Tag - Andre Roberson

Thunder Playoff Game Day No. 4: at Utah Jazz

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.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Time to walk the walk

“I guarantee that.”

Russell Westbrook spoke with a lot of gusto after the Game 3 loss to Utah on Saturday night. Maybe it’s the elevation or just the sheer undiable ability to win but Westbrook’s guarantee is a big deal. Oklahoma City has spoke of being calm and “being able to flip a switch.” With a monumental game on the horizons on Monday night, it’s time for Oklahoma City to put up or shut up.

If Oklahoma City can, they probably should’ve already done that. Complaining to officials, instead of getting back on defense is getting tiresome. Poor efforts in playoff games make us cringe to the point those who are on the calm side of things are starting to freak out.

With the heart of Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City can come back and win this series. We’ve seen what his wild determination can do. He’s taken apart multiple teams by himself. He’s done it in the final minutes of the game. He’s done it in overtime and throughout four quarters. On Saturday night, he was a large reason why the Thunder struggled.

“You live by the Brodie, you die by the Brodie” an echoing statement that rang so true on Saturday. He’s also why Oklahoma City can even say they’re in a position to win the series. Another historic season coupled with some real talent finally helped the Thunder ascend to the ranks of contenders. No one knew how important Andre Roberson was until he went down and brought the Thunder down to potential pretenders.

Oklahoma City has won in hostile environments. They’ve won in the Oracle. They’ve won in Dallas when the Mavericks were really good. They went to the Staples Center and beat the Lakers. They’ve beaten San Antonio numerous times on the Riverwalk.

But… That was a different team. Only six players remain from that 2016 Western Conference run. Westbrook, Adams, Roberson, Singler, Huestis and Collison. So, it’s really three players. Collison still didn’t play very much that season, only averaging 11.8 minutes per game.

So, this Thunder team. The rebuilt post-KD team has yet to win a road playoff game (0-4). You can throw last season out and we’re left with Saturday night’s loss in an electric building.

It’s time for Oklahoma City to put up or shut up. The time for talk is over. Put the ball in Westbrook’s hands and as Matt Moore says, “Let Westbrook be Westbrook.”

In Brodie we trust.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder Playoff Game Day: at Utah Jazz – Game 3

Series tied 1-1

Saturday, April 21 :: 9:00 p.m. CST ::Vivint Smart Home Arena (19,911)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
TV Coverage: ESPN (DirectTV 206, Cox 29, HD 1300, Tulsa Cox HD 1025)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4½-point underdog. The over/under is 207.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Jazz: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder look to get back on top of a tight series with a win in Utah tonight. If the Thunder fall tonight, the series gets tough. If they win, they take a commanding 2-1 lead with a game back in Oklahoma City potentially close out the series.
  • Utah beat the Thunder 102-95 on Wednesday night in a game that saw Oklahoma City go on a 19-0 and then Utah respond with an 18-3 run of their own. Oklahoma City’s Big Three went 0-of-14 in the fourth quarter, a first this season.
  • The Thunder scored its 10,000th playoff point, one of just three teams to do so since the 2010 postseason (San Antonio, Miami).
  • Russell Westbrook fell one rebound shy of a triple-double with a team-leading 19 points, game-best 13 assists and nine rebounds along with a game-high four steals.
  • Paul George notched his third playoff double-double with 18 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds while blocking three shots.
  • Jerami Grant set new postseason career highs in both scoring and rebounding with a bench-leading 13 points and six rebounds while going 6-for-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 ESPN for the national broadcast. It’s unknown who the broadcast team will be.

