On Oct. 21st, in Salt Lake City, the Jazz defeated the Thunder 96-87, one of the worst game played by Oklahoma City so far. More than a month later, and despite two consecutive wins, the Thunder are still looking for their identity and for a way to finally make use of all the available talent on the new roster.
The Jazz will be on the second night of a back to back which would mean for any other team that the batteries are empty and the likeliness for a loss is higher. Not for the Jazz, though: Utah is currently 4-1 on games played on the second night of a back to back.
Keys to the Game
Three Points Line – This will be an important factor on both ends of the floor. The Jazz rank 3rd in three points percentage at 39%. Thunder’s defense hasn’t been bad so far this season: opponents shot only 35% from behind the arc against the Thunder (10th in the league). However, against Utah, an extra effort will be essential. On offense, Oklahoma City has to find a way to unlock its potential. There are too many good three points players on the team to be only ranked 26th at a 34.2%.
Move The Ball – There have been already steps in the right direction, there is the intention to move the ball and to look for the best shot possible. In the past couple of games, the Thunder averaged 282 passes per game, which is still not a high number (it would be ranked 24th in the league) but it looks way better than what the team averaged before that: 259.4, obviously dead last within the thirty teams.
Don’t Relax – It’s hard to ask a team to give 48 minutes full effort in a December game, but the Thunder have the bad habit to slow down during the second half of games. The Team absolutely must improve on this aspect of their game in order to be successful, ideally starting tonight.
Oklahoma City Thunder
- Rodney Hood – Ankle (Day to day)
- Joe Johnson – Wrist (Expected to be out until at least Dec. 13th)
- Dante Exum – Shoulder (Expected to be out until at least March 1st)
Oklahoma City Thunder
PPG 102.1 – OPP PTS 99.0
FG% 44.0 – 3PT% 34.2 – FT% 73.0
APG 21.1 – RPG 42.8 – TOV 15.3
PPG 103.7 – OPP PTS 98.7
FG% 45.6 – 3PT% 39.0 – FT% 81.9
APG 22.2 – RPG 40.8– TOV 14.8
Cover Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images