NBA Basketball
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95
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Oklahoma City 12 34 28 21 95
Utah 23 26 19 32 100
100
6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 PM CT0:00 , October 23, 2019
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah  Attendance: 18,306

Jazz, Thunder open season with new looks

According to STATS
According to STATS

Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz

  1. Oklahoma City swept the season series against Utah last season, including a 148-147 double-overtime thriller. Over the last 10 seasons, the Jazz have a .229 win percentage (8-27) against the Thunder, their worst against any team.
  2. The Jazz were 20th in scoring at last season's All-Star break at 109.2 points per game but had the fourth-best mark after the break at 117.5. That 8.3-point improvement was the third best in the league last season (Memphis, +10.5; Atlanta +9.3).
  3. The Thunder were second in the NBA with 15.5 second-chance points per game last season. The Jazz were the best in the league in preventing offensive rebounds, holding opponents to just 8.9 per game.
  4. The Jazz were 10-14 last season when Donovan Mitchell attempted 23 or more shots, and he shot 41.8 percent from the field in those games. Utah was 39-13 when Mitchell took 22 or fewer shots (min. 25 minutes played), and he shot 44.4 percent.
  5. Danilo Gallinari, acquired from the Clippers this offseason, averaged a career-high 19.8 points per game last season while shooting 43.3 percent on 3-pointers. Over his career he is shooting just 37.8 percent from the field in 27 games in October, his lowest rate of any month.
  6. New Jazz guard Mike Conley has a .109 turnover rate over the last five seasons, the fourth-best mark among NBA point guards (min. 250 games). Last season, the Thunder forced a league-high 16.7 turnovers per game.

Wednesday's season opener in Salt Lake City between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder will feature a pair of teams with revamped rosters trending in different directions.

The Jazz bolstered its lineup by adding veterans Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jeff Green to a talented core.

Utah coach Quin Snyder said the team wouldn't look like a finished product for a while.

"You have architectural plans, you have soil samples and you do all the things you do to prepare to build," Snyder told reporters. "Then once you start the actual building process, you have to access the raw materials, (but) they may be in short supply ... there is weather and so many different things.

"We have great plans (and) as far as implementing and evolving as a team, that analogy is a pretty good one because we're not going to become who we are overnight. That's the nature of building."

The Thunder went a different direction.

The season opener will mark the first game since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City 11 years ago without Russell Westbrook on the roster.

The Thunder's overhaul included not only trading Westbrook to Houston for Chris Paul, but also shipping Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers and Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets.

Paul has spent the last two seasons on a championship-contending team in Houston. Now, he's a part of a group that figures to be fighting to make the playoffs in a best-case scenario.

"I'm excited about our team," Paul said. "We're going to go out to win every single night. ... I'm excited about what we have."

After back-to-back fifth-place finishes in the Western Conference to begin his career, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is ready to go with the reworked roster that looks better built for a deep playoff run.

"It's great to get the season going," Mitchell told reporters. "We have things we obviously need to work on that stood out (in the preseason) but it's here and I'm excited."

Jazz guard Dante Exum has been dealing with a nagging knee injury that will keep him out of the season opener.

Oklahoma City's Andre Roberson will miss the game. He hasn't appeared in a game since January 2018, when he suffered a ruptured patellar tendon.

Roberson participated in practice recently but there's no timetable for his return to action.

The game also is Oklahoma City's first trip to Utah since last March, when Westbrook was involved in a high-profile altercation with a Jazz fan, who was subsequently banned from the arena for life.

In part in reaction to that incident, the league issued an updated code of conduct for fans that forbids a wide range of abusive or degrading language.

"I think the league has probably heard from the players in certain situations," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "It's unfortunate that it happened, but it does happen. It just seems like the league is trying to take a stand on making sure that the environment is safe for these guys to play in and people can enjoy the game."

--Field Level Media

Updated October 22, 2019

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