Three games in and we're already playing our second intra-divisional game. Being 0-2 on the season is bad enough, but losses against divisional and conference opponents are that much more damaging when you take into account tie-breakers and such at the end of the year.
The Thunder are 2-0 after wins against Chicago and Detroit. Believe it or not, Oklahoma City is shooting worse than the Jazz right now. They're hitting 39.9% of their shots and just 18% from three (vs. 40.9 & 23 respectively for the Jazz).
So how are they winning? They're getting to the free-throw line a ton, 91 FTAs in just two games. On the flip side, their opponents have just 42 FTAs. Durant, Westbrook, and Green have been the biggest beneficiaries. That means we could be in store for a very long night.
What gives me a sick feeling about tonight is that the Thunder are due for a break-out game offensively. Their main guys are due for a break-out game shooting-wise and you know there's going to be some extra mo against the Jazz after the last time these two met in Utah. I'm a bit scared of a revengeful Durant tonight.
So what are we looking for from the Jazz tonight? At this point, a lead would be nice. Second, we need to see improvement on the offensive end. Their poor offense has lead to easy baskets for the opponents and perhaps some increased pressure on D because the offense has struggled.
Speaking of break-outs, we're also due. Deron in particular needs get things going. That includes finishing at the rim and getting some jumpers to fall. If he can avoid committing homicide on Hayward, that would be a plus.
Al Jefferson needs to start making strides in the offense as well. He needs to recognize when double/triple teams are coming and get rid of the ball instead of trying to take on the front line of the Thunder.
What would help with that of course would be if a wing could knock down an outside shot. Bell has struggled to put things nicely. Hayward hasn't found the touch and Miles hasn't done anything to prove he can spread the defense. And let's just say that AK won't be participating in the three-point contest this year.
There are a bunch of little things that the Jazz the Jazz are needing to improve upon. They're not going to happen at once, so we may be in for a rough stretch for the next little bit.
We've seen smiles and laughs during the pre-season, let's see what this team can do now with a little turmoil.