TIME: 2:30 PM CT
TV: ESPN / Fox Sports Oklahoma
Season Series: 1-1
Story Line: This is the Thunder’s first real action since the season was abruptly suspended on March 11 — when this very same Jazz team was in Oklahoma City as Rudy Gobert became the NBA’s first positive case of COVID-19. Picking up right where we left off today in the bubble.
Utah: Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale, Rudy Gobert
What To Watch For
Thunder Jitters: The Jazz already have one real bubble game under their belts — beating Zion and the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night by a final score of 106-104. They trailed most of the evening and by as many as 16 points but shook off the rust to complete the comeback. It will be interesting to see if that one game of action provides momentum as the Thunder look to really get things moving for the first time in 145 days.
Battle of the Bigs: The marquee match-up in this one will take place in the paint, as Steven Adams and Gobert square off in the latest installment of their rivalry. For his part, Adams looked healthy in the scrimmages and is as fresh as we’ve ever seen him this late in the season. Gobert shook off lingering complications of coronavirus to drop 14 points and 12 rebounds on Thursday against New Orleans. Both guys should be at 100% today.
Guarding Donovan/The Perimeter: Donovan Mitchell leads the Jazz in scoring at more than 24 PPG — likely drawing the matchup with Lu Dort to start the game. Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson, Joe Ingles, and Royce O’Neale are all capable wing scorers themselves, so there’s also theoretical value for Andre Roberson for as many minutes as he can handle. Dre is going to matter in this one. Perhaps Terrance Ferguson, too, if he’s back from his leg contusion.
3-PG-Lineup: The Thunder are 1-1 against Utah this season. They lost by five on opening night in a game that saw SGA and CP3 combine for 48 points — while Dennis Schroder only chipped in 3 points on 1-of-8 shooting. OKC bounced back to beat the Jazz by 14 on December 9 — when Schroder exploded for 27 points while CP3 and SGA again pulled their weight. Long story short: the odds for success go up if all three guards get it rolling today.
Other Things: I’ll also be looking for Danilo Gallinari to find his rhythm from long range, Darius Bazley going for at least 12 points/6 rebounds, and Nerlens Noel returning to play impactful minutes on Gobert. For the Jazz, I’m hopeful Mike Conley doesn’t build on his 20-point performance on Friday. Lingering concerns exist about how deadly Bogdanovic, Ingles, and O’Neale are going to be while stretching the floor.