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Utah Jazz ready to begin regular season

Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder huddles with guards Dante' Exum, left, and Donovan Mitchell during the first quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. . (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz just beat the Sacrament Kings in preseason 132-93 last week and Wednesday night the team will tip off its regular season with Kings hosting again.

This time it counts though and the squad expects to see a much livelier Sacramento club.

“We have to forget about that game. That was a preseason game,” Jazz forward Derrick Favors said. “Now, we’re getting ready to go into the regular season where we’re playing them for real now, so we have to go in there with the right mentality and know that they’re going to come out ready.”

The game will tip-off at 8 P.M. MDT. Head coach Quin Snyder and his players continue to talk about building good habits and the word Jazz fans have heard often from Synder, “connectivity”.

“A lot of it for us is just our focus mentally,” Snyder said. “Some of our habits are there, but like anything, if you don’t do it, it can cease to become a habit and sometimes there’s a sense that in practice you work on those things, then in the game you go ahead and do what you want and maybe less attention to detail … less concentration.

“I feel like the last couple games we’ve been able to drill down on that more, and that’s what competition does for you.”

Favors said the preseason does serve its purpose for teams as it prepares them for the regular season.

“We’re a lot better. Obviously, that first preseason game everybody was getting back used to playing in the system,” Favors said. “In the offseason, you play more one-on-one type basketball, so we had to come back and play in the system, so throughout the whole preseason we just worked on that connectivity, and I think we found it and got it back.”

The Jazz players are all entering the year healthy and ready to go, but despite returning most of its team from last year the players will have some new challenges. There were many questions entering last year about expectations. This year everyone knows who the Jazz are and expectations are high.

ESPN released its first power rankings of the season and list the Jazz #6 in their Basketball Power Index (BPI) rankings. BPI uses advanced statistical analysis to measure each team’s offensive and defensive levels relative to an average team.

Tip-off against the Kings is the season opener for both teams as well and it also begins the 40th season the Jazz have played in the Beehive State. The organization is paying tribute to that anniversary in many ways. There will be two hashtags for the season #TeamIsEverything and #TakeNote will stay as well.

Two large scale murals were also announced to be painted in downtown Salt Lake to commemorate the 40th season.

“We look forward to celebrating the 40th season of Jazz basketball,” said Steve Starks, president of the Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment. “The incredible community support for this team is felt throughout the organization, and we can’t wait to tip off another promising season.”

The Utah Jazz’s first home game is Friday against the defending champions Golden State. Tip off is at 8:30 P.M. and will be televised on ESPN.