SCOUTING THE JAZZ

  • The Utah Jazz finished the regular season 48-34 on the season, fifth in the Western Conference.
  • Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Utah all finished with the same record. However, the Thunder’s best overall record between the three teams is what secured the Thunder the fourth seed.
  • Over their last 10 games, Utah is 7-3.
  • In their last 10 road games, the Jazz are 7-3.
  • All-time against Utah, the Thunder are 106-78.
  • Since relocation from Seattle, Oklahoma City is 27-12 against the Jazz.
  • When the games are played at the ‘Peake, the Thunder are dominant. They’ve won 14 straight against the Jazz.
  • Utah hasn’t won in Oklahoma City since the arena was named Oklahoma City Arena.
  • The Thunder are 17-2 against the Jazz in the OKC era at home.
  • In the regular season, Oklahoma City won the series, going 3-1 against Utah.
  • You really have to throw the season series out of the window as the last meeting happened on Dec. 23 and the Thunder are a much different team since the loss of Andre Roberson.
  • Oklahoma City is 10-2 against the Jazz dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Utah came on Dec. 20, 2017, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 107-79 (28-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (21 points) vs. Utah occurred during a 120-99 loss on Oct. 31, 2010

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

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

JAZZ INJURY REPORT

  • Thabo Sefolosha (knee) is out.

CONNECTIONS

  • Thabo Sefolosha spent six seasons with the Thunder.
  • Alec Burks Andre Roberson played together at Colorado (2010-11).
  • Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler were teammates in Detroit for three seasons (2012-15).
  • Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder, Jazz Assistant Coach Antonio Lang and Singler all played at Duke.

WHAT’S IN A JAZZ NAME

  • No, Utah isn’t known for its Jazz. The team originated in New Orleans in 1974 and club officials decided to keep the name after relocating to Salt Lake City in 1979.
  • The Jazz nickname was originally chosen through a name-the-team contest, which produced seven other finalists: Dukes, Crescents, Pilots, Cajuns, Blues, Deltas, and Knights.
  • Deltas would’ve translated to Salt Lake City rather well (the airline of the same name has a hub there), while Cajuns may have been even worse than Jazz.



Three Keys to the Game

Pace

Utah struggled keeping up with the pace in Game 1. For some reason, the Jazz (25th in pace in the regular season) thought they could keep up with Oklahoma City in transition. It didn’t work. Oklahoma City really forced Utah into some compromising positions as a result. Oklahoma City has to talk them into doing it again. Push the pace. Get Utah uncomfortable.

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.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder Playoff Game Day No. 2: vs. Utah Jazz

Oklahoma City leads series 1-0

Wednesday, April 18 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
TV Coverage: NBATV
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4-point favorite. The over/under is 207½.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Jazz: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder took Game 1 by a commanding second half performance in which saw the Thunder push their lead out to as many as 18.
  • The Jazz held a 16-4 lead midway through the first quarter until 12 unanswered points from the Thunder tied the game with three minutes remaining. The two teams ended the frame knotted at 25 apiece. After OKC gained a 29-28 advantage in the first two minutes of the second quarter, Utah never held another lead.
  • Oklahoma City is 6-3 when they lead a series 1-0. On the flip side, the Jazz are 6-18 since 1980-81 when they trail a series 1-0. In fact, Utah has dropped six of their last seen when trailing 1-0.
  • Tonight is Oklahoma City’s first ever playoff game on NBATV. This is usually reserved for the least entertaining match up, usually an Eastern Conference team. They’re on it just once.

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 NBATV as well.

SCOUTING THE JAZZ

  • The Utah Jazz finished the regular season 48-34 on the season, fifth in the Western Conference.
  • Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Utah all finished with the same record. However, the Thunder’s best overall record between the three teams is what secured the Thunder the fourth seed.
  • Over their last 10 games, Utah is 7-3.
  • In their last 10 road games, the Jazz are 7-3.
  • All-time against Utah, the Thunder are 106-78.
  • Since relocation from Seattle, Oklahoma City is 27-12 against the Jazz.
  • When the games are played at the ‘Peake, the Thunder are dominant. They’ve won 14 straight against the Jazz.
  • Utah hasn’t won in Oklahoma City since the arena was named Oklahoma City Arena.
  • The Thunder are 17-2 against the Jazz in the OKC era at home.
  • In the regular season, Oklahoma City won the series, going 3-1 against Utah.
  • You really have to throw the season series out of the window as the last meeting happened on Dec. 23 and the Thunder are a much different team since the loss of Andre Roberson.
  • Oklahoma City is 10-2 against the Jazz dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Utah came on Dec. 20, 2017, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 107-79 (28-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (21 points) vs. Utah occurred during a 120-99 loss on Oct. 31, 2010

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

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

JAZZ INJURY REPORT

  • Thabo Sefolosha (knee) is out.
  • Donovan Mitchell (foot) is a game-time decision.

