The Jazz host the Thunder Tuesday night in the second of three meetings between these teams this season. The Jazz won the previous matchup on December 28th 110-109 in Oklahoma City with Donovan Mitchell hitting a layup with seven seconds to play that ended up as the game-winning bucket.
Since that competitive game, these teams have headed in opposite directions as the Jazz have the best Net Rating (9.3) while the Thunder have the worst Net Rating (-8.6) in the entire NBA. The Thunder have lost six consecutive games (all losses against the spread too) after losing to the 76ers on Saturday 117-93, and they have lost all six by double digits. The Jazz are coming off of an upset 125-121 home loss to the Wizards on Monday as double-digit favorites.
Can Dort Lead the Thunder to a Cover?If the Thunder cover or pull the huge upset as double-digit underdogs, it will be because they shot the ball well from the three-point line. The Thunder are dealing with some key injuries as Aleksej Pokusevski (sore right arm), Josh Hall (concussion), Mike Muscala (ankle), Gabriel Deck (not injury related), and Isaiah Roby (concussion) are all out. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (foot) remains out indefinitely while Al Horford (age) will not be playing as the Thunder turn to younger players for the rest of the season.
The Thunder will need their young trio of Theo Maledon, Lu Dort, and Moses Brown to step up to pull the upset. The Thunder have lost nine of 10 games since Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played his last game on March 22nd due to plantar fasciitis, and the Thunder will need at least two of these three to have big nights to cover.
These guys are taking on the HARDEST matchups this season among the top 150 in minutes:— BBall Index (@The_BBall_Index) April 13, 2021
6. Jones Jr
8. Mikal Bridges
Maledon will need to find the balance between over-passing and being aggressive enough to attack the 76ers’ defense when they give him room. Dort will need to play incredible defense and hold Donovan Mitchell in check while getting hot from beyond the arc on offense. Brown will continue pounding the offensive glass and take advantage when Rudy Gobert is out of position.
Mitchell on FireIf the Jazz win and cover as heavy home favorites, they will need Donovan Mitchell to continue shooting the lights out as Jordan Clarkson (ankle) is doubtful to play. Mike Conley missed Monday’s game due to rest, but he is expected to play Tuesday.
Monday’s home loss snapped a Jazz franchise-record 24-game winning streak despite a game-high 42 points from Mitchell. Mitchell has been playing great basketball lately as he has scored at least 37 points in four consecutive games as he has taken his stepback jumper to another level, and he will need to shoulder a larger portion of the load than normal with Clarkson likely out.
Donovan Mitchell's last 4 games 🔥— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 13, 2021
42 PTS, 6 AST
42 PTS, 4 AST
37 PTS, 4 AST
41 PTS, 8 REBpic.twitter.com/gmgimgNSwl
The Jazz will need to keep the basketball moving offensively to find the open man to be at their best. Utah leads the NBA as threes make up 45.0% of their shot attempts this season, and they are the third-most accurate team from beyond the arc as they are making 39.7% of their threes.
Mitchell has been amazing lately, but many of his teammates have been incredibly efficient as Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, and Conley all rank in at least the 85th percentile (among their respective position groups) in points per 100 shot attempts. Ingles has been awesome this season as a scorer and distributor as his 143.2 points per 100 shots rank in the 99th percentile among forwards, and his 22.0% assist rate ranks in the 94th percentile among forwards. The Jazz will need Ingles to play a bigger role than normal as a scorer and secondary pick-and-roll ball-handler with Clarkson likely unavailable off the bench.
- Thunder are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog.
- Thunder are 0-9 ATS in their last 9 Tuesday games.
- Thunder are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Thunder are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record.
- Jazz are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games when their starting 5 players combine for more than 160 minutes of the previous day.
- Jazz are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games playing on 0 days rest.
- Jazz are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Tuesday games.
- Jazz are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games as a home favorite.
- Jazz are 20-9 ATS in their last 29 games vs. a team with a losing straight-up record.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Jazz are easily the better team even without Clarkson, and even though they are playing on the second leg of a back-to-back, they will get Conley back and be motivated to bounce back after a disappointing home loss to the Wizards. The Thunder are openly tanking, and they simply don’t have the offensive firepower to stay competitive without SGA available, especially against the Jazz’s elite defense that should be focused. Expect Mitchell to stay hot despite Dort’s defensive efforts as the Jazz win and cover.
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the under as the Jazz’s defense should smother the Thunder’s struggling offense. The Thunder’s offense ranks dead last as they are scoring just 104.8 points per 100 possessions this season, and they are facing the best effective field goal percentage defense in the NBA. The Thunder won’t make enough shots and will likely get dominated on the glass, and their low team total will keep the final score below the total.