Game Day Preview: OKC Thunder – Utah Jazz, Game 2

OKC Thunder Paul George (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Paul George (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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The OKC Thunder survived game one, despite a late push from the Jazz reserves. ‘Playoff P’ and the Thunder must be even better in order to take a 2-0 series lead.

The OKC Thunder took Game 1 on their home court, their first-round Game 1 record improves to 6-2 all-time. If OKC takes a 2-0 lead in the series odds are in their favor. Teams that take a 2-0 series lead are 273-19 since the NBA expanded to a best of seven format.

In Game 1, the Jazz held the Thunder to 32 points in the paint. OKC finished with 32 or fewer points in the paint on eight occasions in the regular season (twice against Utah). The Jazz limited the Thunder to nine offensive rebounds. Oklahoma City finished with nine or less offensive rebounds 23 times in the regular season, (twice against Utah). The Jazz identifies their opponent’s strengths and forces them to go away from those same strengths.

The Jazz perspective

The Utah Jazz came into the Peake built an early 16-4 lead. Utah made the first six minutes of Game 1 look no different from the majority of the Thunder’s regular season. Utah brought a strong game plan and for the most part, it worked in the first quarter. Once the Thunder gained control they did not look back.

The Thunder’s lead at one point swelled to 18 in the fourth quarter. With 2:17 remaining in the final frame Quin Snyder pulled his remaining starters inserting non-rotation players. The move raised eyebrows since it’s the playoffs, had it been a regular season game no one would have batted an eye.

The game was presumed over but, Alec Burks had other ideas. Over the next 87, seconds Burks scored 10-points. Regardless, if it was a product of poor scouting or lack of awareness given the large lead. When Utah plays Burks again, Oklahoma City must be alert to his presence.

With that, let’s get to the defensive matchups of the game.