CONNECTIONS

  • Thabo Sefolosha spent six seasons with the Thunder.
  • Alec Burks Andre Roberson played together at Colorado (2010-11).
  • Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler were teammates in Detroit for three seasons (2012-15).
  • Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder, Jazz Assistant Coach Antonio Lang and Singler all played at Duke.

WHAT’S IN A JAZZ NAME

  • No, Utah isn’t known for its Jazz. The team originated in New Orleans in 1974 and club officials decided to keep the name after relocating to Salt Lake City in 1979.
  • The Jazz nickname was originally chosen through a name-the-team contest, which produced seven other finalists: Dukes, Crescents, Pilots, Cajuns, Blues, Deltas, and Knights.
  • Deltas would’ve translated to Salt Lake City rather well (the airline of the same name has a hub there), while Cajuns may have been even worse than Jazz.



Three Keys to the Game

Paint scoring

Utah struggled keeping up with the pace in Game 1. For some reason, the Jazz (25th in pace in the regular season) thought they could keep up with Oklahoma City in transition. It didn’t work. Oklahoma City really forced Utah into some compromising positions as a result. Oklahoma City has to talk them into doing it again. Push the pace. Get Utah uncomfortable.

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.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Game 2 Injury report

With Game 2 only hours away, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz will throw down. If Oklahoma City wins, they take a commanding 2-0 series lead into Salt Lake City. If Utah wins, the series becomes even once again.

All of that aside, the most important thing is the injuries! Oklahoma City has a couple of issues and so does Utah. So, let’s examine them.

JAZZ

Donovan Mitchell

The rookie sensation hurt his toe in Game 1. He went back to the locker room in real pain. However, he returned, hit some shots, and made a run of it. The x-rays were negative for any fracture or break but there is still obvious pain.

“I’m real determined on playing but if my body can’t, I’m not going to push it now and not be available the rest of the series,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s a matter of being smart with it.”

With is career ahead of him and the constant misdiagnosing of team physicians, it’s not a complete surprise if Mitchell was to sit out today. He has his entire career ahead of him. A loss this season isn’t going ot kill any chance of them winning a ring. They weren’t winning one anyway, even if they beat Oklahoma City in this series.

Probability of playing: 90%

Thabo Sefolosha

The beloved former Thunder player has become a staple in the Jazz lineup before getting hurt. Sefolosha underwent surgery on his right MCL in mid-January, with this news being the first update on his recovery process. His timetable puts his return to full form sometime in the summer.

On top of the MCL injury, Sefolosha has been suspended for five games due to a violation of the NBA’s anti-drug program, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

OUT

THUNDER

Andre Roberson

Roberson’s patellar tendon tore on January 27 and he’s been out ever since. There’s no hope of him coming back this season. Despite the photos of him taking set shots and all of that, he’s not coming back this season. He’s done. We do miss him though. Miss you Dre Dre

OUT

Corey Brewer

Brewer sprained his knee nailing a three over the very bad Memphis Grizzlies on April 11. There was hope it was only a sprain and not anything more serious. He played in Game 1, saying he was 80 percent. That’s good, as it’s been an entire week now since he sprained his knee. Plenty of time for Brewer to rest.

Probability of playing: 100 percent

Paul George

George was diagnosed with a hip contusion late in his nuclear performance in Game 1’s win over Utah. “Playoff P” had 36 points and powered Oklahoma City to victory. George, obviously hobbled by the hip, really hasn’t practiced and wasn’t made available to the media this afternoon for shoot around due to getting treatment. Don’t think that’s going to hold him out.

