NBA Regular Season: Denver Nuggets (8-6) at Utah Jazz (7-7) -- Game Preview

Ezra Shaw

Game #15 • EnergySolutions Arena • Salt Lake City, UT • November 26, 2012 • 7:00 p.m. (MT) • TV: ROOT Sports • RADIO: 1280 AM/97.5 FM and 1600 AM ESPN Deportes

NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 15:

Denver Nuggets (8-6) @ Utah Jazz (7-7)

#DENatUTA Game Stream -- Denver Stiffs (SB Nation Blog) -- Nuggets vs Jazz coverage

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The Basics:

This is the third game in four nights for the Jazz (vs. SAC, @ SAC, no game, vs. DEN). It is also the third game in four nights for the Nuggets (vs. GSW, no game, vs. NOR, @ UTA). They played last night, and we did not. These two teams played each other earlier in the season and Denver won at home. Since that game, the Nuggets have gone 5 and 3. So have the Jazz. The Nuggets are on a four game win streak, and are looking to increase it to 5 in a row. The Jazz were nursing a three game win streak that ended with a loss in Sacramento. Had they won that game, then both would be looking for their 5th win a row.

I would consider this a rivalry game, but I'm just a hater like that. It should also be payback for that spanking we took in their gym a few weeks ago.

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History:

The Jazz and Nuggets play each other four times this season, and we have already played our division rivals once already. Back on November 9th the Nuggets absolutely abused us from the get-go, and cruised to a 104-84 victory. It was a complete de-pantsing on National TV. The Nuggets went on a 6-1 run and 6-0 in the first quarter. Then a 17-2 run in the second. Then a 14-8 run in the third. And then finished the game on 11-5 and 12-2 runs in the fourth. They had their way with our entire team.

If our team has any heart they'll remember this and come out looking to even the score.

I can imagine that after suffering blowouts, the night before a revenge game rematch John would call Karl up in the middle of the night (both of them unable to sleep) to discuss just how precisely they were going to "kick the sh*t out of those muvaf***ers tomorrow night." I actually don't see that hard edge from this group. I can see them making a tend and pretending to be camping, all on Al Jefferson 's bed instead.

It's a different NBA, and we're a different Jazz team.

BUT, we're playing at home, and we should expect to win there. Jazz need to step up and not just defend their home court against a super hot team; but also reclaim their manhood.

Did I mention that I kinda hate the Nuggets? The Jazz are 67-16 against Denver in Utah. They're also 99-68 overall in the head to head matchup. This is a different NBA, and a different Jazz team. But I am expecting the same results. I'm not going to compromise and lower my expectations in a rivalry game -- after we got blown out for 20 on national TV against these guys in the same month.

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The Game:

Jazz gotta win, there is no acceptable alternative. Ty Lawson is a super speedy guard but kind of having a down season (41.2 fg%, 59.6 ft%). Andre Iguodala is having a bounce back year, but he's not the perfect player. Danilo Gallinari is one of those tall, Ryan Anderson -like stretch SF/PF types. But he's only shooting 21.9 3pt%. Kenneth Faried is having a great season (12.9 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 55.9 fg%), but he's an energy guy. He shouldn't be killing guys who actually are more talented basketball players. Andre Miller makes Jamaal Tinsley feel young. Corey Brewer had a good game against us last time, but he's no Randy Foye. Kosta Koufos -- somehow starts and is having a great positive effect on his team. JaVale McGee has athletic ability, but is a few trips to the Wizard of Oz away from being a real NBA force.

I know that Mo Williams will be out tonight, and I know that some people think the Nuggets were supposed to be Top 3 in the West this year or something, but that doesn't mean they should win tonight.

They're a good team. But we're at home, and we shouldn't play like chopped lived every game.

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Word from the Badguys:

No words from the badguys tonight. I would not be that civil.

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X-Factors:

I really thin a huge factor, an X-Factor if you will, will be the guys on both teams who are between 5.0 to 9.9 shots a game. It's these "not-stars" but major contributors who'll make a big difference in this game. So for the Denver Nuggets it's the Kenneth Faried / Corey Brewer / JaVale McGee / Kosta Koufos dudes I'm worried about. I'm already worried about Danilo Gallinari, Andrei Oguodala, Ty Lawson, and Andre Miller. So I guess I'm *also* worried about their non-primary scorers / facilitators. We have a handful of dudes who also fit that bill, in Randy Foye, Marvin Williams, and Derrick Favors.

They'll be without Wilson Chandler, and we'll be without Mo Williams. So these 'other guys' are going to factor greater in both securing victory or contributing to a loss.

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As an aside:

For whatever reason I really don't like the Nuggets. I don't like the Los Angeles Lakers (but they have all the championships), Chicago Bulls (but they beat our best teams), Houston Rockets (they got lucky), Portland Trail Blazers (boo!), and San Antonio Spurs (but I respect the heck out of them). For some reason I lump the Nuggets into that crew, and I think we've only played them in the playoffs twice or three times ever. (And only once out of the first round)

I guess it's the proximity thing? The Andrei Kirilenko / Carmelo Anthony thing? The LHM vs. Nuggets fans thing? Maybe something else entirely?

Whatever it is, I don't like the Nuggets. Some of their players are super talented and George Karl is a really good human being, and I'm friends with some Nuggets fans . . . odd. I just don't like them.

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Fearless Prediction:

Jazz lose. Why? No Mo Williams. No defense. They seem to be playing with no heart. Prove me wrong Jazz, I'll owe up to it if I'm wrong.

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