- When: Wednesday, 30 October 2013 at 8:00 PM CST
- Where: EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
It’s finally here. BIG is ON! The wins and losses count from here on out. The MVP campaign starts now (Kevin Durant). The All-Star bids start now (Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka). The Defensive Player of the Year bid starts now (Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha). The 6th Man of the Year bid starts now (Reggie Jackson). The Rookie of the Year bid starts now (Steven Adams). The Coach of the Year bid starts now (Scott Brooks). The NBA championship process starts now. And it couldn’t get here quick enough!
The Oklahoma City Thunder open up their season against the Utah Jazz on the road. The Jazz are in the beginning stages of a rebuild and will probably be one of the bottom tier teams in the Western Conference, if not the league. The Thunder won the season series last year 3-1, but this is a completely different Jazz team.
- PG – John Lucas III
- SG – Gordan Hayward
- SF – Richard Jefferson
- PF – Derrick Favors
- C – Enes Kanter
Oklahoma City Thunder
- PG – Reggie Jackson
- SG – Thabo Sefolosha
- SF – Kevin Durant
- PF – Serge Ibaka
- C – Kendrick Perkins
3 Keys to the Game
1. It’s game time, young fellas – Jeremy Lamb is expected to be the main scorer off the bench and Steven Adams is expected to be the back up center, with Hasheem Thabeet being out for the first game because of suspension. Both performed well enough in the preseason to illicit praise. But now the games count. No longer will they be going against the roster hopefuls. With that said, I fully expect these two to perform how they did in the preseason.
2. Control the paint – The Jazz’s only consistent form of offense will be from the inside via Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. The Jazz will be dependent on them not only scoring from the post, but also grabbing offensive rebounds to give the team second chance points. If Ibaka, Perkins, Adams, and Nick Collison do their jobs, then that part of the Jazz’s game plan will be shut down.
3. Kevin – Richard Jefferson. Gordon Hayward. Jeremy Evans. Marvin Williams. Names that aren’t really synonymous with the adjective Durant-stopper. Let the 2013-14 Kevin Durant destruction tour begin.
Prediction: 96-81 Thunder