“It’s the playoffs, I don’t miss playoff games,” George said.

Probability of playing: 100 percent

 

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder Playoff Game Day: Game 1 vs. Utah Jazz

SERIES IS TIED 0-0

Sunday, April 15 :: 5:30 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
TV Coverage: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 730 HD 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 3½-point favorite. The over/under is 206.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Jazz: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Welcome to the 2018 NBA Playoffs, the Thunder’s long time real season. Sure, those 82 games mean something but we all knows players like Russell Westbrook thrive in these moments. 51-point triple-double against Houston. 43-point barn burner against Miami in the NBA Finals. This is stage and he’s a rockstar.
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder host the Utah Jazz in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The two teams have never met in the playoffs. The two teams have never met while the Thunder have been in Oklahoma City.
  • Oklahoma City lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round last season 4-1, winning Game 3, losing the rest.
  • Last season was the first season in six seasons the Jazz made the playoffs. They beat the Clippers in the first round and were swept in the second round by the Warriors.

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.
  • Matt Pinto 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 as well. Ian Eagle, Brent Barry and Dennis Scott have the call for Turner.

SCOUTING THE JAZZ

  • The Utah Jazz finished the regular season 48-34 on the season, fifth in the Western Conference.
  • Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Utah all finished with the same record. However, the Thunder’s best overall record between the three teams is what secured the Thunder the fourth seed.
  • Over their last 10 games, Utah is 7-3.
  • In their last 10 road games, the Jazz are 7-3.
  • All-time against Utah, the Thunder are 106-78.
  • Since relocation from Seattle, Oklahoma City is 27-12 against the Jazz.
  • When the games are played at the ‘Peake, the Thunder are dominant. They’ve won 14 straight against the Jazz.
  • Utah hasn’t won in Oklahoma City since the arena was named Oklahoma City Arena.
  • The Thunder are 17-2 against the Jazz in the OKC era at home.
  • In the regular season, Oklahoma City won the series, going 3-1 against Utah.
  • You really have to throw the season series out of the window as the last meeting happened on Dec. 23 and the Thunder are a much different team since the loss of Andre Roberson.
  • Oklahoma City is 10-2 against the Jazz dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Utah came on Dec. 20, 2017, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 107-79 (28-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (21 points) vs. Utah occurred during a 120-99 loss on Oct. 31, 2010

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.
  • Alex Abrines (concussion) is probable as he went through practice the last couple of days.
  • Corey Brewer (knee sprain) is probably and expected to play after going through practice.

JAZZ INJURY REPORT

  • Thabo Sefolosha (knee) is out.

CONNECTIONS

  • Thabo Sefolosha spent six seasons with the Thunder.
  • Alec Burks Andre Roberson played together at Colorado (2010-11).
  • Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler were teammates in Detroit for three seasons (2012-15).
  • Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder, Jazz Assistant Coach Antonio Lang and Singler all played at Duke.

WHAT’S IN A JAZZ NAME

  • No, Utah isn’t known for its Jazz. The team originated in New Orleans in 1974 and club officials decided to keep the name after relocating to Salt Lake City in 1979.
  • The Jazz nickname was originally chosen through a name-the-team contest, which produced seven other finalists: Dukes, Crescents, Pilots, Cajuns, Blues, Deltas, and Knights.
  • Deltas would’ve translated to Salt Lake City rather well (the airline of the same name has a hub there), while Cajuns may have been even worse than Jazz.



Three Keys to the Game

Paint scoring

Rudy Gobert is a monster and for that, Oklahoma City has to find a way to attack the paint and score. Utah is second best in the NBA in defending paint scoring, only allowing 41.8 points in the paint per game. Oklahoma City averages 43, so they need to find a way to beat their average.

