukee (Jan. 3).
So, the important question: When will The Jimmer and D-Will visit?
Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette's Sacramento Kings will be in Utah twice — once more than the original schedule — on Jan. 28 and March 30. Utah also plays the Kings twice on the road.
Deron Williams, assuming he isn't dealt by the Nets as rumors suggest might happen, and New Jersey will make their only trip to Utah on Jan. 14, almost a year after he was traded by the Jazz.
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James' Miami Heat will play in Utah on March 2, but the Jazz won't pay a return visit to South Beach. Chicago's Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer will not play in Utah, but the Jazz will visit the Windy City.
One thing that stands out about the Jazz's schedule is the amount of times they'll play in three consecutive nights. All 30 teams are required to play at least one back-to-back-to-back set due to the condensed time frame, but Utah ended up with only one triple tilt — Feb. 12-14 at Memphis, New Orleans and Oklahoma City.
Some thought the Jazz would get more undesirable triples. The organization requests the NBA not schedule home games on Sunday because many Utah fans won't attend sporting events on the Sabbath Day.
Being the only main tenant in the building helped Utah's cause, Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor suggested. (In comparison, the Utah Blaze indoor football team only has three games in the NBA window while Staples Center has to deal with the Lakers, Clippers and NHL Kings.)
O'Connor was also satisfied the Jazz have only 20 regular back-to-back games in a compressed schedule, which he said "is not crazy over what we normally do."
No NBA team ended up with three back-to-back-to-backs, as had been warned might happen.
"I think (NBA schedule-maker) Matt Winick has done a terrific job," O'Connor said.
And, really, because the lockout wiped out nearly two months of schedule time, it's going to be a wild ride for everybody in the league.
"The guys that adapt to it are the guys who are going to be able to succeed," O'Connor added. "There are 33 at home and 33 on the road. We'll play them as they come."
That said, a rough-looking stretch of the schedule from Feb. 2-April 2 does jump out at the Jazz.
In that time jam-packed period, Utah has 22 road games, including a five-game trip, compared to just 12 home games. The five-day All-Star break in Orlando (Feb. 26 game) is in there, too.
"It is going to be road-heavy because we have a lot of home games in January," O'Connor said.
Case in point: Twelve of the Jazz's 15 games in 2012's first month are at home.
Having a home-heavy beginning of the season should help this young Jazz team, though, right? That might help them come together early on and weather the late storm, perhaps?
"Playing well will benefit us," O'Connor replied.
Other scheduling items of interest:
The Jazz have 12 nationally televised games: six on ESPN, two on TNT, four on NBA TV. The Celtics have the most national TV games with 31; Cleveland and Toronto only have one.
Utah has four dates with just six teams: NBA champion Dallas, Golden State, Lakers, Portland, Sacramento and San Antonio.
Utah will face Portland six times, including two preseason contests, but the Jazz will see a dozen Eastern Conference teams only once.
The Jazz will play nine Eastern Conference teams on the road, including Boston, New Jersey, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Cleveland, Indiana and New York.
But Utah won't visit Florida (Miami and Orlando), Canada (Toronto), Milwaukee, Detroit or Washington.
Only 22 of the Jazz's 66 games will not be included in a back-to-back set of some sort.
Jazz fans won't get a chance to see six Eastern teams in person at ESA this season, including the Bulls, Celtics, Hawks, Knicks, Pacers and Bobcats.
Cleveland, New Jersey and Philadelphia are the only three East teams Utah will see twice.
Starting on Dec. 27 means the Jazz will play 66 games in 122 nights, equating to a game every 1.85 days.
The Jazz ended up with six Sunday games (none at home): at Denver, Memphis, Houston, Lakers, Atlanta and San Antonio.
Holiday games: New Year's Eve at San Antonio; Valentine's Day at Oklahoma City (only trip); St. Patrick's Day vs. Golden State; NCAA Finals at Portland.
Unfortunately, the NBA did not throw in surprise friendlies against the likes of Besiktas, Turk Telekom Ankara or CSKA Moscow.
UTAH JAZZ 2011-2012 SCHEDULE
Mon 19 @ Portland Preseason 8:00pm
Wed 21 vs Portland Preseason 7:00pm
Tue 27 @ LA Lakers 8:30pm
Wed 28 @ Denver 7:00pm
Fri 30 vs Philadelphia 7:00pm
Sat 31 @ San Antonio 6:30pm
Mon 02 vs New Orleans 7:00pm
Tue 03 vs Milwaukee 7:00pm
Fri 06 vs Memphis 7:00pm
Sat 07 @ Golden State 8:30pm
Tue 10 vs Cleveland 7:00pm
Wed 11 vs LA Lakers 7:00pm
Sat 14 vs New Jersey 7:00pm
Sun 15 @ Denver 6:00pm
Tue 17 vs LA Clippers 7:00pm
Thu 19 vs Dallas 8:30pm
Sat 21 vs Minnesota 7:00pm
Wed 25 vs Toronto 7:00pm
Fri 27 @ Dallas 6:30pm
Sat 28 vs Sacramento 7:00pm
Mon 30 vs Portland 7:00pm
Wed 01 vs LA Clippers 8:30pm
Thu 02 @ Golden State 8:30pm
Sat 04 vs LA Lakers 7:00pm
Mon 06 @ New York 5:30pm
Tue 07 @ Indiana 5:00pm
Fri 10 vs Oklahoma City 8:30pm
Sun 12 @ Memphis 7:30pm
Mon 13 @ New Orleans 6:00pm
Tue 14 @ Oklahoma City 6:00pm
Fri 17 vs Washington 7:00pm
Sun 19 @ Houston 5:00pm
Mon 20 vs San Antonio 7:00pm
Wed 22 @ Minnesota 6:00pm
Tue 28 @ Sacramento 8:00pm
Wed 29 vs Houston 7:00pm
Fri 02 vs Miami 7:00pm
Sat 03 @ Dallas 6:30pm
Mon 05 @ Cleveland 5:00pm
Wed 07 @ Charlotte 5:00pm
Fri 09 @ Philadelphia 5:00pm
Sat 10 @ Chicago 6:00pm
Mon 12 vs Detroit 7:00pm
Wed 14 @ Phoenix 8:30pm
Thu 15 vs Minnesota 7:00pm
Sat 17 vs Golden State 7:00pm
Sun 18 @ LA Lakers 7:30pm
Tue 20 vs Oklahoma City 7:00pm
Thu 22 @ Sacramento 8:00pm
Fri 23 vs Denver 8:30pm
Sun 25 @ Atlanta 4:00pm
Mon 26 @ New Jersey 5:30pm
Wed 28 @ Boston 5:30pm
Fri 30 vs Sacramento 7:00pm
Sat 31 @ LA Clippers 8:30pm
Mon 02 @ Portland 8:00pm
Wed 04 vs Phoenix 7:00pm
Fri 06 vs Golden State 7:00pm
Sun 08 @ San Antonio 5:00pm
Mon 09 vs San Antonio 7:00pm
Wed 11 @ Houston 6:00pm
Fri 13 @ New Orleans 6:00pm
Sat 14 @ Memphis 6:00pm
Mon 16 vs Dallas 7:00pm
Wed 18 @ Portland 8:00pm
Sat 21 vs Orlando 8:30pm
Tue 24 vs Phoenix 7:00pm
Thu 26 vs Portland 6:00pm