It’s not often many NBA teams would embrace the second game of a back-to-back, but if you’re playing as well as the Thunder are playing, than the more games the merrier. Oklahoma City enters Friday road matchup against the Utah Jazz riding a three-game winning streak, and by the looks of how the Thunder are playing as of late there’s no reason to think that streak will be ending anytime soon.
Tonight’s Northwest Division showdown will tip off at 8, and here are a couple of things to know heading into the game:
Will Kanter shine?
Thunder center Enes Kanter is playing in his first full year with OKC after leaving Utah on less than stellar terms. Kanter took a few jabs at the Utah organization after they traded the big man at the deadline last season, but Kanter has yet to let his play do the talking.
The Thunder went to Utah on November 23, but Kanter only managed to score six points and grab five rebounds in his 21 minutes of playing time. There’s no doubt that Kanter will want to have a better performance in Utah this time around, and that may be a bit easier than it was back in November. Jazz center Rudy Gobert is likely out until January due to an MCL injury and without him defending the post with his shot blocking abilities, OKC could have a field day in the paint.
Last time OKC and Utah played, it was Kevin Durant’s first game back since suffering a hamstring strain early in the season. Durant wasted no time getting back in a groove, and scored 27 points and grabbed six rebounds while only playing 30 minutes in the game.
That wasn’t the only time Durant has shined since returning from injury. The Thunder all-star has been on a tear as of late, and recorded his first triple-double of the season last night against the Hawks with a state line of 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.