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Utah Jazz vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Game Preview

Can a rested Jazz stop Westbrook?

NBA: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder
Derrick Favors vs Steven Adams
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off three days of rest, the Utah Jazz (15-10) will face the Oklahoma City Thunder (15-10) who come to Utah on the back end of a back to back. A Jazz win would mean overtaking the Thunder in a very difficult Western Conference.

It was reported yesterday that Derrick Favors will make his return to the team, albeit with a minute restriction.

It also looks like Rodney Hood’s hamstring strain is close to healed has a good chance of playing.

The Jazz announced George Hill will be out, but I’m not complaining. Favs!!!!! Everything seems to be falling in place for the Jazz at the perfect time.

Injury Report:

Utah Jazz

Dante Exum (Knee Tendinitis) - Questionable

Derrick Favors (Knee Confusion Contusion) - Probable

Rodney Hood (Hamstring Strain) - Questionable

George Hill (Sprained Big Toe) - Out

Alec Burks (Ankle Rehab) - Out

Oklahoma City Thunder

Victor Oladipo (Wrist) - Questionable

Projected Starting Lineups

Shelvin Mack vs Russell Westbrook

Rodney Hood vs Anthony Morrow

Gordon Hayward vs Andre Roberson

Boris Diaw vs Domantas Sabonis

Rudy Gobert vs Steven Adams

With Oladipo Possibly out, the Jazz will need to take advantage against the weaker defender in Anthony Morrow. It will be fun to watch Hood and Hayward play a two-man perimeter game to find favorable matchups. Favors will probably return off the bench to take Withey’s minutes and should be able to punish the Thunder’s second unit.

Marquee Matchup: Russell Westbrook vs Rudy Gobert

This is going to be fun, I mean really fun. Westbrook’s no fear attitude and forceful attacks on the rim ensure a meeting at the rim. It’s everything you want in an individual matchup on the court. One of the NBA’s best dunkers vs one of the best shot blockers. Get the popcorn!

X-Factor: Stifle Tower

So much of the Thunder’s game plan is centered around Russell Westbrook being an alien averaging a triple double and destroying rims right and left. But Rudy is our Will Smith in Independence day. Westbrook will be nullified at the rim and should be delegated to outside shooting which makes him much less efficient. With the Jazz being one of the best teams in the league at transition defense, they have a big advantage. It’s good to have Rudy Gobert!

Prediction: Jazz Win!

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