Since the Jazz moved to Utah in 1979, they have faced the Los Angeles Lakers 174 times.
Unsurprisingly the Lakers lead the regular season series, going 88 - 55 since the Jazz moved to Utah, but the Lakers are only 17 - 14 against the Jazz in six playoff series.
During the 90s, the Lakers-Jazz rivalry was at its peak. The Showtime era of the Lakers was fading, and the Stockton-Malone led Jazz quickly replaced the Lakers as the Western Conference powerhouse.
Currently, the Jazz are battling with the Lakers for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Jazz control their own destiny, holding the tie breaker over the Lakers, however Los Angeles, which entered the season with high expectations, is looking to prove itself and justify its $100 million payroll.
Here are some of the greatest games of the Jazz-Lakers rivalry.
This game marked the first meeting of the Lakers and Jazz since the team moved from New Orleans.
Kareen Abdul-Jabar was one of five Lakers in double figures with 17 points.
Adrian Dantley led the Jazz with 27 points, but the Jazz went down early in the first and never recovered.
After losing eight straight to the Lakers since moving to Utah, the Jazz finally beat the defending champs at a home game in Salt Lake City.
Adrian Dantley scored 34 points for the Jazz.
After defeating Portland in the first round of the playoffs, the Jazz met the Lakers, who they had lost to 4 times during the regular season.
After losing the first game, Karl Malone's 29 points and 10 rebounds and Thurl Baily's 20 points off the bench helped the Jazz steal one on the road.
The Lakers won the series in seven games and went on to win the championship.
In the midst of a seven game winning streak, the Jazz mustered a late surge to defeat the Lakers in Los Angeles.
Karl Malone, John Stockton and Mark Eaton all had double-doubles on the night.
3 and a half years after Karl Malone questioned whether or not Magic Johnson should return to the NBA after contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, Johnson and the Lakers exacted revenge on Malone.
Johnson played 31 minutes, including all but one minute of the fourth quarter, at a variety of positions, starting with power forward where he guarded Utah's big men of Malone, Antoine Carr and Greg Foster.
"He's all over the floor," said Laker Cedric Ceballos, who added 18 points as one of five Lakers in double figures. "You can't really relegate him to one spot on the floor. Just put him on the floor, that's enough for us."
Malone and Johnson spoke before the game and made peace, but despite the conversation, Los Angeles fans booed Malone through most of the game.
In the midst of a 15-game winning streak, the Jazz continued their tear handing the Lakers their first home loss of the Shaq era.
The Mailman went eight for eight from the field for 20 points and tallied assists on the Jazz's other three field goals in the period as Utah pulled away from the Lakers en route to the victory.
Karl Malone scored 37 points and John Stockton notched yet another double-double to seal the victory.
"We've seen that performance a number of times over the years," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "That's why we leave him out there."
Continuing their second 15-game winning streak of the season, the Jazz disposed of a fiesty LA team and clinched the top seed in the Western Conference.
After clinching a goal they'd single-mindedly sought for 76 games and nearly six months, Utah Jazz stars Karl Malone and John Stockton celebrated by working out.
"It's a nice steppingstone toward where we want to be," said forward Adam Keefe, "but it doesn't mean anything to win 60 games if you go out in the first round of the playoffs."
After a wild overtime finish, the Jazz clinched a berth in the Western Conference Finals.
The Mailman delivered, netting 32 points and grabbing 20 rebounds.
"I don't see anyone in here celebrating," shrugged Carr. "It's not over yet. If we win a championship, then we'll celebrate."
The Jazz won the Western Conference championship against the Houston Rockets, but lost the Finals to the Chicago Bulls in six games.
At the beginning of the 1997-98 season, the Lakers continued their best start in franchise history with a win over Utah. For it's part, the Utah Jazz was in the middle of the franchise's worst start since 1990.
The Jazz blew a late lead handing the victory to the Lakers.
Greg Ostertag, who struggled severely during the start of the 1997-98 season, played his best game of the year to that point. He scored six points, blocked two shots and pulled down three rebounds.
