Tip-Off: 8 PM CT
Location: Paycom Center (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Television: Bally Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @ZacharyLowNBA for live-tweets and discussion during the game
The Oklahoma City Thunder did the unthinkable last night when they started three guys on 10-day contracts alongside another two who played heavy G League minutes this seasons, a couple of two-way players, and managed to pull out a 98-94 win against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Thunder literally did everything in their legal capability to tank the home finale against the Blazers, but Portland essentially threw the game themselves by allowing OKC to outscore them 31-12 in the final period, blowing a 15-point fourth quarter.
OKC has never really been that great at tanking, and at this point I’m not sure that’s even a bad thing. Some people believe the culture that has been developed by the Thunder organization is an exaggeration of something good, while others believe it’s actually keeping OKC from winning a title. Regardless of what you believe, it’s hard to really be mad about a group of young guys who literally give it their all every time they step on the court. Oh well. On to the next one.
Tonight the Thunder kicks off a 3-game road trip which will wrap up the regular season by taking on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. The Jazz cemented their spot in the playoffs in terms of avoiding the play-in tournament last night with a 121-115 overtime win agains the Memphis Grizzlies, and because Utah is unlikely to pass the Dallas Mavericks in the standings, it’s very likely that the Jazz will rest a few key guys tonight.
Expect Oklahoma City to play a similar rotation as last night, and after two straight wins, it’s obvious that the Thunder is going to do their best to compete with whoever is on the floor. For the sake of the tank and the draft lottery, OKC needs to lose these final three games, but I’m not sure anything is guaranteed anymore when it comes to this organization.
- PG: Zavier Simpson
- SG: Vit Krejci
- SF: Georgios Kalaitzakis
- PF: Jaylen Hoard
- C: Isaiah Roby
- PG: Trent Forrest
- SG: Donovan Mitchell
- SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
- PF: Royce O’Neale
- C: Rudy Gobert
- Darius Bazley is OUT (non-displaced tibial plateau fracture).
- Luguentz Dort is OUT (left shoulder surgery).
- Derrick Favors is OUT (lower back soreness).
- Josh Giddey is OUT (right hip soreness).
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is OUT (right ankle soreness).
- Ty Jerome is OUT (sports hernia surgery).
- Tre Mann is OUT (strained right hamstring).
- Mike Muscala is OUT (right ankle surgery).
- Kenrich Williams is OUT (sprained left knee).
- Udoka Azubuike is OUT (right foot surgery).
- Mike Conley is OUT (right knee injury maintenance).
- Trent Forest is QUESTIONABLE (concussion).
- Donovan Mitchell is OUT (rest).
- Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 33-19 (20-6 at home, 13-13 on the road) against the Jazz in the regular season and 2-4 (2-1 at home, 0-3 on the road) in the playoffs.
- Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder has won the season series against the Jazz 10 times, lost it twice, and tied once.
- The Thunder went 0-3 against the Jazz last season (0-2 at home, 0-1 on the road).
- The Thunder is 0-3 against the Jazz so far this season (0-2 at home, 0-1 on the road).