11/3 Utah at Denver
7:00 pm MT – AT&T SportsNet/League Pass
Opponent record: 4-1
Season series: Tied 0-0
Although the season is still very young, the Denver Nuggets have been one of the teams that I’ve been most impressed with thus far. The young backcourt of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris has been electrifying. Nikola Jokic is playing at an All-Star level. And former Jazzman Paul Millsap has been a steady veteran backbone for the rising team.
Oh yeah, and that’s not even taking into consideration that Denver is currently without Will Barton and Isaiah Thomas who are still recovering from injury. Once those two are back and presumably at their potential, this could be a dangerous team. They’ve proven as much already with a stellar 4-1 start. Sure, their lone loss to the Los Angeles Lakers was somewhat disappointing, but their other victories, including a gritty survival win over the Golden State Warriors, have been impressive.
Denver is never an easy place to play, and they’ve been a tough matchup for the Jazz in recent years. Utah has lost at the Pepsi Center four consecutive times the past two seasons, and may be hard-pressed to reverse their fate this time around.
That’s particularly true considering that this game will be taking place on the second night of a back-to-back for the Jazz. True, the flight from Salt Lake to Denver is easier than most, but the tired legs that could come after playing a physical Memphis team the night before could very well give Denver a significant edge.
This should be a very tightly-contested bout between two up-and-coming and formidable division rivals. However, between Denver’s staunch home court advantage, their recent success over the Jazz in the Mile High City and Utah’s back-to-back situation, I’m predicting that the red hot Nuggets will take the first contest between these two squads.
My Prediction: Nuggets Win
Final Score: Denver 117, Utah 108
The third week of NBA action will be a vital testing ground for the Utah Jazz as they face a trio of daunting Western Conference foes, two of which are division rivals which could have major playoff implications down the road. Utah had a solid week last week, but they’ll have their work cut out for them as they aim to continue to assert their dominance and extend their current three-game winning streak into Week Three.