Jazz To Face Red Hot Thunder After All-Star Break

Feb 21, 2019, 3:33 PM
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz guards against Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thun...
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz guards against Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half during Game Six of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 27, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After taking an extended break due to the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, the Utah Jazz will continue its regular season campaign against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder has high praise for the Thunder, who sit in third place in the Western Conference.

“OKC’s one of the best teams in the league and they’ve gotten better as the year’s gone on,” said Snyder after the Jazz’s first practice back from the break.

New Year, New Thunder

Utah famously took out the Thunder in six games when the two teams met in the Western Conference playoffs last season. This year, it’s a different story. The two teams have already met twice this season, with Oklahoma City getting the better of the Jazz on both occasions.

“We have tremendous respect for them as a team, we’ve had some tough games with them,” said Snyder. “They took it to us pretty good in the first game this year. I thought we played better in the second game.”

He’s right. In the first game against the Thunder on December 10, the Jazz shot a miserable 27.6 percent from beyond the three point line in a 122-113 loss on the road.

Utah did play better in the second game, but narrowly dropped a 107-106 decision to the Thunder at home on December 22.

Tough Stretch Ahead

The next stretch of games will be crucial to how the Jazz’s season turns out. After facing the Thunder on Friday, they’ll face Dallas, the LA Clippers, Denver and Milwaukee.

It’s a tough stretch of games as Oklahoma City, Denver and Milwaukee are among the league’s leaders at the top of the standings. However, Snyder stated he wants his team to remain focused.

“I think for us to look at any five game stretch for us right now, I don’t want our focus to go away from getting better,” said Snyder. “I think that’s the thing that I’ve tried to maintain for us to maximize what we have and that’s been true for us in October, November.”

Snyder did acknowledge however, that games coming down towards the end of the regular season do feel different than other games.

“As we get to the end of the season, games take a different type of significance. You can see tangibly how they impact where you’re seeded, if you’re a playoff team, if you’re fighting to make the playoffs, all those different things,” Snyder said.

Broadcast Info

The game between Utah and Oklahoma City will tip off at 7:30 p.m. Friday night and be broadcast on ESPN.



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