Utah Jazz vs Oklahoma City Thunder Preview and Predictions -03-11-2020
When and where: March 11, 2020, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK, 8:00 PM ET
A Western Conference showdown between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder should whet the appetites for fans eager to see playoff basketball. It’s essentially a meeting between the fourth and fifth-ranked teams in the conference. Monday’s loss to the Toronto Raptors snapped a five-game winning streak for the Jazz. The Thunder, on the other hand, have won their last three straight games against the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons.
Gobert threatening to earn next ejection
It’s safe to say Jazz center Rudy Gobert wasn’t too pleased with being tossed from Monday’s game against the Raptors after getting into a verbal altercation with OG Anunoby. The Jazz can only hope his threats after the game were more about him blowing off steam than something he’s seriously considering doing.
“I don’t think it makes sense to me. But next time, I’ll do justice myself so the official can eject me for a reason,” Gobert said after the game, via ESPN.com.
With the Jazz vying for a playoff spot, the last thing they need is one of their best players being ejected or suspended for an important game down the stretch. The team has to figure out a way to get Gobert thinking more along the lines of the team instead of individual vendettas.
Despite being 6-point favorites, the Jazz got thumped in their home building in a 101-92 loss to the Raptors. We’ll see if they can bounce back in another tough defensive fight on the road against the Thunder.
The Jazz are currently ranked sixth in the league in offensive efficiency with opponents averaging 100.7 points in their last three outings. Their offense should be the lightning to Oklahoma City’s thunder in this much-anticipated tilt. The Thunder are sitting pretty with the league’s 10th-ranked defense.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this game is how well-rounded the two teams are this season. Along with boasting a top-10 scoring offense, the Jazz have a top-10 scoring defense capable of wreaking havoc on the league’s best offenses.
Thunder strikes down the Celtics
There will come a time and place when people stop underestimating the Thunder.
Not only did they cover as 6.5-point dogs, but they knocked off the Celtics at the TD Garden in a 105-104 victory. The win marked the third for the Thunder and kept them in the hunt for Utah’s No. 4 seed in the Western Conference standings.
They can continue to build on that opportunity in Wednesday’s run-in with the Jazz. Their greatest concern, however, is facing a Jazz team that ranks second in the league in 3-point shooting percentage. Oklahoma City boasts the seventh-best 3-point shooting defense with opponents averaging only 34.4 percent from long distance.
On the defensive end of the floor, teams are only averaging 108.3 points per game this season. The Jazz could be singing to a different tune if the Thunder gets their defensive clutches on them. But it won’t be easy considering the Jazz are one of the best road teams in basketball.
r game, and they are facing the Thunder’ 10th defense that allows 108.4 points per contest. The Celtics are the 9th in rebounds with 46.0 and 24th in assists with 22.9 per game.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are an American professional basketball team based in Oklahoma City. The Thunder compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division. The team plays its home games at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder’s NBA G League affiliate is the Oklahoma City Blue, which it owns. The Thunder are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma City previously hosted the New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans) for two seasons following devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
The team was originally established as the Seattle SuperSonics, an expansion team that joined the NBA for the 1967–68 season. The SuperSonics moved in 2008 after a settlement was reached between the ownership group led by Clay Bennett and lawmakers in Seattle, Washington following a lawsuit. In Seattle, the SuperSonics qualified for the NBA playoffs 22 times, won their division six times, advanced to three NBA Finals, and won the 1979 NBA Championship. In Oklahoma City, the Thunder qualified for their first playoff berth during the 2009–10 season. They won their first division title as the Thunder in the 2010–11 season and their first Western Conference championship as the Thunder in the 2011–12 season, appearing in the NBA Finals for the fourth time in franchise history and first time since 1996, when the team was based in Seattle.