Preview 31 of 82: Jazz @ Thunder
Time: 7:00 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
Tonight the Thunder (15-15) faces off against another division rival, the Utah Jazz (14-17) and everything seems to be heading in the Thunder’s favor. The Jazz is dealing with a slew of injuries including their two best players: center Rudy Gobert and rookie-phenom Donovan Mitchell. Furthermore, OKC is an 8-point favorite at home and Russell Westbrook is coming off an all-star performance (38-9-6) on Monday night.
If Steven Adams is back in the starting lineup tonight, then this game is really OKC’s to lose (story of this season though, am I right?).
- Steven Adams: Probable – Concussion
- Derrick Favors: Probable – Concussion
- Donovan Mitchell: Out – Toe
- Raul Neto: Out – Concussion
- Rudy Gobert: Out – Knee
- Dante Exum: Out – Shoulder
Jazz: Rubio, Hood, Ingles, Jerebko, Favors
Oct 21: 96 UTAH, 87 OKC
Dec 5: 100 OKC, 94 UTAH
- Rolling Thunder. The Thunder has won three of the last four games and is 7-3 so far in December. In November, the Thunder finished 4-9. Don’t get too excited yet, but things may be turning around for OKC.
- PG Struggling. In Paul George’s last five games, he has only shot at or above .500 from the field once. In Monday’s win, he shot 3-for-13 from the field and 1-for-6 from three. Not good.
- Control Rodney Hood. With their leading scorer (Mitchell) out, the Jazz will rely heavily on Rodney Hood for point production. In Utah’s loss to Houston on Monday, Hood had 26 points and shot 5-for-10 from three-point range. The Thunder has lost more than few games when the other team gets hot from three. Keeping Hood in check will be crucial to winning tonight.
- Less is More from Melo. Six shot attempts from Melo is probably much less than we should expect from him going forward. However, Melo’s shot selection has certainly improved over the last five games. He is taking fewer contested shots, needing the ball in his hands less, and opting for the extra pass to an open man. Can he keep it up though? Melo says yes. Stephen A. Smith says, “Oh, hell no.”