OKC Thunder (32-17, 14-10 road) at Utah Jazz (30-21, 17-9 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.2 (5th), Jazz – 108.9 (9th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 108.4 (17th), Jazz – 108.5 (18th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.0 (12th), Jazz – 90.8 (20th)
View from the enemy: Salt City Hoops
There’s no denying this is an important game for Oklahoma City. With the Utah series tied at 1-1, winning in Salt Lake would be a giant step in possibly winning the Northwest Division. Right now, the Thunder holds a three-game lead over the Jazz so not only is this another game up, it’s a leg up in a possible tie-breaker too.
The Thunder beat the Jazz in Utah the last time the two teams played and with the Jazz still hurting a bit (Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur are out and Deron Williams will play, but is nursing a sore wrist), OKC has a big opportunity.
Utah coming in: The Jazz took down the Nuggets in Denver last night but are just 3-7 in their last 10.
Honestly, one of my very favorite matchups to watch in this league is Russell Westbrook versus Deron Williams. Both are total brute point guards and both go at each other extremely hard. The game will be won or lost most likely in this matchup, but it’ll also be a ton of fun to watch.
With Kirilenko most likely out again, Gordan Hayward will start in his place. It’s safe to say Kevin Durant should chew up the rookie. C.J. Miles will absolutely see time on KD too, but hopefully Durant uses his size to get looks over Miles.
The big advantage for the Jazz is inside with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. Winning the boards probably won’t happen, but at least competing on the defensive glass is key. I would hope to see big minutes for Serge Ibaka in this one covering Jefferson, because as in the past, he’s done a really nice job.
It’ll be a little tough to come back fresh after last night’s up and down affair in Phoenix, but hopefully the Thunder has some legs left. Winning in Utah is tough for anyone, so it’ll take some big performances.
Tip at 8:00 CT. Go Thunderers.