OKC ThunderDome

Beyond…Waaaay Beyond…

Game 10 Preview: Thunder at Jazz

We know what happened last game.  If you don’t remember, there is a good web site out there that will refresh your memory.

Tipoff: 9:00PM EST

It is interesting to note that, prior to playing the Thunder, the Jazz were struggling at 0-2.  Since then, they are 7-1 with huge wins over the Heat, Magic, and Hawks.  They are a very good team, and the Thunder win appears to have been a turning point.  Unlike the Thunder, they have demonstrated repeatedly an ability come back from huge deficits.  I think that knowing this fact, it would probably be to the Thunder’s benefit if the game stays close into the fourth, where OKC has shown an ability to make key plays down the stretch.

The three things the Thunder did poorly that led to the blowout last time:

  1. Terrible interior defense.
  2. They allowed the Jazz to close out each quarter with mini-runs.
  3. They did not know how to conceptualize or implement a comeback against a 20 point deficit.

What the Thunder must do to reverse these mistakes:

  1. Control THIS GUY ——>
    Be creative.  Put Serge Ibaka on him if you have to.  But don’t give him the passing lanes he wants nor the position he needs to run his pick and rolls.
  2. Use the emerging play of Ibaka and the return of Collison to play better interior defense against Millsap and Al Jefferson.
  3. Stay focused early in the game.  Jerry Sloan is just like Greg Popovich in that he’s been around forever and he knows how and when to tighten the screws.

Finally, on offense the Thunder need to play at their own speed. They will be in the Jazz’ house, subject to the enthusiasm and noise that the Jazz fans bring.  They will need to have a much stronger and deliberate game than last time if they want to even the season series at 1-1.  Unfortunately I haven’t seen enough yet to tell me that the Jazz are ready to compete with the Western Conference’s top 3-4 teams.  Let’s hope they make progress tonight.

Prediction: Jazz by 5.

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