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.
Jazz PF/C Derrick Favors will play limited minutes Wednesday after missing the previous 12 games due to a bone... https://t.co/kI6HIIFEUi— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 13, 2016
It also looks like Rodney Hood’s hamstring strain is close to healed has a good chance of playing.
Rodney Hood: "It's feeling a lot better, I think it was smart to take a couple of days off. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) December 13, 2016
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.
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!