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“It’s a different game when we play the right way” |  Jazz Continues Homestand Against Oklahoma City

It’s amazing what a win can do for a team.

After a tough few weeks, Utah earned a meaningful victory over one of the hottest teams in the league by beating Memphis on Tuesday night to clinch a playoff berth.

Although the game could be considered unique, the Jazz don’t believe it – and said as much after the game.

“It’s good for us, in terms of confidence, to win this game, to advance in the playoffs, knowing that we’ve already stalled,” Jordan Clarkson said. “But I think for morale, we’re talking, we’re finding out, we’re still communicating, it’s good for us to pull this one off.”

Utah’s struggles have been well documented lately, especially those that have come in the fourth quarter of games. While the Jazz have more than acknowledged their struggles, the stories written about the team, its mentality and its cohesion couldn’t be further from the truth.

Simply put, if the stories written about the dissensions within the team had any truth to it, Utah wouldn’t have been able to stick together for victory. Through the trials and tribulations of the second half and overtime, the Jazz showed a sense of resilience that they have lacked of late.

“A week ago we probably weren’t winning this game,” Rudy Gobert said. “There was confidence and intensity throughout the streak. We competed, we played the right way, the ball moved. … It’s a different game when we play the right way.”

Gobert wasn’t the only one to notice a difference with the team on Tuesday.

Head coach Quin Snyder reflected not only on the outcome of the game, but also on how the Jazz handled business in a situation they had struggled in recently.

“It would have been very easy to be defeated,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “And it was the exact opposite. … That says a lot about the band. The resilience, yes, and the mental toughness.”

While the win and how Utah got the win could no doubt be a starting point moving forward, the Jazz won’t have to wait long to prove it. Playing their last consecutive game of the season, Utah hosts Oklahoma City on Wednesday night – the announcement is scheduled for 7 p.m. MST.

“We’ve done that in the past. … We just had a period where we were frustrated with losing, and it was kind of a snowball effect,” Gobert said. “We’ve been able to pull together and realize we have a great opportunity. Despite all the talk and everything that’s happened, we have a great group of guys, and we have to realize to seize the moment and enjoy the moment.”

The good news is that Utah shouldn’t lack motivation, especially after winning overtime on Tuesday.

Currently in the No. 5 seed, mathematically Utah can still move from the No. 6 seed to the No. 3 seed, which means the home-court advantage in the first round is still in game. As long as Utah finishes ahead of Denver, with whom it has the tiebreaker, then the Jazz will have the tiebreaker over fourth-seeded Dallas and third-seeded Golden State.

STATISTICS
Utah (47-32, 28-11 at home / No. 5 in the Western Conference)
Offense

*113.5 points per game (#7 in NBA)
* 116.1 Offensive Rating (#1 in NBA)

Defense
* 108.0 points per game (No. 10 in NBA)
* 110.4 Defensive Rating (No. 11 in NBA)

*Donovan Mitchell: 26.1 points / 5.4 assists / 4.1 rebounds / 1.5 steals
*Rudy Gobert: 15.3 points / 14.7 rebounds / 2.1 blocks / 70.9% shooting
*Bojan Bogdanovic: 18.0 points / 4.2 rebounds / 38.7% 3P shooting
*Jordan Clarkson: 16.1 points / 3.4 rebounds / 2.3 assists

Oklahoma City (24-55, 12-26 away / No. 14 in the Western Conference)
Offense

* 104.0 points per game (No. 30 in NBA)
* 103.9 Offensive Rating (No. 29 in NBA)

Defense
* 111.1 points per game (No. 15 in the NBA)
* 110.9 Defensive Rating (No. 14 in NBA)

*Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: 24.5 points / 5.9 assists / 5.0 rebounds
*Luguentz Dort: 17.2 points / 4.2 rebounds
*Josh Giddey: 12.5 points / 7.8 rebounds / 6.4 assists

MATCHUP TO WATCH
*Donovan Mitchell vs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
– Given that both teams are playing in the second night in a row, this game will likely come down to a war of attrition with whoever preserves most likely coming away with the win. The good news for Utah is that Mitchell, coming off one of his worst shooting nights of the season, should be raring to go because he rarely has back-to-back tough games.

INJURY REPORT
Utah

DOUBTFUL – Trent Forrest (concussion protocol)
OUT – Udoka Azubuike (right ankle surgery)

Oklahoma City
OUT—Tre Mann (hamstrings)

BROADCAST INFORMATION
Time:
7:00 PM MST
Location: Vivint Arena / Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T Sports Net
Radio: 1280 The Area



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