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Game 76 preview: Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets

 

 

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Courtesy of: www.nba.com

 

Nuggets dawn new look, hope to down Jazz

 

The Nuggets will be wearing new green jerseys pictured above tonight as part of the NBA's "Go Green" program. Denver will also be in green April 4th against the Clippers.

I'm pretty excited for the uniform change of pace for the night, but not nearly as excited as I am to be in attendance this evening as the Nuggets face the Jazz! Going to these type of games is what being a fan is all about. I snagged 4 club level tickets for the game tonight and my buddy will be taking his son along with us. I can still remember some of the big games I went to as a wee-lad. I was there February 4, 1996 when Denver defeated the 72-10 Chicago Bulls (just their 4th loss of the season). Nothing compares to a sold out NBA arena and a crowd losing its collective minds.

 

Records:
Denver 49-26 (29-8 at home)
Utah 46-28 (14-22 on the road)

Season Series: Utah leads 2-1

Opposition's blog: SLC Dunk and True Blue Jazz

This is another game where we can say POSSIBLE PLAYOFF PREVIEW. If the playoffs started today these teams would be facing off in Round 1 as the Jazz sit in the 7th seed and Denver has overtaken the Spurs for the 2nd Seed.

The Jazz are truly a different team at home, where they are 32-6 than they are on the road (14-22). And the bad part for the Jazz is that 5 of their remaining 8 games are on the road versus Western Conference playoff teams:

  • April 2nd @ Denver
  • April 5th @ New Orleans
  • April 8th @ Dallas
  • April 10th @ San Antonio
  • April 14th @ L.A. Lakers (last game of their season)

The schedule gods did the Jazz no favors, though they do have 3 home games versus sub .500 teams (Minnesota, Golden State, and the L.A. Clippers) Utah is going to have to play almost perfectly over their final eight to avoid the 8th seed. So, that tells you how important this game is to the Jazz.

Utah is 2 1/2 games behind the Nuggets in the Northwest, but more importantly they are only 1 1/2 games ahead of the 8th Seeded Dallas Mavericks. You don't want to end up the 8th seed and be forced into a series with the Lakers. I remember all of too clearly the sweep Denver received last season from Kobe and Co.

Both teams need this game and though the Jazz, record wise, are not as good on the road DO NOT expect them to play poorly tonight.

Utah is coming off an embarrassing blowout loss at the hands of the Blazers on Tuesday night in Portland (125-104). I expect them to come out tonight refocused and ready to play. Both Carlos Boozer and coach Jerry Sloan were ejected Tuesday night as the Jazz lost their cool.

Nuggets fans can only hope Denver gives Utah the same frustration tonight at the Pepsi Center.

This game is also key for the Nuggets because with a win they not only hold on to the 2nd Seed, but they will also tie up the season series with the Jazz and Denver holds the tiebreaker with Utah because of our better division record (9-3 for Denver ... 10-4 for Utah.)

The Nuggets also should have a little bit of payback on their minds tonight after blowing a 19 point lead to the Jazz in Utah in their last meeting on March 6th. The Nuggets have no excuses for losing that game and should seek some revenge tonight.

The Jazz are 3-2 in their last 5 games and 5-5 in their last 10 contests. Denver is the hottest team in the West with a 9-1 in their last 10 games.

These are the games when being there live is so much better than watching at home on TNT. Tipoff tonight is late at 8:30 p.m. MTN and 10:30 p.m. out East. I'm thinking my Kentucky buddy will probably not be able to stay awake no matter the excitement level tonight.

I'm hoping that I can look back on this one and be glad I was at The Can. And more importantly I hope this is a game my buddy's son can say, "I was there" because it's never too early for a big game!

 

Pregame Notes:

  • The Nuggets can earn their 50th win of the season tonight ... whodathunkit?
  • In their last meeting on March 6th the Nuggets didn't score over 24 points in any quarter
  • Kenyon Martin grabbed only 1 rebound versus the New York Knicks in 34 minutes ... tying his season low when he grabbed only 1 rebound on January 20th against the Kings in 31 minutes, Martin averages 6.1 boards per game on the season.
  • J.R. Smith has averaged 22 point per game against the Jazz this season

 

 

 

ntimmons73@yahoo.com