Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-15-2018 – Expert Prediction
Game Snapshot with Current Line
Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 6:35pm
Image licensed from USA Today Sports
48 – 34
Oklahoma City Thunder
48 – 34
Utah Jazz (48-34) at Oklahoma City Thunder (48-34)
NBA: Sunday, April 15, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. ET
The Utah Jazz hit the road to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder for a Saturday afternoon contest. This will be an interesting series featuring two strong defensive teams. Both teams finished with the same record. The difference in the tie-breaker was that the Thunder won three of four meetings. Utah was a big surprise this season as they were led by rookie Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell averaged 20.5 points and 3.7 assists. The Jazz are first in the league in defense (99.8 ppg), but they’re 19th in scoring (104.1 ppg). Oklahoma City ended the season winning four of their last five games. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with averages of 25.4 points, 10.3 assists, and 10.1 rebounds. Can Westbrook lead the Thunder to a huge game one victory?
Jazz defense stingy
What’s new the Jazz are elite defensively just like every season. Utah made the playoffs for the second straight season. Mitchell grabbed headlines by leading all rookies in scoring. The rookie guard had as good of a rookie season as one could’ve imagined. On defense it’s their anchor Rudy Gobert that leads the way. The center averaged 13.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. Derrick Favors also had a solid year. Favors put up 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds. Ricky Rubio provided a spark for the Jazz offense with averages of 13.1 points and 5.3 assists. The problem with the Jazz is that they don’t have many shot creators besides Mitchell. The Thunder on the other hand have three guys who can get their own when they want. The Jazz defense will have to play as a unit because they won’t have the individual defense to stop Westbrook or George.
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Keys to Thunder win
The Oklahoma City Thunder have one of the better balanced teams in the league. The team ranked 12th in the league in scoring (107.9 ppg), and 10th in defense (104.4 ppg). Russell Westbrook takes over the game when he wants. The key to the Thunder’s success is their other big pieces. Paul George is one of the best two-way players in the league and is a star in his own right. The wing averaged 21.9 points and 5.7 rebounds. George has the ability to take over the game on both ends like Westbrook. Carmelo Anthony must step up against a tough Jazz defense. Anthony averaged 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds. If Anthony gets going they should put Utah away. One can’t forget about Steven Adams who had a career season. Adams averaged 13.9 points and 9 rebounds.
The Utah Jazz are:
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- 6-2 ATS in their last 8 Conference Quarterfinals games.
- 20-7 ATS in their last 27 Sunday games.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. Western Conference.
- 2-6 ATS in their last 8 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
- 5-17 ATS in their last 22 vs. NBA Northwest.
Utah has a slight edge with Favors and Gobert down low, and Mitchell will play well. As good as the Jazz defense is they’ll struggle to defend Westbrook and George. Take the Thunder in a narrow home wi