nba
11.12.2023

Utah Jazz @ Oklahoma City Thunder Game Preview and Pick: Another Rough Night for Utah

The Utah Jazz have become quite familiar with the loss column as of late, with their loss to the Clippers on Friday night dropping them to 3-7 over their last ten games. As Lauri Markkanen continues to be sidelined with an injury, the Jazz continue their offensive slump, and things will not get any easier for them tonight when they take on the Thunder in Oklahoma City.

With the Thunder continuing to produce impressive defensive numbers, I’ll break down why it’s looking like another low-scoring night for the Jazz.

Game Preview

We’ve been hearing about this Oklahoma City Thunder rebuild for years, and as we reach the 25% completion mark for the NBA regular season, it looks as if they are gearing up for another window of competing at a high level. Coming off a 138-136 overtime win against the Warriors on Friday night, the Thunder are 14-7 overall and 7-3 over their last three games.

In that recent ten-game stretch, OKC led the league in NET rating at (10.1), ranking 5th in both offensive and defensive efficiency ratings. Scoring-wise, the Thunder have been highly efficient, coming off a game in which they had 78 points in the paint and shot 52% from the field. Over their last ten games, the Thunder are averaging 50.2 points per game in the paint, and a lot of those points have stemmed from their ability to get out in transition after forcing turnovers.

The Thunder are getting an average of 22.6 points per game off turnovers, which leads the league over the last ten games. Unsurprisingly, OKC also ranks second in turnovers forced per game, with an average of 17.6, giving them a significant advantage tonight on that end of the floor. A big part of Utah’s struggles on offense has been with turnovers, ranking dead last in the league in turnover percentage at 18.1% over the last ten games.

In their 117-103 loss to the Clippers on Friday night, Utah finished the game with 13 turnovers, which is far too many with how they’ve been shooting. By shooting 45% from the field and 29% from three in the loss to LA, the Jazz rank 30th in effective field goal percentage (49%) and true shooting percentage (52.9%) in that same ten-game stretch.

Pick for the Game

The Utah Jazz’s current team total is set at 110.5, and I’ll be taking the under for my play. Thunder fans looking to tail this play will need to be out-of-state fans since Oklahoma sports betting legislation is still a work in progress. Over their last ten games, Utah has gone under this total in seven of them, and when playing on the road this season, the Jazz rank 30th in the league in average points per game at 103.7.

Finding consistent scoring has been seemingly impossible for Utah with their 42.2% field goal percentage and 32.1% three-point percentage over the past ten games. In that span, 42.1% of Utah’s field goal attempts have come from beyond the arc, and 45.5% of their points have come from inside the paint, but the problem is that Oklahoma City has defended both areas of the floor exceptionally as of late.

Opponents have shot 37% from three and averaged 39.4 points in the paint per game over the last ten games against the Thunder. Those numbers rank 15th and 1st, respectively, in the league in that span, which has helped them post a 111.1 defensive rating. Between their ability to limit shot opportunities in the paint and force turnovers, I don’t see Utah getting enough possessions to surpass the 110-point mark.

Recap

  • Utah Jazz Team Total Under 110.5 (-114) on FanDuel *odds subject to change

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