"I'm really hurting this team," said Ostertag. "The guys - and especially the coaches - are looking for me to do something out there, and I've pretty much disappeared. I'm not doing anything for this team."
Sixth man Kobe Bryant single handedly outscored the entire Jazz bench 19-17.
The Jazz finished off a great day in Utah basketball defeating the Lakers with Karl Malone matching Shaquille O'Neal's 31 points.
Between the third and fourth quarters, the Utah Utes finished off the North Carolina Tarheels in the Final Four to advance to the NCAA championship game.
"It was playoff intensity and then, of course, the Utes won," said Jazz forward Karl Malone. "It was a good all-around thing for the state of Utah. Our game was a big game, but I think the Utah game was a lot bigger game than ours, that's for sure."
Laker forward Rick Fox was hit with a double whammy with the loss. Fox played for North Carolina in college.
On their way to another NBA finals appearance, the hot handed Jazz swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals.
19-year-old Kobe Bryant turned down a prom invitation to play in the series.
"I had to turn it down," Bryant said. "I'm in the playoffs."
Leading into the game, Laker coach Del Harris responded to critics by saying it was not the right time to reinvent the Lakers.
"We won 61 games and are in the final four, so why would I change the line-up? Why would I put in a new offense? Why would I react like a moron and panic?"
Despite the lockout shortened season, the Jazz were riding a 20-game regular season home winning streak coming into the game.
The Jazz could not execute down the stretch, and lost the game, and the streak, in the process.
Kobe Bryant scored 24 points, and Shaquille O'Neal added 23 points and 16 rebounds. Karl Malone led Utah with 34 points and John Stockton added 16.
In a nationally televised game on TBS, the Jazz took the Lakers in to double overtime before eeking out a win.
Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Glen Rice combined for 82 Laker points, but it was not enough.
The Jazz were led by Rookie Quincy Lewis who scored five of his 11 points in the second OT and and Greg Ostertag who snagged 14 rebounds and played 40 minutes. Both players said afterward the game didn't matter much.
"When you look back," said Lewis. "It's going to be (one) win."
"I don't think you want to go around beating yourself on the chest, saying we won," said coach Jerry Sloan. "I don't think it was a great basketball game — from either team's standpoint."
In a heated road game, coach Jerry Sloan and center Greg Ostertag were both tossed within six minutes of each other.
Despite the ejections, the Jazz played tough with Andrei Kirilenko scoring 30 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
The Jazz suffered two losses to the Lakers in less than a month.
Kobe Bryant shined in both games scoring 40 and 42 points respectively. Yet, he tried sounding quite humble about it all.
"To tell you the truth . . . I don't know," he said when asked if this latest effort adds to his growing legend. "I'm just trying to help my team win."
But Jazz coach Jerry Sloan knew better.
Calling him "one of the greatest . . . who has played this game," Sloan lauded the 24-year-old Bryant for imposing his will on a night Lakers All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal stayed home with a sore knee.
The return of the Mailman to Salt Lake City was tense and controversial. Due to injury, Karl Malone, who joined the Lakers in the offseason, did not play.
However, a skit by the Jazz mascot referencing Malone and alluding to the sexual assault allegations against Kobe Bryant did not sit well with the Mailman.
"I had said that I wasn't going to say nothing about the Jazz, but that was no class from that organization. I was there for 18 years. Not only was I surprised by that, but I was surprised that Larry Miller was involved in it."
The Jazz later issued an apology.
For the first game of the 2004 season, the Utah Jazz threw a block party, literally.
Andrei Kirilenko, five days removed from a six-year, $86 million contract extension, dominated the Lakers with eight of the 14 blocks by the Jazz that night, and he got started early.
On the very first possession for the Lakers, Kirilenko rejected Kobe Bryant's running jumper. On the other end, he slammed home the rebound of Giricek's missed 20-footer. Thirty-nine seconds later, he blocked Lamar Odom's layup. And less than a minute after that, he swatted away a shot from Chris Mihm.
The win marked not only the Jazz debut of Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and rookies Kirk Snyder and Kris Humphries, but also a return to Utah for former John Stockton backup Howard Eisley, who was signed earlier in the day for much-needed relief at the point.
