SALT LAKE CITY — Despite their home cities being separated by just over 500 miles, the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets don’t have a rich playoff history, having squared off in just five series total and only one other time before this year since 1994.
That lone meeting occurred 10 years ago, and this year’s first-round series, which the Nuggets extended to Game 6 with a comeback win on Tuesday, is shaping up to be very similar to that one.
Cutting to the chase, the Jazz won that 2010 first-round matchup in six games, something they’ll have the opportunity to do Thursday afternoon. More closely, Utah closed out that series in Game 6 after losing Game 1, winning three straight and then losing in Game 5.
Much like this year as the Jazz don’t have an injured Bojan Bogdanovic, the 2010 Utah team was minus star forward Andrei Kirilenko, who had a calf injury. In Game 1, things were tight most of the way, as Denver led by just two entering the fourth quarter. With Jazz center Mehmet Okur having also gotten hurt during the game, though, the Nuggets ultimately won 126-113 in Denver.
Utah responded by winning the next three contests in the series, just as it did this year. While the order of how it happened was different, the Jazz won two of them very comfortably and one of them close, just like this year.
In Game 2, they held on for a 114-111 victory, then won Game 3 by 12 after leading by 16 heading into the fourth quarter. In Game 4, Utah led by 18 going into the fourth before ultimately winning by 11.
And just as happened in Tuesday’s Game 5, the Nuggets in 2010 used a strong second half to stave off elimination. With the Jazz up two at halftime, Denver outscored Utah 66-50 in the last two quarters to win by 14 and extend the series.
Perhaps some good news for the 2020 Jazz? In Game 6 in 2010, Utah got off to a strong start and led by nine after the first quarter. The Nuggets cut the deficit to just two at halftime, and the Jazz led by three entering the fourth quarter.
The game was close late, but Utah pulled away to get the win and advance to the second round, where it fell to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers.