Originally posted on Thunder The Influence  |  Last updated 4/8/13
  Game Time: 8:00 PM CT Television/Radio: FS Oklahoma/WWLS 98.1 FM Line: Oklahoma City -3.5 Oklahoma City Thunder Split Utah Jazz 56-21 Record 41-37 106.0 Points Per Game 98.5 96.8 Opponent PPG 98.6 33-6 Home Record 29-10 23-15 Away Record 12-27 L1 Streak W2 6-4 Last 10 7-3   Tuesday night, two division rivals will square off in Salt Lake City. Late in the year, this one has plenty of meaning and impact on the playoffs. It all comes down to who wants it more. The Thunder are fighting for the top spot in the Western Conference, though, indirectly they would be setting up a potential first round series with the Los Angeles Lakers. Plenty of fans would much rather see the Utah Jazz in the first round, but in order for them to be there, they need to keep winning. Tuesday they'll have their chance to extend their current two game win streak to three, and with major playoff implications, Salt Lake should be popping. It was one of the toughest places to play in the NBA with a home crowd much like Oklahoma City's one pro sport fanbase. However, in order for the Thunder to top the Jazz, they'll have to stop Utah's big front court and an unextremely underrated cast. Utah will be missing Enes Kanter, who is out indefinitely due to a dislocated shoulder he suffered Mar. 28. Also, Alec Burks (sprained left ankle) and Kevin Murphy (skin infection) missed Utah's Sunday win over the Warriors. Their availability is questionable. Injuries aside, the Thunder are completely healthy. However, they have been a team unable to pick up any steam heading in to the postseason. The Thunder suffered a setback to the Knicks Sunday afternoon, and have been shaky as of late. Their inability to rebound has increasingly become an issue, and unfortunately, they will find it difficult to crash the boards with Utah's massive post presence. On top of a stacked front court, the Thunder will have to stop a Jazz team that ranks ninth in three-point shooting percentage. The Thunder defense isn't horrible, but they could be splitting the season series with the Jazz if they are able to work the perimeter and attack the Thunder interior. Utah does not exactly match the pace of Oklahoma City, and while their defense ranks in the top five for blocks and steals per game, they give up 107.1 points per 100 possessions, putting them in the bottom ten of defensive efficiency in the NBA. The Thunder offense can not go on any dry spells, attack mode has to be the mindset of this team when they visit EnergySolutions Arena. Utah is fighting for their season, which means they will give Oklahoma City their best shot with not much basketball left to play. It should make out to be a good game, but at the end of the day, the Thunder may have a shot to show if they can win a tight game. Be sure to follow @ThunderBlogger on Twitter for updates throughout the night.
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