Thunder (56-21, 23-15 road) at Jazz (41-37, 29-10 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.6 (1st), Jazz– 107.1 (10th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.9 (6th), Jazz – 107.1 (21st)
Pace: Thunder – 93.4 (9th), Jazz – 91.0 (20th)
View from the enemy: Salt City Hoops
Seeing as I’d prefer the Lakers miss the postseason, I’m a little torn here. A win for the Jazz puts LA’s feet to the fire even more, but a loss for the Thunder would be really bad for the one-seed hopes. So basically, tonight’s game is kind of win-win.
For the sanity of the fanbase though, the Thunder probably need to try real hard to win this game. The loss to the Knicks caused a moderate level freakout and following it up with a dud against Utah would only exacerbate the issue. Utah’s great at home though and desperately needs this game. So it won’t be easy.
Utah coming in: Beat the Warriors on Sunday.
Three Big Things
1. Boards. The Knicks pounded OKC on the glass Sunday, and there’s no secret the Jazz will attempt to do the same. Their bigs are physical and tough, so cleaning up misses will be extremely important. It’s one thing to get a stop. It’s another to have to get two or three every trip down the floor.
2. Home Jazz. The Jazz are 29-10 at home. That’s no accident.
3. KD. The last trip the Thunder took to Salt Lake, OKC got worked in the fourth quarter and KD picked up the first flagrant of his career. And he was not happy with the way Jazz fans treated him, tweeting as such after the game. I can tell you this: KD hasn’t forgotten. He was extremely angry about that game and the fans’ actions, and might just take tonight’s game a little more personally.
Tip at 8:00 CT. Go Team.