OKC Thunder give Utah Jazz the blues: 5 takeaways

OKC Thunder Nerlens Noel blocks a shot (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Nerlens Noel blocks a shot (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Russell Westbrook flexes after a big play, OKC Thunder (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /

In an era when high-scoring games are all the rage, the OKC Thunder traveled to Utah to give the Jazz the blues in an old school contest.

Donning their blue jerseys, the Oklahoma City Thunder came into Salt Lake City eager to get a win against a division foe and playoff contender in the Utah Jazz. It was the Thunder’s fourth consecutive game on the road, and they came into Vivint Smart Home Arena 1-2 during their west coast tour. The Thunder’s only bright spot during their road tour was their overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers that completed a series sweep of the divisional rival. OKC entered last night’s game with hopes of doing the same against the rival Jazz.

OKC’s overall record coming into the game was 40-26 with a conference ranking of fourth. Utah came into the game with a record of 37-28 and a conference ranking of sixth. However, Oklahoma City has been in a bit of a funk going 3-7 in their prior 10 games. Utah, on the other hand, entered last night’s contest slightly better at 6-4 in their last 10 games.

The Utah Jazz became the grit-and-grind competition the Memphis Grizzlies used to be for the Thunder. OKC won the 2017-2018 regular season series 3-1 with an average margin of victory of 14.3 points for both teams. Unfortunately, the Thunder experienced an early exit in the first round of playoffs last season at the hands of the Utah Jazz. The average margin of victory for both teams during that six-game series was 9.7 points.

Oklahoma City used last season’s heart wrenching disappointment as fuel for their journey during this year’s regular season series. Coming into last night’s game, the Thunder were 3-0 against the Jazz with a 3.7 points average margin of victory including their most recent double-overtime win a few weeks back.

In what was expected to be a thrilling divisional game with a playoff atmosphere, the OKC Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 98 – 89 in a mostly ho-hum, yet critical road victory. Here are 5 key takeaways as the OKC Thunder proved old school, low-scoring affairs are every bit as effective as scores that top the century mark.