LeBron James has played his career in the Eastern Conference. As a result, the Utah Jazz only get one home game against him per season.
It seems that the Jazz get up for every game against James. Maybe there's a sense of pride for each player to play his best against the greatest athlete in the world, or maybe the Jazz like putting on a show for their fans.
Whatever the reason, Jazz vs. James usually feels more like a Game 7 rather than a regular season game. The Jazz face off against the Cavaliers twice a season, and over the past few years, the Jazz have played them tight.
That isn't to say James has played poorly against the Jazz, not by a long shot. One of his first career 50-point games came versus the Jazz in 2006, when he dropped 51 in a drubbing of the Jazz . Nevertheless, James is only 5-8 in his career in Utah and has lost five straight.
Here are the memorable moments throughout the years:
Deron Williams kicked off the string of great finishes in a 2007 nail-biter against the Cavs. James played out of his mind — he finished the game with 32 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists, a huge triple-double. He hit the game-tying 3 with six seconds left. Williams took the inbounds pass, drove the length of the floor and layed it in for the win.
The next big win came in 2010 against the Cavs. The Jazz had a big lead in the fourth quarter, but as James loves to do against the Jazz, he whittled the lead down and eventually took a two-point lead with five seconds left.
The Jazz struggled to get an open shot, and the ball found its way to Sundiata Gaines, an undrafted rookie on a 10-day contract with the Jazz. He shot the 3 while falling backwards, and it went through, nothing but net.
Later that same calendar year but in the next NBA season, James was playing for Miami and had the Heat up by eight with 28 seconds left in Miami. That's when Jazz forward Paul Millsap went on a historic run to give the Jazz a chance.
Millsap had previously made two 3s in his career before the last 28 seconds of the game. He proceeded to make 3 of 3 in the final stretch, and hit a game-tying layup to send it into overtime. He scored a career-high 46 points that game, including 11 points in the final 28 seconds, and the Jazz pulled out the win on two free throws with 0.4 seconds left.
The Jazz hung tough with the Heat in 2012, but trailed by two with four seconds left in the contest. Utah point guard Devin Harris took a pass, drove the lane, threw up a high-arching shot, got fouled and hit the shot. He hit the free throw, the Jazz defended a last-second shot by Udonis Haslem and then walked off the court with a victory.
James switched back over to the Cavs before the 2014-15 season, and played the Jazz tough in his first game back in Salt Lake. The Jazz had a three-point lead with three seconds left, before James pump-faked at halfcourt, got Derrick Favors off of his feet. James jumped into him and got the foul call. He calmly hit all three free throws to tie it up.
With one remaining chance, Gordon Hayward took the inbounds pass, took a step-back off the dribble and hit the game-winner over Tristan Thompson. The Jazz team mobbed him and nearly landed on owner Gail Miller.
Last March, the Jazz played with the regular fire and emotion that they bring against James in a 94-85 win without Gordon Hayward. While the game wasn't decided on the final play, it represented the type of game the Jazz bring against the Cavs.
With only a couple of minutes remaining in the game, Jazz forward Trey Lyles and Cavs forward Channing Frye got into a head-butting match, and each got ejected. That fire helped carry the Jazz to the eventual win.
Then at the beginning of the 2017 calendar year, Hayward starred with 28 points as Utah built a big lead and then held Cleveland off for a 100-92 victory.
Without a doubt, the presence alone of LeBron James stirs excitement and emotion in every city he visits. When he visits Utah, special things happen.
Ryan McDonald contributed to this report.