SALT LAKE CITY –A ledgie to the back of the rim forced a jump ball during the second quarter of Utah’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Jazz hosted the Thunder at Vivint Arena on Wednesday, April 6.
With 24.5 seconds remaining in the first half, OKC’s Melvin Frazier Jr. attempted a shot that bounced off the iron and landed on the backside of the rim next to the backboard.
The ledgie forced a ball between Isaiah Roby of the Thunder and Rudy Gobert of the Jazz.
Roby fouled Gobert on the play and the Jazz center connected on 1-2 free throws to give Utah a 71-58 halftime lead.
Thunder vs. Jazz
After a more tumultuous season than expected, the Jazz can finally breathe a sigh of relief as they host the Thunder tonight.
On Tuesday, the Jazz clinched a top-six berth in the Western Conference playoffs, securing a seven-game first-round streak and avoiding the play-off tournament.
The team’s attention can now shift to healthharmony and their favorite first-round opponent in the final five days of the regular season.
This season, Clarkson is averaging 16.2 points per game on 42.0 percent shooting.
Jazz don’t need to win over thunder
The Jazz enter the night needing no more wins to carve out a spot in the West’s top six and in a potentially advantageous position to end the regular season.
With three games remaining in the regular season, the Jazz and Denver Nuggets have an equal winning total of 47 games.
Denver needs to win one of its last two games to secure a spot in the West’s top six. The Jazz hold the tiebreaker between the two teams this season and would own the highest seed in the playoffs if the two teams finish with a tied record.
Understanding that they are almost guaranteed to face the Golden State Warriors or the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, the Jazz have a good opportunity to line up their favorite first-round game before the playoffs begin.
If the Jazz lose, they are almost guaranteed to finish in the sixth seed, against the team that finishes in the third seed. If the Jazz prefer to finish in the fifth seed, they will have to beat at least one of the Thunder, Phoenix Suns or Portland Trail Blazers before the end of the season.
Either way, the Jazz are in control of their own destiny with three games left in the regular season, and it’s a welcome development in the midst of an otherwise difficult season.
thunder does not work well
While the Jazz have no rush to win games, the Thunder should be motivated to lose.
Oklahoma City holds the league’s fourth-worst record, which puts them just outside the No. 1 tier of teams most likely to earn the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
The Thunder could return to the top tier by losing the rest of their games and being blown up by the Detroit Pistons who would pass them in the standings with two wins.
Oklahoma City hasn’t helped its lottery odds in its recent streak after winning four of its last seven contests, including three of its last five, and two in a row before facing the Jazz.
Utah’s game against Oklahoma City airs on AT&T SportsNet, NBA League Pass and The Zone Sports Network.