Time: 7:00 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Thunder is on the second night of back-to-back, defeating the Atlanta Hawks 120-117 on Friday night in Oklahoma City via a Russell Westbrook game-winner. The team has loaded up and shipped west for tonight’s showdown — the final game of the season-series between the Thunder and Utah Jazz.
The Thunder and Jazz met just days ago, with OKC cruising to a 107-79 victory on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. It was one of the most impressive Thunder wins of the season, as the team jumped on the Jazz early and coasted down the stretch. The first two games between the teams this season were more competitive — and with Donovan Mitchell likely to return for Utah — another close one could be on deck.
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CT on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder is currently a 1.5 point favorite according to Odds Shark.
- Donovan Mitchell: Probable — Toe
- Rudy Gobert: Out — PCL
- Raul Neto: Out — Concussion
- Dante Exum: Out — Shoulder
Jazz: Ricky Rubio, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, Jonas Jerebko, Derrick Favors
|Team||EFG%||FTA Rate||TOV%||OREB%||OPP EFG%||OPP FTA||OPP TOV%||OPP OREB%|
OKC leads season-series 2-1
Oct. 19: UTAH 96, OKC 87 [BOX SCORE]
Dec. 5: OKC 100, UTAH 94 [BOX SCORE]
Dec. 20: OKC 107, UTAH 79 [BOX SCORE]
Airing Grievances. The Thunder had another terrible night at the free throw line against the Hawks on Friday, dropping the season average from the stripe to just above 70 percent. Furthermore, the Hawks hit 15 long balls and kept themselves alive with frequent splashes from three. If OKC wants to win tonight, the team needs to hit its free throws and defend on the perimeter. Utah comes in converting 38.5 percent of attempts from downtown, good for third in the NBA.
Feats of Strength. The Thunder manhandled the Jazz on Wednesday in OKC, using a 25-9 first quarter to blow the game wide open. Russell Westbrook was particularly dominant, turning in a 24 point, 10 rebound, 7 assist performance on 10/13 shooting. If he can set the tone early yet again, it will go a long way for the Thunder. He’s on a four-game stretch of averaging 29.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 8.8 APG on 61 percent shooting.
Return of Donovan Mitchell. Donovan Mitchell sat out the last Thunder/Jazz match-up but looks prepared to return tonight in Salt Lake City. The super-rookie scored 31 points against OKC on December 5 and can provide much of the offensive firepower missing from the Jazz attack earlier this week.
Know Your Role, Melo. Carmelo Anthony hit 7/12 three-pointers en route to scoring 24 points in last night’s win over Atlanta. He said after the game that he’s coming to accept his role — a statement he can back up with another solid outing tonight. He’s infinitely more dangerous in catch-and-shoot situations than he is when trying to create in other ways. For more on how this changes the Thunder offense, check out this awesome piece from ESPN’s Andre Snellings.
Highlight from Wednesday’s dunk fest: Paul George going up and over Derrick Favors. More of that aggression tonight, good sir.