Jazz fans and sports bars adjusting to unusual NBA playoffs schedule

Aug 17, 2020, 6:52 PM
Utah Jazz fans and sports bar owners adjusting to unusual NBA playoffs schedule...
(Donovan MItchell, right, going for a shot against Nuggets' Nikola Jokic in Game 1. Credit: AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool, via Deseret News)
(Donovan MItchell, right, going for a shot against Nuggets' Nikola Jokic in Game 1. Credit: AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool, via Deseret News)

WEST VALLEY CITY – Despite an amazing performance from Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz suffered a heartbreaking loss in the first game of their playoffs series against the Denver Nuggets, 135-125.  Some fans and sports bar managers say this could be the most unusual NBA playoffs they’ll ever see, and they’re trying to adjust to this kind of format.

Before noon on a Monday isn’t exactly the start time most fans are used to for a Jazz game in the NBA playoffs.  Yet, thanks to COVID-19, that’s exactly when the Jazz and the Nuggets started playing in their first game of their first-round series.  Donovan Mitchell put up 57 points, but the Nuggets won in overtime.

Even with the early tip-off, if you were to walk into The Break Sports Grill in West Valley, you shouldn’t be surprised to see die-hard fans like Gary James.  He’s thrilled just to see any games being played, at all, although, he says the season before the playoffs were so short, he doesn’t know what to expect from the team.

James says, “I’m going to watch the games because I’m a big fan, and I enjoy basketball, but I’m not expecting a lot.”

This kind of tournament format isn’t exactly something sports bar operators haven’t seen before.  The Break General Manager Ryan Oliver says it’s similar to what they see during the NCAA Championship, but in many ways, it doesn’t have that NBA playoff feel.

“These start times have been interesting.  I understand they’re all playing on the same court, so they’ve got to schedule appropriately, but these 11 o’clock or 12 o’clock start times are a little different,” Oliver says.  “We have our fingers crossed that they’ll do well.  We have our fingers crossed that the interest will be there.”

The Shorthanded Jazz

The absence of two Jazz starters is expected to have a major impact in their playoffs series against the Nuggets.  Bojan Bogdanović had season-ending wrist surgery in May, when the league wasn’t sure if any kind of playoff tournament would be played, at all.  Mike Conley left “The Bubble” for the birth of his son, Elijah. 

Conley will be allowed to return, but he’ll have be isolated for a while.

“As long as a guy who is away from ‘The Bubble’ can get tested for coronavirus every day while they’re gone and return those negative tests, they can come back and quarantine for about four days from the time they entered to the time they’re cleared,” according to KSL Jazz Insider Ben Anderson.

With Bogdanović and Conley out, Anderson says the Jazz will have to make serious adjustments against Denver.  He believes they’re going to shoot as many three-point shots in the early stages of the game as they can.

Anderson says, “It’s kind of like a boxer who just throws big punches and hopes, ‘Hey, if I can land one, if I can land a haymaker, I can win that boxing match.’  The Jazz are hoping they can hit 20 three-pointers a game.”

The next game is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m. Utah time.



Utah Jazz Guard Mike Conley, wife share photos of newborn son Elijah

3 keys in the Utah Jazz’s 135-125 overtime loss to Denver Nuggets in Game 1

History made by Jazz Guard Donovan Mitchell

Today’s Top Stories


Special Olympics Unified soccer teams compete for championship....
Waverly Golden

Special Olympics Unified soccer teams compete for state championship title

This afternoon Utah’s top 16 Special Olympics Unified soccer teams competed for the state championship title at the RSL soccer stadium.
2 days ago
Team owner Dell Loy Hansen and Utah Royal players. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News...
Adam Small

Former Utah Royals owner and coach named in women’s soccer abuse investigation

The former Utah Royals were named in a report alleging that the National Women's Soccer League has contributed in abuse of players.
3 days ago
David Close and Eric Levenson, CNN

Investigation finds systemic abuse, misconduct within women’s professional soccer

The report was based on more than 200 interviews and reveals the National Women's Soccer League failed to provide a safe environment for players.
3 days ago
The Cottonwood Colts football team  (Courtesy of Deseret News)...
Chandler Holt

Cottonwood High School wins football game in bizarre fashion

There are over 14,000 high school football teams in the United States. Cottonwood High School's game against Jordan had an ending you probably haven't seen before.
4 days ago
Hurricane Tropical Storm Sally...
Amanda Dickson

Hurricane days were like snow days

For those who have spent time in Florida, like KSL NewsRadio's Amanda Dickson, hurricane days are much like snow days here in Utah.
8 days ago
Aaron Lowe...
Waverly Golden

One year since the passing of Utah football player Aaron Lowe

A year ago, University of Utah defensive back Aaron Lowe was fatally shot in a Sugar House neighborhood following a house party.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Jazz fans and sports bars adjusting to unusual NBA playoffs schedule