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.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Three Points and-one from the Enemy: the Utah Jazz

I talked to Mychal Lowman, the Editor-in-Chief of SLC Dunk, arguably one of the best SB Nation sites, about the upcoming first round series. I really wanted to get a Jazz fan’s point of view on the series. While we’re all biased, I wanted to see what they thought about things. So, here are three questions and as Paul George probably fouls him on it, an and-one.

Chuck: A lot has changed for both teams since they last played (Dec. 23, 2017), Andre Roberson has been lost for the season and the Jazz have this rookie who’s going to be Rookie of the Year, really coming into his own. Can we essentially throw out the regular season series because of all of it?

Mychal: I think we have to. Since that December 23rd game the Utah Jazz finished the season 33-15. Contrast that with the OKC Thunder which have finished the season 30-19 since that mark. Since that time, Utah has traded away Rodney Hood and released Joe Johnson. They acquired Jae Crowder from the Cleveland and moved Royce O’Neale full-time into the rotation. Ricky Rubio has found a jump shot. The NBA game has slowed down for rookie Donovan Mitchell which is frightening for opposing teams. Derrick Favors is still healthy. Rudy Gobert is the Defensive Player of the Year. Most importantly, Favors and Gobert have learned how to play effective minutes at the same time.

Meanwhile, Donovan Mitchell stopper Andre Roberson is gone which is like giving the Utah Jazz the contra code to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder still boast three All-Stars in Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. Not to mention, Steven Adams seems to best Rudy Gobert on the offensive glass. But now there isn’t an obvious counter to Donovan Mitchell in the Thunder’s rotation unless the Thunder want to wear down Westbrook or George on the defensive end.

These two teams haven’t truly played each other in the current forms which makes this series highly unpredictable.

Chuck: What does Utah have to overcome to beat the Thunder?

Mychal: It seems crazy not to mention the All-Stars, but everyone knows Russell Westbrook and Paul George are going to get theirs. In order to beat the Thunder, the Utah Jazz must overcome Steven Adams. He had a +/- of 18.5 against the Utah Jazz during the season series. The only teams he had a higher +/- against were lottery teams. He seems to own Rudy Gobert. While Kiwi-French relations historically have been cordial, Kiwi-French relations on the basketball court are quite frosty. Gobert only averaged 10.5 points and 9 rebounds against the Thunder the from Down Under. Against the Utah Jazz Steven Adams pushes Rudy Gobert around and has averaged 4.5 offensive rebounds a game. That’s a remarkable number, period, let alone against the Defensive Player of the Year. Those extra possessions are demoralizing and necessary against Utah’s league best defense. If Steven Adams has a big series, Utah doesn’t win this. If Steven Adams has a legendary series, this series is over in 5.

Chuck: What’s Oklahoma City’s greatest weakness the Jazz can exploit?

Mychal: Their playoff experience. The Utah Jazz have been one of the best teams in basketball since January 22nd. Since that time they have rattled off win streaks of 11, 9, and 6. They haven’t lost consecutive games in that stretch. Entering the playoffs, the Utah Jazz are one of the hottest teams in the NBA and they lack playoff experience. Ricky Rubio? Never been. Donovan Mitchell? Rookie. Rudy Gobert? Was in and out of the lineup fighting off an injury sustained in Game 1 of last year’s playoffs against the LA Clippers.

Joe Johnson? Gone. Rodney Hood? Gone. George Hill? Gone. Boris Diaw? Gone. The only players who have played extensive minutes in the playoffs are Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, and Jae Crowder. That’s it. The Utah Jazz don’t have the veterans with playoff experience anymore. They have the defense, the phenom scorer, the depth, and floor general point guard. The problem is the playoffs are different. Opposing teams can spend hours pouring over film finding your minute weaknesses. Quin Snyder can coach the hell out of Utah, but will these playoff neophytes be able to adjust in time? I’m not optimistic, but this Jazz team has made a habit out of proving people wrong.

