LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the defending champion Miami Heat made their way to Salt Lake City Monday night to face off against the Jazz at “The Solution”. There always seems to be something special in the air when the champs come to town. Fans seem to have a little extra bounce in their step, the airwaves are abuzz with talk about Ray Allen and LeBron, and sadly, there are plenty of Heat jerseys inside the arena. I wanted to take an inside look at the game day experience for Jazz fans on one of the biggest nights of the year.
One of the more difficult parts of attending a big Jazz game is finding a decent parking spot that you can afford. There are various lots around the arena that charge all sorts of cash; here is a little secret Jazz fans, don’t park in any of them! Instead, make your way to Crown Burger just up the street. It is just a short walk away and if you buy $14 worth of food, essentially two combo meals, they let you park in their lot for free. So, for the price of regular parking you get to eat one of the best burgers in the state and park for free; you just can’t beat that. Plus, it is a crazy atmosphere with tons of Jazz fans, making it the perfect place to start your game day festivities.
Once you get to the arena and boo the opposing team during their lineup introductions; it’s time for the lights to go out, the lasers to turn on and for Jazz bear to ride his motorcycle to center court and rev that engine as loud as he can. The speakers start blaring LL Cool J’s “It’s Time for War” and it’s on.
The Heat started out of the gates quickly with LeBron and Wade going straight into attack mode. The Jazz weathered the storm and ended the first quarter up 30-25. The second quarter saw the Jazz blitz the Heat behind, none other than DeMarre Carroll who did everything from knocking down jumpers to playing solid D on LeBron.
The Jazz entered the half up fifteen and it was awesome walking to the concessions stands and seeing the long faces on all the Heat fans. Of course, any Jazz game isn’t complete without getting one of those amazing pretzels that are soft as pillows and a Sprite to wash it all down.
The Jazz continued their amazing play into the third quarter and even stretched the lead to 19 entering the fourth. But with LeBron on the other side a fan can never be too comfortable, and you know what the experts always say; it’s the NBA and every team will always make a run. The Heat did just that; and it was excruciating to watch. All of a sudden the Jazz went colder than the arctic temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately and the Heat took advantage, eventually cutting the lead to three late in the game. Gordon Hayward made a huge step-back jumper over Ray Allen that ended up being the dagger and the Jazz would go on to win 104-97.
Jazz fans poured out of “The Solution” into the streets with shouts of “Go Jazz” and “Beat the Heat”…as well as a few other things that can’t be written here. There is nothing like high fiving that random stranger as you are walking out to your car or giving that slight smirk to the fan of the opposing team who’s walking away with their head down. Once you get in the car it’s time to flip on the radio and get all your post-game interviews and analysis and relive that sweet, sweet victory one more time.
Hopefully this just gives a tiny glimpse of what it’s like to go to a Jazz game. For those of you who have been, I am sure you all have your own traditions that you do each game to make it special. For those of you who haven’t made it to a game, do whatever you can to get down there on game night; it will be well worth your time. We Are Utah Jazz!