Utah Jazz (14-13, 3-8 road) vs. OKC Thunder (21-6, 9-1 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.8 (4th), Jazz– 104.4 (10th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.8 (15th), Jazz – 105.0 (20th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.5 (4th), Jazz – 90.9 (18th)
View from the enemy: Salt City Hoops
Is it just me or does it feel like the Thunder just played this team? The thing about that win in Utah on Friday was that the Thunder seemed to sort of cruise to a win. It wasn’t really easy necessarily, but it didn’t look like OKC had to work for it. The Thunder caught a break as Paul Millsap didn’t play that well and the Jazz couldn’t get to the free throw line.
Utah is finishing up its back-to-back-to-back though tonight and coming off an ugly loss to the Hornets. They’ve dropped five of seven and desperately need a good win tonight to get back in the conversation of being taken seriously. So I’d expect a good shot from the Jazz in this one.
Utah coming in: The Jazz lost last night to New Orleans and have dropped five of seven.
Three Big Things
1. Defending the paint. I don’t know if it was Serge Ibaka’s work on him or if it was just a bad night, but beating the Jazz starts with limiting Millsap. Both on the glass and in the paint. Between Al Jefferson and Millsap, the Jazz want to beat you with easy baskets inside. The more they get, the worse it gets.
2. Turnovers. It’s still an issue, and still something the Thunder have to do better with.
3. KD against Gordon Hayward. It’s the biggest edge OKC has. Hayward just has no chance of guarding Durant. Whether in the post, off the dribble or in transition, the ball needs to find KD’s hands as much as possible. Durant didn’t have to do much in Friday’s game because Russell Westbrook took care of it, but if things get tight, Durant should take over.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Team OKC.