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No number of home-away back-to-backs or other scheduling quirks will match the frenzy and frustrations of last year's lockout, with three games in three nights in three cities, but the Utah Jazz's schedule has left coach Tyrone Corbin scratching his head.
"I looked at the schedule when we first got it," Corbin said. "Some things have changed, and I don't know what made those changes.
Friday's game against Sacramento is a prime example: After hosting the Kings, the Jazz will catch a flight to Sacramento for a game at Sleep Train Arena on Saturday.
"I don't mind playing the same team back-to-back, but [it's better to have] a day or so to get into the city and watch film and fix the things you didn't like the night before," he said. "But we've played back-to-back games before and you get that, but a team here and then going to play the same team the next night in their building, it's a little different."
The last time the Jazz played consecutive games against the same team in a full-length regular season was January 2010, when they beat Memphis at home on a Wednesday, then lost on the road on a Friday.
This year, however, the Jazz play two back-to-back games against the same team, home and away. They play the Portland Trail Blazers on Feb. 1 at EnergySolutions Arena and the next night at the Rose Garden.
Watson to play?
All signs are pointing to Earl Watson making his season debut Friday against the Kings. Corbin smiled when asked Thursday about the trusty veteran guard.
"If he can go and everything's well," Corbin said, "he'll be in uniform tomorrow."
Watson last played on Easter and subsequently had surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee.
Corbin said he was still working on a plan to integrate Watson with a rotation that has seen veteran backup Jamaal Tinsley play well through a dozen games.
"Jamaal's been really good for us," Corbin said, "and we'd like to make sure we're OK with Earl and Jamaal and Mo [Williams]. It will work itself out. It's difficult to play three guys in the rotation, given the minutes they need to feel a good rhythm, but we'll figure it out."
Holiday with Cousins
With the Kings, the Jazz will need to contend once again with forward DeMarcus Cousins. The third-year Sacramento big man is averaging 16.6 points and 10 rebounds per game.
But that's nothing compared with what he usually does to the Jazz.
In eight games against Utah, Cousins averages 20.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Statistically, he plays better only against Phoenix.
"He's a talented big man," Corbin said. "He's a big body we have to do a good job of getting him off his spot, making sure he don't get the ball close to the basket. He's a load when he gets it next to the paint.
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