Utah Jazz vs Oklahoma City Thunder
NBA: 8:00 PM EST
April 18, 2018
The Utah Jazz failed to put the finishing touches on their admirable Game 1 performance on the road against Oklahoma City, falling 116-108 to the Thunder in a hotly contested matchup. The story from Sunday night was the impressive shooting performance from OKC forward Paul George. The former Indiana Pacers standout wowed with 36 points in all, including an efficient 8-11 from behind the arc. My article covering Game 1 mentioned that the Jazz would only be able to find success if they managed to use their league-best rim protection to force the Thunder into jump shots; however, led by George, Oklahoma City was able to find sustainable offense outside the painted area, including an almost 50% clip as a team from three.
The looming question surrounding Game 2 will be the extent and effectiveness of each team’s leading scorer from Game 1. George suffered a hip contusion in the second quarter Sunday night, reaggravating an injury that occurred against Atlanta in March. He’s expected to play his regular minutes, but one can’t help but wonder if his performance may be adversely affected. On the other side, first-year man out of Louisville Donovan Mitchell left Game 1 with a foot contusion but brushed it off as simply a stubbed toe and assured media he’d be prepped for Game 2. With injuries to key scorers on both sides, I was leaning towards taking the under in Wednesday night’s tilt. However, I also still like the Jazz to play defensive-minded and steal a game on the road, considering their defensive scheme was largely effective in forcing Oklahoma City into the shots they wanted; the Thunder just made too many for Utah to overcome. Trying this again, siding with Utah and the points.
Our Free Betting Pick: Utah Jazz +4.5