NBA 2013-2014 Regular Season, Game 14:
Utah Jazz (1-13) @ Oklahoma City (8-3)
Tonight, the Utah Jazz attempt to do the impossible. Win. Normally, I would add "in Oklahoma City" or "third straight". But now, it's just win. Simply win.
Oklahoma City enters this game having won three straight games. The Thunder are currently on the third game of a 6 game home stand. OKC has not played since Thursday so they will be entering this game rested and ready to go. On the opposite side of the spectrum the Jazz enter this game having lost 5 straight games and have yet to win their second game. Utah is the only team in the NBA without at least two wins and at least one road win.
In Utah's last meeting with Oklahoma City (also their last competitive outing) they lost to Thunder 98-101. In that game Kevin Durant scored 42 points. Alec Burks was the Jazz's leading scorer with 24. Since then the Jazz have been trying to find an identity or just lose enough games to draft one. The Thunder are third in the Western Conference and now have a healthy Russell Westbrook who wasn't healthy enough to play in the last Thunder-Jazz tilt.
[UPDATE: RUSSELL WESTBROOK WILL NOT PLAY IN TONIGHT'S GAME.]
Things To Watch For
- Gordon Hayward. Can he continue to shake off his "Gordon Wayward" performance on the last game of this roadtrip and go toe to toe with Kevin Durant?
- Trey Burke. This was going to be Trey Burke vs Russell Westbrook but Russ is resting tonight. How will Trey respond to his first career start? How many minutes is he going to play? Trey is currently averaging 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists PER36 minutes. Can those averages translate to the court or will they start to fall once he starts to get to 30+ minutes?
- Jazz First Half Woes. Will they continue? Will the lineup change help the Jazz not fall behind by 20 points to start the game or will this starting lineup suffer the same fate as all the others?
- Ty Corbin. Ty Corbin, whether you feel fairly or unfairly, is on the hot seat. It's impossible not to be on the hot seat if your team is 1-13. Out of the 9 teams that started 1-13 or 2-12 to start out the regular season 4 coaches were fired/let go during the season or after the season was over. Most of the coaches who have this dubious honor were in the first or second year with their teams, not their fourth.
- Steven Adams vs Utah Jazz frontcourt. Steven Adams has been a pleasant surprise for the OKC Thunder. Seen as a project before the regular season he has really started to be a reliable part of their front court. He is currently averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes. He has spelled "Kendrick Perkins, you're old, get on the bench" many times this season. How will he perform against Utah tonight?