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Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz Game Thread: Who will stop Gordon Hayward

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Oklahoma City Thunder (3-8) @ Utah Jazz (4-7)EnergySolutions Arena • Salt Lake City, UT7:00 p.m. MT • TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM / 97.5FM

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

When there are two teams of the relative same strength, it's the star player who leads one team over the other. And in a game tonight where the Utah Jazz will host the super-duper injured Oklahoma City Thunder there is only one team that can boast having a star player. And that player is Gordon Hayward, and he plays for the Jazz.

OKC has title aspirations, but right now with 3 wins in three weeks it doesn't look pretty. Can they tread water until Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook return to health? I don't know. Can Reggie Jackson do it all by his lonesome? Probably not. Will the Utah Jazz take the Thunder out behind the woodshed for some medieval style beatdown? Only time will tell.

What we do know is this: OKC is a mess, and no one should be able to stop Gordon Hayward.

Sure, Jackson will get his, and guys like Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, and Nick Collison will do their thing in the paint. I'm not afraid of them as we have Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Trevor Booker, and Rudy Gobert. At this stage Gobert going up against Kendrick Perkins classifies as elder abuse. The paint will sort itself out in this game, and hopefully in favor of the Jazz.

The one glaring advantage here is Gordon Hayward. He is going to be like a 13th level player in a 5th level campaign tonight.

Thunder Team:

2014 2015 Game 012 OKC at UTA - Thunder Players

Yeah, they have a bunch of injuries. We know what that's like, let's revisit the Deron Williams / Carlos Boozer era. One thing Thunder fans (and team) haven't had to face EVER was injuries. It's part of the game. Suck it up.

Jazz Team:

2014 2015 Game 012 OKC at UTA - Jazz Players

Take a look at that stability, so many guys have played in all 11 games. That's a good way to norm roles.

Starting Lineup (PER):

  • Reggie Jackson (17.8) vs. Trey Burke (9.8) -- UTA -8.0
  • Jeremy Lamb (10.3) vs. Alec Burks (11.3) -- UTA +1.0
  • Lance Thomas (8.2) vs. Gordon Hayward (23.4) -- UTA +15.2
  • Serge Ibaka (15.6) vs. Enes Kanter (17.4) -- UTA +1.8
  • Steven Adams (11.3) vs. Derrick Favors (24.4) -- UTA +13.1

This shouldn't even be a contest . . . . but neither should have the INDY game been one.

Bench Mobs:

  • Sebastian Telfair and Anthony Morrow vs. Dante Exum and Joe Ingles; honestly, there's no way to know which one of these pairs are better at this stage. Morrow should be knocking them open jumpers down. But he hasn't been that open this season without KD and Westie.
  • Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins vs. Trevor Booker and Rudy Gobert: experience vs. hustle.
  • Ish Smith vs. Ian Clark -- Uncommon first name and common last name. There can be only one!

I have run out of things to say. Unless you are a premium SLC Dunk subscriber . . . which isn't a real thing.

GO JAZZ GO!

Don't Funk stuff up tonight! Please!

Poll

Who is going to win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Oklahoma City Thunder (3-8)
    (6 votes)
  • 93%
    Utah Jazz (4-7)
    (83 votes)
89 votes total Vote Now