After going on a five-game winning streak, the Utah Jazz fell to both the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers this week. Nevertheless, they remain atop the Western Conference standings and are one of the favorites to reach the Conference Finals after dominating all year with the NBA’s best record.
At the other end of the spectrum are the OKC Thunder, who are not only in a full-scale rebuild but have also struggled with injuries. They have been on a downward spiral ever since Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was sidelined and will be looking towards developing their young talent over the summer for the 2021-22 season.
Utah Jazz vs OKC Thunder Injury Report
There was recently another update on Donovan Mitchell’s return. The Utah Jazz guard has missed the team’s last 14 fixtures and will not feature in their remaining regular-season matchups.
His backcourt partner, Mike Conley, has also been sidelined with a hamstring injury, missing the last nine games, and is currently listed as day-to-day.
The Utah Jazz are unlikely to rush Conley back as they seek to have their top stars in peak condition for the playoffs. Even without the two guards, their no.1 seeding has remained unscathed, with a record of 6-3 during that period.
In just 35 games before his foot injury, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was averaging 23.7 points and 5.9 assists, making sure the OKC Thunder stayed relevant in the standings. He will remain sidelined for the team’s last two games, along with Mike Muscala.
Unfortunately, the OKC Thunder have also been without their other main star, Luguentz Dort, who has missed the last two fixtures due to knee tendinitis. He is currently listed as day-to-day, along with rookie Theo Maledon, who also missed their matchup with the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.
Utah Jazz vs OKC Thunder Predicted Lineups
Without Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley, the Utah Jazz will likely stick to the same starting five that was deployed in the previous nine fixtures.
In that time, Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson have been instrumental in the backcourt. The latter, who is up for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award, averaged more than 23 points off the bench and went off for a season-high 41 against the Golden State Warriors this week.
The Utah Jazz’ offense has been led by forward Bojan Bogdanovic. After being voted the NBA’s Player of the Week last week, the 32-year-old put up 27 points against the Warriors. Coming into this fixture, he is averaging 24.3 points and is shooting at a staggering 50% from the field and 40% from downtown.
Completing the Utah Jazz lineup are Georges Niang and Rudy Gobert on the frontcourt, as well as Royce O’Neale and Ingles, both of whom usually play as forwards.
OKC Thunder coach Mark Daigneault has had to shuffle his starting lineup on occasion due to their ever-changing injury report.
Akin to the Utah Jazz, the Thunder played with four natural forwards on Tuesday, with Aleksej Pokuševski and Kenrich Williams making up the backcourt.
Their frontcourt has remained the same for the last five fixtures, with Isaiah Roby, Moses Brown and Darius Bazley.
Bazley has been their go-to guy lately, averaging 17.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in the last 10 games.
Utah Jazz vs OKC Thunder Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard – Joe Ingles l Shooting Guard – Royce O’Neale l Small Forward – Bojan Bogdanovic l Power Forward – Georges Niang l Center – Rudy Gobert.
Point Guard – Kenrich Williams l Shooting Guard – Aleksej Pokuševski l Small Forward – Darius Bazley l Power Forward – Isaiah Roby l Center – Moses Brown.