Chuck: For an and-one: Give me your most biased prediction

Mychal: Utah is a really good road team this season. That seems weird to say of a team that’s 20-21 on the road, but think about this. Since January 22nd, Utah has only lost two games on the road. They’ve actually lost more games at home over that span of time than on the road. That’s why home court in this matchup means squat. This matchup might even embolden Utah. No expectations of home court. Less pressure. They’re not picked to win. My most biased prediction is Utah wins game one of this series. They go back to Utah and go 1-1. They then win in OKC and close it in Utah in game six. Donovan Mitchell averages 20 points a game, but the real hero of the series is Derrick Favors who destroys Patrick Patterson and Carmelo Anthony at the four spot. Derrick Favors is a free agent in the offseason, and he’d like nothing more than to pad that resume with some playoff highlights and get PAID.

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Brewer expected to play Game 1

Yahoo’s Shams Charania is reporting Corey Brewer received treatment to his injured knee and shouldn’t miss any time and looks to play in Game 1 on Sunday against the Utah Jazz.

Brewer took a tumble after Mario Chalmers rolled up onto his knee on Wednesday night. It was incidental contact. It was an unfortunate and left Brewer clutching his right knee. Brewer would leave with a knee sprain per the Thunder. We all feared for the worst. However, the worst has come out: He’s expected to play in Game 1.

Since joining the Thunder as a free agent on March 1, he’s helped transform the Thunder into a contender once again. Since his first game on March 3, Oklahoma City is 11-7, the ninth best record in the NBA.

Oklahoma City’s offense has been reinvigorated with Brewer. Oklahoma City’s offensive rating is 109.5, which is seventh since adding Brewer. They’re averaging over 112 points per game. That’s in comparison to 107.4 (17th) during Andre Roberson’s injury to his signing.

In 18 games for the Thunder this season, Brewer is averaging 10.1 points per game, the most since the 2014-15 season, where he averaged 11.5 points per game. His 34.3 percent from three is the second best of career (2009-10, Brewer shot 34.6 percent).

It’s really his energy that does everything. He goes 100 mph and that’s infectious. Oklahoma City’s pace has skyrocketed since his signing. Oklahoma City is generating four more possessions a game. That’s four less for the opponent, which is a +8 net for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City hosts the Jazz in Game 1 of the Western Conference first round on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. The game will be live on TNT and on Fox Sports Oklahoma. We’ll have Brady Trantham and Co. in arena for your complete Game Day coverage.

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Thunder Game Day No. 81: at Miami Heat

Oklahoma City Thunder (46-34, 20-20 away)

at

Miami Heat (39-33, 17-20 away)

Monday, April 9 :: 6:30 p.m. CST :: American Airlines Arena (21,000)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4-point favorite. The over/under is 212½.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | HEAT: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder can clinch a playoffs spot with a win tonight in Miami against the Heat.
  • The Thunder beat the Heat back on March 23 in a tough 105-99 battle. Oklahoma City overcame a third quarter deficit to win.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Houston Rockets on Saturday night to move to within one win of the playoffs.
  • The Thunder are in the midst of a tight playoff battle. Oklahoma City is one game back of Utah for fourth place in the West. They’re also a game of in front of Denver for ninth place.
  • The Miami Heat have locked up their playoff lives and are now fighting for position. After getting blown out by the Knicks on Friday night, Miami has been relegated to a tie for sixth place with the Milwaukee Bucks.

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).

SCOUTING THE HEAT

  • The Miami Heat are 43-37 on the season, tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference.
  • Over their last 10 games, Miami is 6-4.
  • In their last 10 home games, the Heat are an impressive 9-1.
  • In their last game, Miami was pummelled by the New York Knicks 122-98 on Friday night.
  • In the all-time series, Oklahoma City is 37-22 against Miami.
  • Since the Thunder relocated from Seattle, Oklahoma City is only 11-8.
  • When the games are played at the triple-A, the Thunder are 5-4.
  • Oklahoma City is 3-1 in Miami since LeBron went back to Cleveland.
  • In their previous meeting this season, Oklahoma City beat Miami 105-99. Hassan Whiteside didn’t play and Carmelo Anthony only scored six points.
  • With a five game winning streak against the Heat, Oklahoma City is looking for their third season sweep in four years against Miami.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Dion Waiters (ankle) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Miami is 25 points which occurred during last season’s 99-74 victory on Jan. 17, 2016.
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (22 points) vs. Miami occurred during an 103-81 loss on Feb. 20, 2014.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

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

NEXT UP

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder complete their 2017-18 regular season by hosting the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, April 11.
  • Playoffs begin Sunday, April 15.

