Utah leads series 2-1

Monday, April 23 :: 9:30 p.m. CST ::Vivint Smart Home Arena (19,911)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
TV Coverage: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 730 HD 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4-point underdog. The over/under is 209½.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Jazz: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Oklahoma City faces pretty much their entire season tonight. Oklahoma City is 0-4 all-time in Game 5s, so the Thunder need this game more than anything.
  • Utah used a 13-0 run to ice Game 2 on Saturday night. Oklahoma City once again struggled in the fourth quarter.
  • Oklahoma City is 6-4 in Game 4s when down 2-1 in a series.
  • Russell Westbrook fell one rebound shy of a triple-double, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and two steals, despite having one of his worst games in the playoffs in a long time.
  • Raymond Felton led the OKC reserves, who outscored the Jazz bench 34-17, with 14 points, shooting 4-of-5 from long range and 5-of-10 from the field.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).
  • Tonight’s game is on TNT for the national broadcast. It’s unknown who the broadcast team will be.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.

JAZZ INJURY REPORT

  • Thabo Sefolosha (knee) is out.



Three Keys to the Game

Pace

Utah struggled keeping up with the pace in Game 1. The Jazz (25th in pace in the regular season) have done a better job of slowing the pace down. It was 100.2 in Game 1, 97.3 in Game 2, and 96.4 in Game 3. If it’s around 99-100-plus, that’s where Oklahoma City excels. When the Jazz keep it below 98, Utah thrives. It’s that simple.

Rebounding

Utah is 35-8 when they win the rebounding battle and they only allow 10.9 second chance points per game. The Jazz are also only 19-21 when allowing 11 or more second chance scoring. They’re 29-13 when they allow 10 or less. Oklahoma City MUST find a way to gobble up offensive boards and make the Jazz pay. This goes back to Steven Adams.

Share the ball

Oklahoma City continues their sharing ways, they’ll be good. Oklahoma City is 31-12 when Westbrook has at least 10 assists. he’s averaging 22.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 10.0 assists in four games against Utah. If Westbrook could get to that 10 assist mark that means two things: 1) he’s trusting his teammates and 2) those said teammates are hitting their shots.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.