Utah comes into Chesapeake Energy Arena playing as well as anyone in the league. The Jazz have won 6 straight games and are coming off a 116-69 thumping vs Washington last night. The most impressive part about this six game stretch? A majority of it has been done without starters Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood.
Gobert returned last night against the Wizards on a minute restriction, finishing with 4 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes. Hood on the other hand remained out with an injured left ankle.
Alec Burks has stepped up during Hood’s absence, scoring at least 20 points in 3 straight games. He had 27 in 28 minutes last night.
Seeing as this is the second game of a back-to-back for Utah, the Thunder should have the advantage energy wise, right? Not quite. The Jazz have flourished in the second game of back-to-backs this season, posting a 4-1 record. This will be the first of a long stretch for Utah, as seven of their next eight games will be on the road. That will end on December 20th in OKC.
The Thunder come in winners of two straight thanks to squeaking by shorthanded San Antonio on Sunday night. Despite the 90-87 final score, OKC did appear to have better ball movement, but the open looks were not falling. Ideally, that ball movement and flow will continue again tonight.
Where to Watch
Fox Sports Oklahoma (OKC), ATRM (Utah) - 8:00PM ET, 7:00PM CT
What to Watch For
Matchup wise, Steven Adams vs Rudy Gobert is intriguing. Gobert is coming off of a right knee injury, but still remains one of the league’s best big men. Adams has been terrific over the last two games, posting 27 and 6, and 19 and 10, respectively. Keep an eye on the frontcourt tonight.
Carmelo Anthony scored 9 points and 6 rebounds in each of the Thunder’s last two games, which was the first time he scored single-digits in consecutive games in his entire career. He’s clearly embracing his lesser role under Billy Donovan, and it seems to be helping the Thunder’s offensive flow in terms of ball movement. The question remains: Is this just a phase? Will Melo revert to his Melo ways?
Who do you think will win tonight?
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