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Thunder vs Jazz Preview: Thunder eye winning for second time this season

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Can the Thunder make a case these last three wins are not a blip of extraordinary luck?

This is right before Uncle Phil threw him out of the house again.
This is right before Uncle Phil threw him out of the house again.
W. Bennett Berry

Where They At: Oklahoma City Thunder

Riding a three-game winning streak, the Thunder has proven they can win battles in different ways. Against the Sacramento Kings, Kevin Durant bounced back from committing a season-high 10 turnovers and knocked down a game-winner for redemption. Two days after that narrow victory, the Thunder revenged the Memphis Grizzlies with a blowout that featured eye-catching efficiency. Then against the Atlanta Hawks, Durant recorded his first triple-double of the season that included a season-high 10 assists. And his fellow Russell Westbrook did not fall behind in paving the way for teammates' points. The dynamic duo, scoring 48 points combined, had 20 of Thunder's 24 assists in their pocket. The Thunder showcased a lot of characters in ball movement which helped them establish the lead, break the deadlock and eventually pull away.

Where They At: Utah Jazz

The Jazz responded to a loss at the Kings by getting things rolling with the New York Knicks in a back-to-back series. Jazz's once-elite defense has taken a back seat since a knee injury sidelined center Rudy Gobert in December. But Gordon Hayward has carried the Jazz with his grinding style. Averaging 16.8 points this season, Gordon has been on hot streak, nabbing four 20+ games in Jazz’s recent five matchups. At 10-10 after dwarfing the Knicks, the Jazz looks to bounce above .500 when they host the Thunder.

The Matchup

Hayward is going to harass the Thunder on both ends. With the attention he gets, he can also distribute the ball for his teammates for some easy points. Derrick Favors has been efficient in scoring, ranking sixth in shooting percentage (one spot after Enes Kanter, tho). While the Jazz can’t match Thunder’s athleticism, they can try to disrupt Thunder’s rhythm or wear the Thunder out with their own offense. But considering how inconsistent the Jazz have been(they haven’t won three in a row this season), they have their own problems to solve and playing the dynamic Thunder for two consecutive games will not help.

The Thunder superstars won’t have difficulty filling out the stat sheet. In the two team’s first meeting, Westbrook flirted with a triple-double (20p-7r-9a) and Durant scored 27 points in his debut after a hamstring injury that benched him for six games. The question mark at this time, and for the future, is that if the Thunder can extend the characters that flashed in their last three games. Durant called Thunder last basketball game on Tuesday "beautiful." Wonder what label he will put on a team that can combine clutchness, efficiency and sharing.

Prediction: Oklahoma City 110, Utah 99

2015-16 NBA Season Game


@


14-8

10-10

December 11th, 2015

Salt Lake City, UT

8PM Central Standard Time

TV: NBA League Pass

Injury Report:Dante Exum (Knee), Rudy Gobert (Knee)

This Season's Matchups: Thunder Leads, 1-0 (111-89)

Probable Starters


Russell Westbrook

PG


Raul Neto

Andre Roberson

SG


Rodney Hood

Kevin Durant


SF


Gordon Hayward

Serge Ibaka

PF


Trey Lyles

Steven Adams

C

Derrick Favors