Utah Jazz is visiting Oklahoma's Chesapeake Energy Arena with an 11-6 record, but a painful loss to Memphis in their last game 119-118. Donovan Mitchell scored 18 points on a poor 5-20 from the field, Bogdanovic scored 24 points, and Gobert scored 23. Oklahoma City Thunder is coming from a 113-101 away loss in Atlanta. The starting line for that game was -11 for the Hawks, and they covered that, but with the news of Shai Gilgeous Alexander's absence, the line moved to -13, and Oklahoma City covered that.
Utah comes into this game, averaging 112.5 points per game to be the second-best mark in the NBA, they average 46.8% from the field, and the three-point % has been improving and is already at 34.3. The Jazz defense allows 31.7 three-pointers to be third best in the NBA, and they allow 103.4 points per game to be sixth-best in the league. Oklahoma has 98.7 points per game and 40.8 % from the field, both of which rank last in the NBA.
Utah looking for consistency in their daily playUtah has the personnel to be fighting toe-to-toe with Phoenix and Golden State; however, they are a step behind. They haven't suffered any major injury setbacks, Gobert hasn't missed a game, Mitchell missed just one game against Atlanta, and they still beat the Hawks, and even Mike Conley has been healthy, missing just two games.
Utah's last three wins were against Philadelphia, who was without Embiid, Toronto without Anunoby, and finally over Sacramento, who fired their coach a couple of days ago. The loss to Memphis is inexplicable, as well as the way they left Jaren Jackson Jr. wide open, who nailed that three-pointer in the final seconds. The Grizzlies scored 44% from the field, 37% on three-pointers, but the most impressive thing is that Utah allowed Memphis to go 27 times to the free-throw line, unable to defend without fouling. It also didn't help that they had 14 turnovers against the Grizzlies.
SGA and Josh Giddey against the worldIndeed, the two best players of this Oklahoma City team are the Canadian Shai Gilgeous Alexander and the Australian Josh Giddey, the latter being just a rookie. Still, it is evident that he has talent in abundance. We cannot forget to highlight the role of the Canadian Lu Dort, who is already considered a stronghold on the defensive side. Still, offensively he has also taken a step forward this season, averaging 16.5 points per game.
The rest of the team's rotation lacks talent, and that's why they are last in field goal percentage and points scored. It also doesn't help that they play at a pretty slow pace despite the youth they have. Atlanta was without SGA, and it was Giddey and Dort who carried the team's offense, and young Ty Jerome also contributed 15 points coming off the bench. Defensively they could not stop Trae Young and the rest of the Hawks, who averaged an excellent 48% from the field with 41% in three-pointers and missed just one free throw. SGA's status is questionable for this Thursday, and if he does not play, he becomes a sensitive loss.