OKC Thunder face a must-win game before a tough five-game stretch

The Oklahoma City Thunder have to take care of business against the Utah Jazz on Monday to open up a tough five-game stretch.

Dec 8, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7)
Dec 8, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
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The Oklahoma City Thunder will host the Utah Jazz in the Paycom Center on Monday. This will be a key game for the OKC Thunder, and what should be considered a must-win contest.

Oklahoma City marches into this game with a 14-7 record, 7-4 at home, 7-3 in their last ten games, and fresh off a thrilling overtime win against the Golden State Warriors.

Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz sit at just 7-15, with a lowly 1-10 record on the road, and on a two-game losing streak.

The Utah Jazz are missing two of their best players and are in danger of missing a third in this contest.

Oklahoma City Thunder sees a must-win game against the Utah Jazz to open up a tough five-game stretch.

With no Lauri Markkanen or Walker Kessler, the lowly Jazz are depleted, and still tab John Collins (illness) as questionable. With a slew of players on G League assignment as well, it is clear that an already bad Utah team is shorthanded.

For Oklahoma City, they are as healthy as you can ask for in the middle of December, with Lu Dort (ankle) the only player tabbed as out due to Injury. Rookie Keyontae Johnson (G League) will also miss this contest.

This matchup is a must-win game for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Good teams take care of business at home against losing ones, and it will be key to get a win in this matchup ahead of a tough five-game stretch.

After this game against the Jazz, the Thunder hit the road to take on the Sacramento Kings (12-8) and Denver Nuggets (14-9). Then, they return home to host the Memphis Grizzlies and L.A. Clippers, which opens up a lengthy homestand to close out December.

It will be tough to steal a game in that two-game road trip while the Clippers and Lakers (the sixth game of this stretch) present interesting matchups for Oklahoma City. The Thunder caught the Lakers on the second night of a back-to-back their first go around, but will not be so lucky here.

The only on-paper surefire wins for the Thunder in this stretch are Utah and Memphis (who will still be without star guard Ja Morant). Dropping this game to the Jazz really puts the Thunder behind the eight ball in a Western Conference, separated by a game and a half from the second seed to the sixth.

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