Oklahoma City Thunder (14-8, 4-5 road) at Utah Jazz (10-10, 5-4 home), 8PM CST at Vivint Smart Home Arena
Offensive Rating*: Thunder 110.76 (2nd), Jazz 106.34 (8th)
Defensive Rating*: Thunder 103.46 (21st), Jazz 104.11 (17th)
Simple Rating System**: Thunder 6.42 (3rd), Hawks 2.63 (8th)
*An estimate of points produced or allowed per 100 possessions
**A team rating that takes into account strength of schedule and point differential. Zero is league average.
OKC’s win streak now sits at three straight games, with impressive victories over some savvy veteran squads like the Hawks and the Grizzlies.
Utah is a divisional rival with up and coming young stars such as Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks. If you can remember back to November 23rd’s matchup, Utah’s players and fans still don’t particularly care for Enes Kanter. Vivint Smart Home Arena is typically one of the louder arenas in the entire league.
OKC’s frontcourt has been remarkable against opposing bigs as of late. DeMarcus Cousins, Zach Randolph, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford have all been held under 10 points in the last three contests. Derrick Favors has averaged over 17 points per game, so Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka will seek to continue their dominant defensive performance.
Non-obvious player to watch, Utah: Rodney Hood two guard. The Duke product is finding some consistent playing time under coach Quin Snyder. In almost 30 minutes of playtime, he’s averaged almost 12 points. His assist and rebound numbers are modest to say the least, but they’ve both risen with more minutes. Hood is now a core member of Snyder’s roation.
Non-obvious player to watch, Oklahoma City: Andre Roberson. The Jazz rely on an inside-out attack that starts on the perimeter with Gordon Hayward. It’s likely that Roberson will split the Hayward assignment with Durant tonight. The Jazz have several other guards who can shoot and drive the ball, so he will have his hands full.