After beating the Oklahoma City Thunder three games in a row, the Utah Jazz have a chance to close out the series tonight. Considering the atmosphere and intensity from the Thunder in game 4, which included 7 technical fouls, this should be a raucous crowd and an intense game.
As Shams Charania reported, Russell Westbrook will not be suspended for tonight’s game.
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook has been fined $10,000 by NBA and issued technical foul for incident with Utah’s Rudy Gobert in Game 4 last night.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 24, 2018
Knowing how insanely competitive Westbrook is, you know he’ll come out as fiery as ever and the Jazz will have to match that intensity while also staying disciplined with their offensive and defensive schemes. They’ve been able to do it for the last 3 games, can they do it tonight and make it 4 wins in a row?
When: Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2018 • 7:30 PM MT
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena • Oklahoma City, OK
TV: NBA TV, AT&T Sports Net - Rocky Mountain
Radio: 1280 AM/97.5 FM The Zone
Thabo Sefolosha - knee - out for season
Oklahoma City Thunder:
Andre Roberson - knee - out for season
What to Watch for:
The Rudy Gobert and Steven Adams matchup
Steven Adams has been close to a non-factor in the previous 3 games. In games 2 and 3 he was out for most of the game with foul trouble. In game 4 Rudy Gobert was able to have a large impact with Adams playing regular minutes.
It may have been special circumstances in game 4 that hurt Steven Adams’ chances of affecting the game. With Russell Westbrook coming out with an agenda to shut down Ricky Rubio, that could have made it difficult for Adams to play well. It may also just be a sign of Rudy Gobert having a great series. After all, it was Rudy who drew the fouls in games 2 and 3 and Gobert probably just had another strong outing in game 4.
Either way, if Gobert has another strong game without foul trouble, Utah’s chances go way up.
Most Likely Jazz Killer: Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is going to enter the arena like a gladiator, or maybe one of those lions that comes out of those cages or like Hulk in the Avengers... He’s going to be crazy, okay!
The last 4 games he’s been held in check by Utah’s stingy defense. Currently shooting 36% from the field and 21% from three, Westbrook hasn’t found a way to hit shots. This is mostly because of two things, the Jazz have kept him from getting a lot of transition points and also from scoring at the rim. See: Gobert, Rudy.
But if Westbrook can figure it out and score more efficiently, it will change everything. Is this the game the Thunder figure something out to get him going? If they do, it will change the series. This is why it’s vitally important for the Jazz to close out the series tonight, you don’t want to give the Thunder, and Westbrook, more chances to figure out something that works.