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On Saturday, the Jazz will begin a three-game stretch on the road that will not only be tough, but will also take the Jazz’s longest-tenured players on a stroll down memory lane.

The first stop is in Milwaukee to face Giannis Antetokoumpo and the Bucks. But it’s another Bucks forward that will be more familiar to the Jazz — Joe Ingles.

Ingles still hasn’t played after the ACL injury and surgery that cut his season short before being traded away from the Jazz. Despite his recovery timetable, the Bucks signed Ingles in the offseason.

Ingles has begun on-court work and has even been getting reps in with the Bucks’ G League team, and earlier this week Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said that Ingles is getting close to returning, but warned that Ingles would need time to get his conditioning to a level that’s ready for an NBA game. Still, those are signs that could add a little more intrigue for Jazz fans who are certainly hoping that Ingles makes his season-debut against the Jazz.

From there, the Jazz head to Cleveland where they’ll face the Cavaliers for the first time since the trade that sent Donovan Mitchell east. Then the Jazz head to Detroit where they’ll see Bojan Bogdanovic and the Pistons.

“It’s gonna be a good road trip, good to see the guys, say what’s up. Everybody’s getting adjusted in their new cities,” Jordan Clarkson said before making sure he got it on record what the dinner plans would look like in each city. “Hopefully Joe’s got some good restaurants in Milwaukee for us. He’s paying, for sure. Then Don, yeah, you payin’ too. Then Bogey, he owes me, so he’s paying too.”

Analysis: Mike Conley’s impact in an overtime win against the Pelicans, plus thoughts on Walker Kessler and Nickeil Alexander-Walker

It’s sure to be a roadtrip where there’s a lot of love and good-spirited competition between former teammates. But it will not be an easy trip by any means.

The Bucks, led by Antetokounmpo, arguably the best player in the NBA, are coming off an obliterating 41-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night and they’re going to be out for blood.

“We know they’re gonna come out hard,” Clarkson said. “They just got beat by Memphis by a lot. So they’re gonna try to bounce back, for sure. But you know, we’re gonna come with energy and fight.”

After facing the Bucks, who are the No. 2 team in the East, the Jazz are going to be up against the Cavs, who are hot on the Bucks’ tail in the standings. Mitchell is having a career year with Cleveland, averaging 29.2 points per game while shooting 42.9% from 3 and 50.2% overall in 36 minutes per game, all career-highs.

When the Jazz last faced the Detroit Pistons in Salt Lake City on Nov. 23, the Jazz were without Mike Conley and the Pistons won. This time, the Jazz will be in Detroit on the second night of a back-to-back after having just faced the Cavaliers.

So, while there will be some warm and fuzzy feelings, this roadtrip is going to be a big test for the Jazz.

New with the Jazz

Evaluating the Jazz’s young bench players

This week in Jazz history

On Dec. 13, 2000 John Stockton collected his 14,000th career assist in a 111-102 loss to Milwaukee. When Stockton notched the assist, he increased his lead over No. 2 career assist man Magic Johnson (10,141 assists) to 3,859 assists. Stockton finished his career with 15,806 assists, which remains the most by any NBA player.

This week on ‘Unsalvageable’

Check out “Unsalvageable,” hosted by Deseret News Utah Jazz beat reporter Sarah Todd and lifelong Jazz fan Greg Foster (no, not that Greg Foster).

This week the crew recaps Rudy Gobert’s return to Utah and discusses why the “unwritten rules” of basketball are only appealing to losers.

The podcast has moved to a new feed, so remember to follow or subscribe by searching for “Unsalvageable” through your podcast provider.

New episodes come out every week. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you stream podcasts.

Stat of the week

Lauri Markkanen notched his 11th double-double of the season on Tuesday with a 19-point, 11-rebound performance in the Jazz’s 121-100 win over the West-leading New Orleans Pelicans. Markkanen had just five total double-doubles in the last two seasons before joining the Jazz.

From the archives

How ‘The Shot’ sent the Jazz to the ’97 Finals — and sunk Charles Barkley’s career
The Karl Malone-Isiah Thomas incident: Did the Mailman apologize?

Extra points

  • How Walker Kessler learned from being on the wrong side of a highlight (
  • Inside Rudy Gobert’s dramatic return to Utah (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • The secret to Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s recent success (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Six gift ideas for the Utah Jazz fans in your life (Deseret News)

Around the league

NBA All-Star voting opens on Tuesday and ends on Jan 21.

Warriors’ Stephen Curry could be out a few weeks with shoulder injury.

Mavericks’ Maxi Kleber out indefinitely after tearing hamstring during practice.

Up next

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Dec. 17 | 6 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Milwaukee Bucks | AT&T SportsNet

Dec. 19 | 5 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Cleveland Cavaliers | AT&T SportsNet

Dec. 20 | 5 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Detroit Pistons | AT&T SportsNet

Dec. 22 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Washington Wizards | AT&T SportsNet

Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles (2) dribbles past Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala during an NBA game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. The Jazz will face Ingles’ new team, the Milwaukee Bucks, Saturday night. | Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News
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