Oklahoma City Thunders vs. Utah Jazz
After a dismal performance against top rivals Jazz in 2021, the Thunders will be eager to restore parity this year. Come Sunday night, and we might witness the Thunders enter all guns blazing at the Paycom Center.
2021 was a low-yielding year against the Jazz, as the Thunders lost all their encounters. Despite having leads in some of those matches, the Thunders couldn’t capitalize on their advantages.
2022 can be a different story, and the Thunders will have the perfect opportunity to defeat their top rival. The odds are also with the Thunders as they have performed well on their home turf with 4-4 wins at the Paycom center this season.
Thunders vs. Jazz rivalry – A brief history
Initially, the Thunders and Jazz rivalry began for division placement. However, as the years passed, the rivalry gripped players, including NBA legends, such as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
The Oklahoma City Thunders are still a better side on paper, with 112 wins over the Utah Jazz. However, the Jazz has lifted their game in recent years, trimming the gap with 84 wins.
The Thunders and Jazz rivalry is more evident during playoff seedings, escalating the match excitement to a whole new level. Sunday’s match will replicate a similar situation as the Thunders will want to avenge their 2021 defeats on their home ground.
What happened in their previous match?
Despite having home advantage, the Thunders failed to capitalize on their first-quarter lead, as the Jazz sealed the victory in the final quarter. Donovan Mitchell became the hero in the final minute, scoring six straight points and sealing the victory for his side.
The final scoreline was 110-104, with Mitchell lifting his side from a tie in the penultimate minute to victory after full time. His heroics came in late but came in good, as he had a rough shooting night. Mitchell believed in his abilities, leading to his side’s victory.
Despite dominating the first quarter, the Thunders failed to replicate their precision and combination in the following quarters. The first quarter score read 25-21, reviving hopes that the Thunders would finally break their jinx before heading into the new season.
However, their dream shattered in the second quarter as the Jazz became aggressive and outsmarted the Thunders. Although the Thunders lost the second quarter, they were still leading the scoreline heading to the third quarter.
Both sides knew the importance of the penultimate quarter as they entered the third quarter with caution. With the Thunders leading the scoreline, they ensured some breathing space before the Jazz began their offensive.
Jordan Clarkson and Gobert took charge of the Jazz’s offensive duties as they pressed their skills into action to break the Thunder’s lead. Despite efforts from the Thunders, Utah Jazz edged past their rivals with a third-quarter score of 32-28.
What happened in the fourth quarter?
The fourth quarter began with the Jazz leading the match with one point. However, the Thunders soon resolved the issue midway in the final quarter by leading 94-93. Unfortunately, the Thunders lost their lead, moving into the final minute with scores tied on 104-104.
With the match’s fate hanging in the final minute, Mitchell stepped up to deliver six straight points to tilt the match in his side’s favor. This late surge was too much for the Thunders as they failed to recover, losing their fourth match against the Jazz in 2021.
Thunders vs. Jazz match summary
|Quarters||Oklahoma City Thunder||Utah Jazz|
The top contributors for the Jazz were Jordan Clarkson (20 points), Rudy Gobert (17 rebounds and 15 points), Mike Conley (18 points), and Donovan Mitchell (13 points).
The Thunders fought well during the game with their young side. However, experience and composure from the other side surpassed their young, energetic legs to seal the match.
The top contributors for the Thunders were Lu Dort (27 points) and Josh Giddey (19 points). Giddey also contributed with seven rebounds and eight assists to help the Thunders put a competitive fight back.
This return game for the Thunder’s coach Mark Daigneault wasn’t as fruitful as he might have expected, but he appreciated his players’ efforts.
How exciting will be the next Thunders vs. Jazz encounter?
If NBA rivalries excite you, the Thunders vs. Jazz game on Sunday night at the Paycom Center will be filled with excitement and action. It’s a payback game for the Thunders, who had a dismal run against the Jazz in 2021.
Although the rivalry between the Thunders and the Jazz was about division placement, it has grown into a full-fledged affair after NBA legends to it on a personal level. The Thunders look dominant on paper, but the Jazz has lifted their winning margin over the years.
While the Thunders may have energetic, young players taking center stage, the Jazz has the experience and combination to defuse any opponent. Sunday night’s match will be exciting and filled with a lot of action and undoubtedly worth considering for any NBA enthusiast.
Utah Jazz will arrive at the Paycom Center with their complete, losing only Jared Butler for the match. On the other hand, the Thunders will miss crucial players, including Ty Jerome, Kenrich Williams, and Mike Muscala.
The participation of Aaron Wiggins and Derrick Favors is also uncertain at this moment, and we’ll have to see how Mark Daigneault manages his bench strength.
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