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Preview: Nuggets return to Salt Lake City for game with potentially unmotivated Jazz

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Will the Jazz rest any key players?

NBA: Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets will take on the Utah Jazz Tuesday night in Vivint Smart Home Arena, a game they will presumably try to win. Denver hasn’t done so in Utah since December of 2014, but there is reason to believe that the Jazz might rest some key players this time around.

A win for Denver isn’t essential to retaining the two-seed, but if they win out it’s theirs. How Utah will approach this game given their lack of such motivation is the story.


The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets (53-27) at Utah Jazz (49-31)

When: 7:00 PM MDT

Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena—which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

How to watch/listen: Altitude TV, AltitudeNOW.com, the AltitudeNOW app and Altitude Radio 92.5FM

Rival blog: SLC Dunk


Injury report

Denver: Michael Porter Jr. - OUT (back)

Utah: Kyle Korver - OUT (knee) | Ricky Rubio - OUT (quad) | Raul Neto - OUT (ankle) | Dante Exum - OUT (knee) | Derrick Favors - PROBABLE (back)


What to watch for:

Who on Utah will play? There’s not a ton of incentive to win this game for the Jazz and most teams are looking for an ideal time to get key players some rest this time of year. Cough cough. Will the Jazz be the next team to risk the wrath of these supposed basketball gods?

What will we see from Will Barton and Gary Harris? Barton has looked uncharacteristically lacking in confidence since returning from the first major injury of his career and literally the first surgery of his life. Harris, as Adam detailed here, hasn’t looked the same when attacking the rim for months now. Jokic and Murray have kept the offense afloat, with a little help from some key role players, but they’ll never play their best basketball without these guys producing at a higher level.

Crowd Intensity. The Nuggets and Jazz may be knocking on the door of a fun little rivalry. For obvious reasons, these teams seem somewhat intertwined. And the last time the Nuggets were in town Mason Plumlee and Derrick Favors had to be separated, leading to a suspension for Jokic. This crowd gets as loud and nasty as any in the league. How will they greet the Nuggets in their return to Salt Lake City?