Let's get right to the point:
There's a 98% chance the Jazz lose this game.
What? You want more? Oh.
* * *
- Have the third best record in the NBA and is in the pantheon of the three teams that legitimately matter this year.
- Have only lost four games at home all year (to the Hawks, Grizzlies, Nets, and Heat).
- Have Kevin Durant
- Have the #1 offense in the NBA and #8 defense
- Are the best team in the league, according to most advanced stats
- Are in full panic mode, having lost 2 of their last 10 games (the HORROR!)
- Make their shots (#3 FG%), Make their 3's (#2 3P%), get to the line (#2 FTA), make their free throws (#1 FT%), get steals (#6), block shots (#1), make opponents shoot poorly overall (#2 opp FG%) and from three (#9 opp. 3P%).
So yeah: they're good.
Random interesting things I discovered when looking at these teams:
- According to 82-games, the Thunder have drawn 612 shooting fouls vs. 385 non-shooting fouls. Basically, they are really good at drawing contact when it is most beneficial. The Jazz, in contrast, have drawn 542 shooting fouls vs. 434 non-shooting fouls.
- Both the Thunder and Jazz have shoot virtually the same number of shots at the rim. It's away from the rim that they differentiate (with the Thunder both shooting better from all areas, and distributing shots differently—Jazz get more from 3-9 feet and 15-23 feet, Thunder have biggest focus on ... this will shock you ... 3PA).
- Like the Jazz, the Thunder hesitate to give younger players playing time. Unlike the Jazz this is because their "vets" are All-NBA caliber and leading the team to a legitimate shot at the championship.
- I still think OKC should have been named either the Bandits or the Barons and had black/gold unis with sick Old West lettering. It would have been awesome.
- Ball Don't Lie suggested Thundercats. Really. This was before "Thunder" had even been leaked out.
But enough of all that ... let's figure out
Why the Mighty Utah Jazz Could Win!
Well, in boring terms: OKC has to play worse than they should and the Jazz have to play better than they should. But that's okay—this happens regularly in the NBA. You never really know. And it's not like this is the '86 Celtics vs. the 2012 Bobcats. The Jazz are a decent team. They could pull this off.
But let's get into the cosmic stuff. The stuff of karma and Gods.
1. Fear the Beard
Yeah ... OKC doesn't have one anymore. But we do.
Maybe "Fear the Beard" is too strong. "The Fuzz is the Buzz" ?
As was clearly established in the 2012 NBA Finals, Kendrick Perkins is completely useless when the team is filled with uber-athletic guys who (a) make traditional positions seem quaint and old-fashioned, and (b) can run him to death.
And now he's faced with the epitome of this modern, Athleticism-Speed-Demon-Beast-Monster: Al Jefferson.
3. Everybody hates Oklahoma
In 2009, the Jazz traded a guy to the Thunder who totally stood them up. That's right: Matt Harpring, OUR Matty Harpring, gave the Thunder the epic snub and never even suited up for them. He never even went to Oklahoma City.
That's right, Oklahoma is the state that Utah people look down on. It's the new Idaho.
The specters of Rony Seikaly and Ron Harper were forever vanquished forever, baby!
"You go live in Oklahoma!"
4. The Soggy Oreo Theory
The Thunder were stupid and overdipped their players too much. Sure, it all seems wonderful now, but you all watch: tonight the Thunder Cookies are going to dissolve before our very eyes, all while a tidal wave of milk surges Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley on to victory.
Stuff I hope to see tonight
- Our guys play well and maybe even win. Duh.
- Al Jefferson and Mo Williams hit their shots. They're gonna take 'em, so they might as well make 'em.
- Earl and Jamaal get some terrific Assistant Coach experience.
- Jeremy gets to play and continues to show that he is, in fact, a genuine true-blue NBA-caliber player
- Tyrone Corbin makes an astute substitution, putting both Kanter and Favors on Kendrick Perkins, who promptly collapses to the ground and turns into jell-o.
- Hayward makes Sam Presti mutter: "Stupid Jazz. I would have SO traded James Harden for this Vanilla Cobra dude."
- Ibaka gets Mil-slapped.
- Marvin continues his journey to enlightenment: "Oh ... this is what it feels like to be a productive NBA player."
- Burks has nobody ridiculous ahead of him in the depth chart.