Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz (+3, 200.5)
One of Utah’s most impressive victories of the season was a 15-point thumping of Oklahoma City on Feb. 12. The Thunder return to Salt Lake City again for Tuesday’s game against the Jazz with Utah hoping to repeat the impressive feat and move closer to wrapping up the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Utah has a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers and owns the tiebreaker so the Lakers must finish ahead of the Jazz to claim the spot.
Oklahoma City is one game behind the San Antonio Spurs in the tussle for the No. 1 seed in the West. The Thunder lost to the New York Knicks on Sunday to fall behind the Spurs. Oklahoma City badly routed Utah in the most recent meeting on March 13, leading by as many as 32 points in a 110-87 home win. The Jazz have won six of their last seven games after winning at Golden State on Sunday and also boast a fabulous 29-10 home mark.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Oklahoma, ROOT (Utah)
ABOUT THE THUNDER (56-21): Forward Kevin Durant is suddenly locked in a battle for the NBA scoring crown after Carmelo Anthony poured in 167 points in a four-game span. Both players have a 28.4 average – Anthony is officially at 28.44 to Durant’s 28.35 – as Durant seeks to win his fourth straight scoring title. Only legends Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan – who both won seven straight – have won four or more consecutive titles. Still, Durant claims landing another scoring crown is of a secondary nature. “I’m just going to play my game,” Durant said. “I’m not going to force it too much and think about it too much and try to get it. But if it’s meant to be, then it will happen.”
ABOUT THE JAZZ (41-37): Utah looked like a team that might fold when it lost 12 of 15 games in a woeful stretch from late February to late March. Now the Jazz are clicking and playing stellar basketball and have placed themselves in solid position to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign. “I can’t say enough about this group of guys,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said after the win over Golden State. “This was all about them and them wanting it, and the way they came out. Although we made some mistakes in the game, everybody laid everything they had in them out here on the floor.”
* Jazz are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
* Under is 6-0-2 in Thunder’s last eight vs. Western Conference foes.
* Home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings.
1. Oklahoma City has won 10 of the past 14 meetings, including two of three this season.
2. Utah’s starting lineup combined for just 26 points in the March loss to the Thunder.
3. Durant is shooting 61.9 percent from the field while averaging 27 points in the meetings against Utah.