Thunder (1-game winning streak)
105.4 Offensive Efficiency (2nd)
99.6 Defensive Efficiency (14th)
96.0 Pace (5th)
Jazz (1-game losing streak)
101.7 Offensive Efficiency (10th)
101.7 Defensive Efficiency (20th)
93.4 Pace (18th)
The Thunder are finally returning home after a five-game road trip last week and having the past three nights off. The Thunder are for the second straight game matched up with the Utah Jazz, who they beat 101-87 four days ago. Today is also Valentine’s Day and to me that means that Kevin Durant is probably going to go off. He’s returning home, maybe his mom is at the game and nobody loves their mom like Durant does. Combine that with the fact that Gordon Hayward will likely be covering Durant and I’m feeling a big night for him and easy win for the Thunder.
Thunder keys to the game
1. The bench is back home
The Thunder bench always plays better at home and they should be glad to be back tonight. Expect better shooting from the Thunder bench and a big game from James Harden who loves playing at home as much as anyone. Also if Thabo Sefolosha returns tonight, which originally was the plan but now it is up in the air again, we’ll see Daequan Cook coming off the bench again. Cook was 1-for-9 on threes last game so look for him to shoot better tonight too.
2. Scoring inside
The Thunder had a very easy time in their last game scoring in the paint against the Jazz. Al Jefferson is really the only interior defensive presence for Utah and he wasn’t much of one against the Thunder. The Thunder need to continue what worked last game and go to the hole, Russell Westbrook especially. Westbrook had a great shooting night from midrange in his last game and has been hot overall with his jump shot of late but that won’t last forever for him. If Westbrook can wreak havoc at the rim then it will be another long night for the Jazz.
3. Get Durant going early
It feels like forever since Durant had a big game shooting from downtown. Now that the Thunder are back home it’s time to see a big shooting performance from the game’s best shooter. I think Durant comes out of the gates strong tonight and maybe we get to see a 40-point night from him. On this many days rest combined with the matchup combined with the fact that Durant is really due for a game like this, I’m going to go ahead and predict a huge night from the Thunder superstar on this Valentine’s Day.
Prediction: Oklahoma City wins 112-94.