2012-2013 Game 78 Preview: Thunder Start Last Road Trip at the Jazz

Just be thankful that the game isn't being broadcast on a local station. I really don't want to look at a colored state map covering up the score. - William Bennett Berry

Get the #1 seed, or keep the Lakers out of the playoffs?

2012-2013 NBA Season
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The Oklahoma City Thunder (56-21)
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The Utah Jazz (41-37)
April 9th, 2013
EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
8:00 PM CST
Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain Plus
WWLS the Sports Animal (98.1), Fox Sports Radio (97.5)
Enemy Blogs: SLC Dunk, Salt City Hoops
Previous Meetings: Nov 30th, Feb 12th, Mar 13th (Thunder Lead Season Series 2-1)
Injury Report: Enes Kanter (Out), Kevin Murphy (Doubtful)
Probable Starters
Russell Westbrook PG Mo Williams
Thabo Sefolosha SG Randy Foye
Kevin Durant SF Gordon Hayward
Serge Ibaka PF Paul Millsap
Kendrick Perkins C Al Jefferson

Get the #1 seed, or keep the Lakers out of the playoffs? Deciding which I want more is like trying to decide between pizza and pizza. One enters your mouth, one goes in the garbage. THERE IS NO DECISION!

Okay, so getting the #1 seed is probably a bit more of a priority at this point. The Lakers are a team that no one wants to see, but it would probably be a smarter decision to ensure home court advantage in the Conference finals. Plus, I never like to see my team intentionally lose.

The key against the Jazz is defense and ball control. In the Thunder's sole loss to the Jazz earlier this season, they committed way too many turnovers and succumbed to pressure, which undid an otherwise excellent shooting performance. In the most recent game, a win against the Jazz, the Thunder had similar turnover problems, but were able to win the rebounding battle and secure a victory.

But the Thunder should also be mindful to keep up the pressure on the defensive end. as a defensive hold of Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap was able to keep the Jazz in check last time. We already know that the Thunder aren't going to be able to guard the perimeter, probably allowing a Jazz guard to score more than they should. But we also know that they're fully capable of shutting down Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap, so they might as well do that.

At the end of the day, I think the Thunder do actually want to win this game, regardless of who may come in the first round. The Jazz will be equally motivated and do well at home, but the Thunder usually recover from bad losses (like Sunday's against New York) pretty well. So I'll go ahead and predict a Thunder win, because my predictions are more accurate than Gary England's when it comes to snow.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 103, Utah Jazz 97.

If you are looking for tickets to upcoming games, you can find Oklahoma City Thunder tickets here.

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