In one of the worst starts in franchise history, the Lakers handed the Jazz their tenth loss in 16 games.
Down by as many as 14 in the third, the Jazz rallied to get within two six different times before Devin Brown finally tied it at 89 with two free throws. And when Matt Harpring made two freebies of his own, Utah had its first lead of the game — at 91-90, with just 23.8 seconds to go in regulation.
A controversial foul by Devin Brown on Kobe Bryant down the stretch, however, allowed crucial free throws to force overtime, and Sasha Vujacic hit a late three to seal the victory for the Lakers.
"I didn't see the foul," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who started to head to the locker room with what he thought was a win. "That's why I took two steps the other way — and that's why you don't do that."
The Jazz received a late Christmas gift while facing the Lakers two times in three days.
Kobe Bryant was serving a two game suspension for clothes-lining Memphis' Mike Miller. Not to mention that Andrei Kirilenko was in rare form.
Kirilenko posted a rare five-by-five night at the Delta Center and brought the Jazz to 16-16. The win was Utah's fifth consecutive victory. Jazz owner Larry Miller was bouncing around the Jazz locker room with such spring in his step after the game that Kirilenko didn't seem to know whether he should steal him, block him, pass him, score him or simply pull him down off the boards.
"Five-by-five game," Miller said of Kirilenko's 14-point, nine-assist, eight-rebound, seven-block, six-steal performance. "That is cool."
The Kobe-less Lakers struggled, and the Jazz took both games.
In an absolute drubbing, the Lakers led by Kobe Bryant, beat the Jazz by 30 points.
Bryant finished with a season-high 52 points in L.A.'s 132-102 victory over the league-leading Jazz, including 30 that came on 9-of-9 shooting in the third quarter alone.
The Laker win was preceded by a Jazz win, after which Laker coach Phil Jackson complained omplained about the officiating in what he called a "roughhouse" game.
"That's him," then-Jazz guard Derek Fisher said. "I mean, he's always in playoff mode, and tweak mode and push-button mode. So, it's not a surprise ... knowing that we were coming there in five or six days.
"He probably can write that off as a business expense," Fisher added with a laugh. "You know, it's part of his job."
Coming into the game, the Jazz were one win shy of setting a franchise record for the longest home win streak.
As they have so many times before, the Lakers played spoiler.
After outscoring the Jazz 38-18 in the first quarter, the Lakers never looked back. All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer suggested the Jazz had no one to blame but themselves.
"We just came out and started taking jumpshots a little bit, ran the wrong offense," said Boozer, who 3-for-7 in the first quarter but finished with a 23-point, 15-rebound double-double. "Then we started running the right offense, and started to come back a little bit."
Once again, the Lakers and the Jazz met in the Western Conference playoffs.
After going down 2-1 in Western Conference semis, the Jazz pulled off a thrilling overtime victory to even the series. The Jazz held the Lakers to two field goals in overtime and went 9-for-9 from the foul line while outscoring the Lakers 15-7.
"We never have any doubts in our confidence," said Andrei Kirilenko, who blocked Bryant twice in overtime and converted a three-point play with 35 seconds remaining to help the Jazz pull away.
Despite the win, the Jazz would go on to lose the series in six to the Lakers, who would eventually win the Championship.
As if the Jazz' early playoff exit wasn't painful enough, head coach Jerry Sloan was ejected from the game 5 loss to the Lakers.
"I never regret it," Sloan, who exited with one miniute and nine seconds remaining. "I never worry about it. It's not about money or anything. It's just I view (it as) trying to support your team sometimes.
"Sometimes I do it the wrong way. I've got a trigger that's a little different than some other people, I guess. And so I have to take the consequences on it, and not run around and feel sorry about it."
The beginning of the end for the Sloan era of the Jazz came when Utah was unceremoniously swept by the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs.
"We're a playoff team — just not a championship team," Jazz All-Star point guard Deron Williams said. "I think we need a couple more pieces, and until we get those pieces we'll be a four or five seed. Challenging."
"They've got about all you want," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They've got experience, they've got guys that are long and big and can play inside."
Once again the Lakers would go on to win the championship.