WHAT’S IN A HOT NAME

  • In October 1986, the owners of Miami’s expansion franchise selected Stephanie Freed’s Heat submission from more than 20,000 entries.
  • Those also included Sharks, Tornadoes, Beaches, and Barracudas.



Three Keys to the Game

Transition

The Heat are one of the best teams in the NBA in defending transition points. Oklahoma City might be one of the best in the league at getting out on the break, especially since the all-star break, but they’ll have to attack Miami tonight. The Heat aren’t the slowest team since the all-star break. The Thunder have to put the Heat on their heels and take this game.

Efficiency is key

Oklahoma City is 31-4 when when they outshoot their opponent. Oklahoma City comes out, shoot better, they’re most likely going to run away with this. We look back at their previous game and Oklahoma City outshot the Heat, leading to their victory.

Rebound

Oklahoma City has to win the rebounding battle tonight. The Thunder are 33-11 when they have the same or more rebounds as their opponents. They’re a fun 13-23 when they lose the rebounding battle. Miami is 25-16 when they win the rebounding battle. If Oklahoma City can rebound, they’ll run away with this.

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Paul George feels the love in OKC

We’ve been down this road before. Kevin Durant said one thing and did another. Russell Westbrook said one thing and did that thing. So, who knows what to believe? Paul George on Friday after practice gave some insights to his potential future.

“As I told Rachel (Nichols), I can see myself being here. I’ve been happy here, I’ve been happy with the organization, happy with my teammates,” George said. “Our record is not what we want it to be, but I think I’ve enjoyed just learning and being around these guys. So, my answer is still the same.”

George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on June 30. While the Thunder haven’t been the most successful in terms of what they want this season, they have been really good when healthy. They were on one of the hottest streaks over the last few seasons before the Andre Roberson injury.

“It was just an opportunity to see what it’s like being here and just to naturally fall in love with it,” George said of being traded to the Thunder. “And it’s been that. It’s been a lot of love here.”

Love is a strong word, even in the basketball community. Players like to remain even, so there isn’t too much read into their comments. Still, a strong comment from George.

 

“You’ve got to look at what we can be, imagine what we would be if Andre was here playing with now,” George said. “You’ve got to look at the team coming back, with free agency coming up with other guys who we could possibly go grab and who could we, myself, Melo, Russ, who can we recruit with us here.”

George has been largely inconsistent but really just a wholesome worker. He doesn’t make excuses and takes the blame when needed, such as after the bad egg he laid against the Warriors on April 3. He’s only the third person in Oklahoma City history to be named to the All-Star game.

“This is our first year together,” George said. “This is Year 1 for this group. We’ve got a chance to win it all, but realistically it takes time for things to build and chemistry to mesh. Just for everybody to be on the same page.”

With the loss of Roberson, the Thunder’s trajectory changed. They’ve largely struggled on the defensive side. George isn’t able to take as many gambles as the defense has to protect what little assets it has. While the trophy may not be 100 percent in the rear view mirror, their goal and hopefully George, a larger picture remains.

“This wasn’t a championship or bust coming into this for me,” George said. “There is just an opportunity to see what it’s like to be here and just to naturally fall in love with it and it’s been that. It’s been a lot of love here.”

Year 1 of how many? That’s the real factor here. Is it only one or will this be a multi-year relationship in which both could potentially help one another get to a championship?

That’s up to George.

 

 

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