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Utah Jazz Aim to Start 3-0 Against Rival Denver Nuggets

The Jazz have been resting while the Nuggets have been playing. Advantage or not?

Rudy Gobert blocks a shot by Nikola Jokic
Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz has started off 2-0 and will try to remain undefeated as they make their first appearance this season on national television tonight. The opponent? A team that has become a Utah Jazz rival in recent years, the Denver Nuggets.

It is a matchup that Jazz fans have become very familiar with in recent years. There are so many connections between the two teams. Both teams tout top-tier centers. Gobert vs Jokic. DPOY vs MVP. Both teams also have a great matchup of young guards in Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray although Murray will be out tonight as he is still recovering from last season’s ACL tear. Both teams have a great set of role players that do their job exceptionally well.

Another fun aspect of this game, as Jazz fans enjoy reminding Nuggets fans, is that both Gobert and Mitchell were traded to Utah from the Nuggets for next to nothing in both cases on draft night.

The two teams are connected in many ways and it has provided many nail-biting results on the court. Could tonight in Salt Lake City be another classic in the making?

Denver looked like they would be entering the matchup undefeated as well after taking down the Suns in Phoenix by double digits in their opener and following that up with a win at home over the Spurs. That was up until last night when the Nuggets only managed 87 points on their home court and dropped a game to the Cavaliers. Now they have had to travel to Salt Lake City and will play again tonight entering the game 2-1.

The Jazz, on the other hand, has had what feels like a millennium during the early basketball season since their last game. The Jazz last beat the Kings at home on Friday and have had three full days off. This appears to be an advantage to the Jazz from the outside, but that remains to be seen.

The Jazz may be undefeated at this point, but they have not looked their best. They have been unable to find a rhythm on the offensive end of the court shooting only 33.7% from three as a team. This comes after shooting 38.9% as a team from three last year. I suspect their percentage will improve a lot throughout the year, but will it improve after three days without a game, or will the Jazz look a little bit rusty?

The bright side of a little break is the Jazz are mostly healthy for this game. The only player on the injury report is Rudy Gay who will remain out for tonight’s game.

The Nuggets will certainly not have any rust after playing last night and they may be out for blood after playing terribly on their home floor. The question for them is will they have firepower and gas in the tank to prevail?

With many Jazz fans unable to view Utah’s games despite being in Utah (*cough” ATT Sportsnet *cough*) it is likely for most of the nation that this game will be their first impression of the 2021 Utah Jazz. So what impression will the Jazz leave?

Tune in tonight at 8 PM on TNT to see if the Jazz can shake off any rust that may have developed and defeat Jokic and the Nuggets to stay undefeated.