The Nuggets had a big game on Monday. Tonight they have an even bigger one.
The division leading Jazz are rolling into town on a nine game winning streak. They have not lost since none other than the Denver Nuggets beat them almost three weeks ago.
Signs are pointing to Camby missing tonight's game, but he has not yet been ruled out. With or without Marcus the Nuggets will have to submit another Herculean effort to pull this one out.
In honor of tonight's game I have teamed up with the boys over at My Utah Jazz. I have asked them a few questions and Boozers Hammy was kind enough to answer them for me.
Jeremy: How confident are you that Utah will win the Northwest Division? Do you believe the Nuggets and/or Blazers are a legitimate threat?
Boozers Hammy: As of today I am 99% sure that the Jazz will win the division, if they can win tonight in Denver it will go to 100%. The biggest reason is the remaining schedule for the Jazz is very favorable for us and there is not a team in the league who will be favored to win in our arena. The Blazers had a nice run, but they are showing the signs of slipping. The Nuggets are legit threat, but injuries and bone headed ejections/fouls seem to always ruin them.
Jeremy: Describe your reaction in eight words or more to Linas Kleiza scoring 41 points against the Jazz in the previous meeting?
Boozers Hammy: Who the hell is Linas Kleiza? Oh yeah - another one of the scrubs that the Jazz turn into All Stars. Dude hustles all the time and that will always get you some points against Booze.
Jeremy: What player other than Boozer, Williams or Okur will be the X factor in the game for Utah?
Boozers Hammy: Have to go with Korver here. He is really shooting the ball well so you better get out and defend him. Kirilenko may put up some number as well after being out sick last game.
Jeremy: Is Jerry Sloan just accepting the fact that the Jazz have no chance to be a solid defensive team or does the Jazz inability to stop anyone going to slowly grind him down to the point where he snaps and begins choking Okur in one hand and Boozer in the other?
Boozers Hammy: The Jazz have actually been playing a lot better defense during the winning streak. This team is never going to be a top 5 defensive team, but as long they can string together 3 or 4 stops in row each quarter they should fine. I think Sloan is already beaten down. He has to hate the way this team plays, but its working so he lets it go.
Jeremy: Do you guys realize that the Jazz advancing to the Western Conference Finals last season was a complete fluke or do you still cling to the notion that Utah is really that good?
Boozers Hammy: The only fluke last year was that the Warriors beat the Mavericks paving the way for the Jazz. To our credit though we took care of business and got some great experience to lean on this year. As for being that good, I will defer to John Hollinger of ESPN.com and what he said about the Jazz being a title contender, "I think the Jazz are absolutely, positively championship-caliber material. That doesn't mean they're going to win it, or even get out of the first round given how difficult the West is. But as of today I like their chances as much as anyone's." That’s right, CHAMPIONSHIP-CALIBER MATERIAL. Obviously I agree with him here.
As Jim Rome would say, that was an excellent interview. Great questions by me.
I definitely have to agree with the Jazz having a much more favorable schedule from here on out. As I have pointed out the Nuggets have their toughest stretch from now through the end of March.
Thanks again to Boozers Hammy and you can see my answers to their inquiries once they are posted over at My Utah Jazz.