For the first time since the 2018-19 season, the NBA has returned to an 82-game schedule.
The full 2021-22 NBA season schedule was released on Friday, and the Utah Jazz are featured on some of the league’s marquee days.
The Jazz will play on Christmas Day against the Dallas Mavericks, on New Year’s Day against the Golden State Warriors and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day against the Los Angeles Lakers, three of the Jazz’s 26 nationally televised games.
After the 2019-20 season was suspended on March 11, 2020, following Rudy Gobert’s positive COVID-19 test in Oklahoma City, 22 teams resumed play in the Orlando bubble, but each of those teams only completed 72 regular season games.
Last year, the 2020-21 season was a truncated 72-game schedule that started in late December, but the NBA is hoping its scheduling problems are in the past and just in time for the league’s 75th anniversary season.
The Jazz open the 2021-22 season on Oct. 20 at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a night that is certain to include a warm welcome and thank you for Derrick Favors, who was traded to the Thunder in July.
The Jazz close out the regular season schedule on the road April 10 against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. In between, the Jazz will have two six-game homestands, one six-game road trip (their longest of the season) and play in 13 back-to-back sets.
If you’re looking for some dates to mark on the calendar, the Jazz will have plenty of high-profile contests to keep an eye on. On Halloween, they will play the defending champion Bucks in Milwaukee, a game which comes on the second night of the Jazz’s first back-to-back after they visit the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 30.
The revamped Miami Heat, featuring Kyle Lowry playing alongside Jimmy Butler, will play the Jazz twice in the span of a week, first in Miami on Nov. 6 then in Salt Lake City on Nov. 13, the third game of a five-game Jazz homestand.
On Dec. 15, the Los Angeles Clippers will visit Utah to play the Jazz for the first time since the second-round playoff series between the two teams last season. That postseason rematch marks the first game of the Jazz’s first six-game homestand.
The homestand also includes games against the San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves and concludes with the Christmas Day matchup against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.
The whole of the NBA world, not just the Jazz, will be anticipating the return of Jamal Murray, who suffered a torn ACL on April 12. Normal recovery time following surgery for a torn ACL usually falls between seven and nine months. That means that fans could see the Jazz face a fully healthy Denver Nuggets team when they visit Denver on Jan. 5 or Jan. 16.
The Jazz will host the Nuggets on Feb. 2, the first contest in the Jazz’s second six-game homestand of the season, which also includes games against the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Warriors, Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets.
Following that homestand, the Jazz’s final game before the All-Star break will be a nationally televised bout in Los Angeles on Feb. 16 against the star-studded Lakers roster which includes LeBron James, Anthony Davis and newly acquired Russell Westbrook.
The 2022 All-Star break will run from Feb. 17-24, but it’s likely that some Jazz players won’t have much of a break and will be featured in the NBA All-Star Game set for Feb. 20 in Cleveland.
The Jazz’s longest road trip of the season starts with a New York back-to-back set against the Knicks and Nets on March 20 and 21, respectively, before the Jazz visit the Boston Celtics, Hornets, Mavericks and Clippers.
The NBA voted to keep the Play-In Tournament to decide the last two playoff seeds in each conference. The 2022 Play-In Tournament will take place April 12-15, with the NBA playoffs set to begin April 16.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for June 2.