The Utah Jazz (29-16) welcome in the Oklahoma City Thunder (25-19) to Vivint Smart Home Arena Monday night at 7:00 PM. The Jazz have won 6 straight games and are currently 1st place in the Northwest Division, 3.5 games ahead of the Thunder. The Thunder come into the game losers of 3 out of their last 4 games. Every game is critical for the Jazz as they continue to work towards the playoffs. They are currently tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for 4th place in the Western Conference and home court in the first round of the playoffs.
The Jazz will have their hands full with Thunder Point Guard Russell Westbrook. He is averaging 30.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 10.4 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He has 21 triple-doubles this season. It has been amazing with what he has been able to do this season. He spoke with the media following shoot around:
The media was also able to catch up with Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan after shoot around:
Tonight’s matchup will be the 3rd game out of 4 in a 5-day stretch. The Jazz will once again be without Rodney Hood as he is out with his hyperextended right knee and bone contusion. This will be the second meeting of the season between the 2 teams with the Jazz prevailing in game 1, 109-89.
Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert will once again need to play great games tonight. Hayward is averaging career highs in points (22.2), rebounds (5.7) and free-throw shooting percentage (.871) this season. Rudy Gobert leads the league in blocked shots per game (2.51) and ranks second in field-goal percentage (.669) and fifth in rebounds (12.7). He has had an incredible stretch as he has 30 consecutive games with 10 or more rebounds. He is also averaging 14.1 points, 15.1 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks during the month of January.
Tonight’s game is another must-win for the Jazz as they are playing at home and they need to continue to separate themselves from the teams that are below them in the Western Conference standings.
In one other Jazz note, the team has recalled forward Joel Bolomboy from the Salt Lake City Stars of the NBA D-League. He’ll rejoin the team prior to tonight’s game against the Thunder.