The Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets share the designation as the only NBA teams that permanently reside in MST (the Phoenix Suns go back and forth from Pacific and Mountain time since they ignore daylight savings). It’s nice to have the Jazz play an away game and the start time is still 7 P.M. and not some other time that I have to convert over to MST.
If nothing else, growing up in Utah gives you one skill: the ability to convert other time zones into Mountain Standard Time. No matter what event is happening, TV shows, sporting events, presidential inaugurations, they are always listed in Eastern, Central, or Pacific time. Most commonly Eastern.
Time is one of the several things that Utah and Colorado share. We share a reputation for good snow-sports, high altitudes, and, of course, the Rocky Mountains (though Colorado has more of them). Showdowns between Utah and Colorado teams being called the “Rocky Mountain Rivalry.” That nickname spans multiple sports (soccer and basketball being most prominent).
In recent years, both of these teams have been as forgotten as the time zones they live in. In three season from 2013-2016, Denver and Utah had a combined record of 202-290 (.411). There has been little to pay attention to in the intermountain west.
Things are changing for the Jazz, but they aren’t for the Nuggets. While Denver is slowly building back up from a 30-win 2014-15 campaign (their worst since 2002-03), they still project to finish below .500 for a fourth straight year.
The rivalry was tight from 2008-2015 (eight seasons), with the series nearly even at 15-12 in favor of the Nuggets. Four of those season series were split 2-2, and there were no season sweeps in that period. But the Jazz have won seven of the last eight contests by an average of 12.4 points.
I don’t know how many Jazz fans dislike the Nuggets, much less consider them rivals. But we do share some things with them. One day, far in the future, these two teams might be duking it out for Western Conference dominance and incite one of the most intense rivalries in the NBA. Who knows.