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JAZZ DON’T WANT A REPEAT OF DENVER

SHARE JAZZ DON’T WANT A REPEAT OF DENVER

While the Utah Jazz were falling hopelessly behind the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Clippers were experiencing similar problems at home against the Miami Heat.

Down 40-14 at the end of the first quarter, the Clippers succumbed to an all-too-familiar 16-point loss.The Jazz, meanwhile (in case you were spelunking somewhere), mounted perhaps the most amazing comeback in NBA history, at least in terms of margin overcome. Down a staggering 34 points at halftime, Utah roared back to post a 107-103 win.

"It was a crazy game," said Jazz guard John Stockton. "I've never seen anything crazier."

Then the Jazz got the day off Thursday to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families, or to watch tapes of Wednesday's game.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said he knew his team was going to have a hard time getting up for the Nuggets - he'd seen it coming in a lethargic second half against the Nets on Monday, and he'd said so after that game.

"I didn't say that the other night just because I wanted to talk," Sloan said.

So how do you think Sloan feels about tonight's game against the Los Angeles Clippers? If ever there was an opportunity for a letdown, this is it.

Part of the problem is that it's just hard to take the Clippers seriously, even though they're playing better than they have in recent seasons. They are finally getting something out of their center position, from the trio of Kevin Duckworth, Stanley Roberts and Bo Outlaw, and forward Loy Vaught recently rediscovered his game.

Fact is, if the playoffs were to start today, the Clippers would be the No. 6 seed, matched up against - you guessed it - the Jazz.

These teams met once already this month, in the second game of the season in Los Angeles. Utah escaped with a 95-90 win in that contest, as the Clippers shot just 41.3 percent from the field.