by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Spenser Heaps of Deseret News.
The Utah Jazz (31-32) starts off their six-game road trip against the Oklahoma City Thunder (28-34) after a disappointing loss on Tuesday.
What to Look For
After a three-day break after a disappointing loss on Tuesday, Utah will look to get back to .500. These next six-games for Utah could make big implications for the team whether they will become a threat for the playoffs or a threat for a lottery pick in the draft. Oklahoma City is in a similar situation as they’re currently on the outside looking in, just 2.5 games out for a spot in the play-in tournament. With this being potentially his last game in a Utah jersey, expect Kris Dunn to play a big factor off the bench as he is currently averaging 12.3 PPG, 4 APG, 3 RPG and 1.7 SPG. Even with a big defensive asset at the guard position in Dunn, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was unphased as he nearly dropped a triple-double in their last meeting with 39/8/7. With Gilgeous-Alexander out due to illness, Utah will be able to put more of their focus outside of the guard position. Though Oklahoma City had just eight steals in their last matchup against Utah, they also forced 22 turnovers. With the instability of Utah’s lineup at the moment, this number may be repeated on the road.
Key of the Game
Attack the paint. Oklahoma City’s tallest active player is Dario Saric at 6’10”. With players like Udoka Azubuike, Damian Jones, Walker Kessler, Lauri Markkanen and Kelly Olynyk all 6’10” or taller, this should be a problem for Oklahoma City. Expect to see Utah put a focus in the paint to exploit Oklahoma City’s lack of size.
Oklahoma City- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Out (health & safety protocols), Chet Holmgren: Out (foot), Aleksej Pokusevski: Out (leg), Kenrich Williams: Out (wrist)
Utah- Jordan Clarkson: Out (hand), Micah Potter: Out (G League), Collin Sexton: Out (hamstring)
Where to Watch
Tip-off between Oklahoma City and Utah will be at 6:00 p.m. MT on AT&T SportsNet.