Donovan Mitchell put it this way: “The only things we’ll be missing are the crowds and the altitude.”
Everything else about the Rocky Mountain rivalry between the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets will be there when these two teams tip off their first-round playoff matchup Monday in the Orlando bubble.
Mitchell vs. Murray? Check.
Gobert vs. Jokic? Yep.
Two young teams looking to leave their mark on an NBA postseason unlike any before it? Definitely.
“They’re a terrific team and they’ve shown that all year long,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “They’re well-coached. The players know how to play together. They’ve got some special players. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’ll try to get prepared and get ready.”
The Jazz and Nuggets were locked into their 3-6 matchup before Snyder’s squad faced off with the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday evening. The Jazz improved to 44-28 on the year with a 118-112 victory, but the focus quickly shifted to Denver.
“It’s a good matchup. It’s the playoffs, everybody tunes up and really locks in,” said Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson, who scored 37 in a game at Denver earlier this year. “Every possession means something, so it’s going to be a good matchup for us. We’re going to go out there and compete and play hard, try to win this series. Take it one game at a time.”
Denver went 3-0 vs. Utah during the regular season, most recently escaping with a double-overtime win last week.
“The biggest thing you can take away from those games is how we can turn up the pressure on the defensive end, just trying to find ways to make it tougher on them,” Mitchell said. “They do a good job making it tough on us and I think if we come in with the right mindset as far as going in there attacking, making the extra pass… (Nikola) Jokic and Jamal (Murray) have a great two-man game, but they also have a great supporting cast. We just got to be ready for all the possibilities. We’re going to need a lot of scoring with Bojan (Bogdanović) being out… but I think we’re going to be alright.”
The series’ first game starts on Monday, Aug. 17, at The Field House in Orlando, Fla., at 11:30 a.m. (MT). It will air on AT&T SportsNet and ESPN.
Games 2 and 3 of the first-round matchup are scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 19 and Friday, Aug. 21 and will both tip off at 2 p.m. (MT) and be broadcast by AT&T SportsNet and TNT. Game 4 will take place on Sunday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. (MT) and will also be telecast by AT&T SportsNet and TNT.
If necessary, Games 5, 6 and 7 are scheduled for Aug. 25, Aug. 27 and Aug. 29 with times and location to be announced when available.
All first-round Jazz postseason games will be remotely broadcast locally on television and radio by AT&T SportsNet and The Zone Sports Network (97.5 FM, 1280 AM). A complete broadcast schedule will be available online at nba.com/jazz/schedule with the Channel Finder located at nba.com/jazz/broadcast.