Tonight the Utah Jazz face off against mountain range rivals, the Denver Nuggets. Utah is the worst team in the west right now and who knows what the status is going to be come gametime for Gordon Hayward (Hip
Sexor Flexor) and Marvin Williams (Illness (?)). Those are two of our starters. Of course, Denver has their own trouble right now with Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, Anthony Randolph, and Darrell Arthur all either injured, hurt, or suspended. (Or in the case of Miller, maybe more than one thing, he's probably suspended right now and feels hurt.)
The 12-26 Jazz are now 7-11 at home, but still only 2-5 against their own division. The Nuggets are aiming for the playoffs and at 19-17 are in the current 9th seed. They are a respectable 8-9 at home and a very commendable 7-3 against the other teams in the North West division. We've played twice so far and are 1-1, and will play two more times. The Jazz lost to the Nuggets 100-81 at home back on November 11th; and the jazz beat the Nuggets 103-93 in Denver. For the record the Jazz lead the all-time series 101-72, and the Jazz are a dominant 68-19 at home. In the playoffs the Jazz and Nuggets faced off four times, and each time the Jazz ended up beating the Nuggets: in '84 (3-2), '85 (4-1), '94 (4-3), and '10 (4-2). That's a 11-8 record there, or 4-0 if you are looking at series wins.
But this rivalry is more than just location. And it's more than just the wins and losses. It's about the individual memories we have about playing the Nuggets. Who can forget having to worry about
Chris Jackson, er, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, J.R. Smith, Chauncey Billups, Alex English, Dale Ellis, Allen Iverson, Darrell Walker, Kenyon Martin, Voshon Lenard, Brian Williams, er, Bison Dele, Lafayette Lever, Robert Pack, Michael Adams, Carmelo Anthony, LaPhonso Ellis, Jon Barry, Tom Hammonds, Eduardo Najera, Bryant Stith, Tim Legler, Marcus Camby, Bill Hanzlik, Nene, Renaldo Balkman, James Posey, Linas Kleiza, Dan Issel (if you old), Raef LaFrentz, Rodney Rogers, Kiki Vandeweghe . . . and of course . . . Dikembe Mutombo. (The Mt. Mutombo to the Alps that is former Denver Nuggets draft pick Rudy Gobert)
I dislike a lot of those players listed above, not all of them, but a lot of them are guys I could care less about. I remember the thuggery. I remember stuff from years ago (like fouling Felton Spencer to send him to the line in crunch time) and stuff that's recent (Arron Afflalo trying to decapitate Gordon Hayward). I remember the good times and the bad.
On Twitter I asked what did YOU remember, and here are a few memories.
@slcdunk our very first playoff series in 1984. 1st ever playoff for Jazz. Plus the fireworks in the Salt Palace nearly smoked out the gm— Max Chang (@chang_max) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk Den/UTA memory: Skipping the game in '96 and missing the 36-pt comback; at least I skipped it to go out with the woman i married— Tyler Barton (@Fake_Hustler) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk Memo breaking his body for the team— Mike (@UtahJazzTime) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk 30+ point comeback— Jeff C (@carty64) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk the time that they both showed excellent sportsmanship and everyone had fun!— Zach (@TimTromboner) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk Obviously for me, it's the '96 comeback.. http://t.co/P5vTAC2JSP— Justin Baker (@jbakerslc) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk Carlos arroyo buzzer beater in 05 I think??— Doug Cartwright (@Doug_Cartwright) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk Linas Kleiza's 41 points— Kam Wall (@lakerh8r) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk Fesenko's friends.— Ben Anderson (@BenKFAN) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk LHM punching that Nuggets fan.— JTP (@UGottaLovItBaby) January 13, 2014
@UGottaLovItBaby @slcdunk Karl Malone wagging his finger at Dikembe Mutumbo at the end of Game 7 of the 2nd round of the 1994 Playoffs.— Tom Grover (@tomgrover) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk Melo Fans of Utah ad, followed by Denver loss in playoffs.— Jack Lundquist (@kidao3) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk always, when we won the playoff series, seeing a scuffle where a Jazz fan punched a Nugget fan, nearly sending him off upper bowl— brandon cooper (@bcoopsta) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk the time that both teams got matching tattoos and went out for a lovely pasta dinner afterwards— tom carter (@tcarter03) January 13, 2014
@slcdunk Fesenko? Fesenko?— Sean (@seanp33) January 13, 2014
And the future revealed:
@slcdunk Marvin Williams flu game on 1/13/14.— Zach (@TimTromboner) January 13, 2014