Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder: Keys to close out the road trip with a win

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 21: Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz and Alex Abrines #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder talk after the game on October 21, 2017 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 21: Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz and Alex Abrines #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder talk after the game on October 21, 2017 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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SALT LAKE CITY, UT – OCTOBER 21: Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz and Alex Abrines #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder talk after the game on October 21, 2017 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – OCTOBER 21: Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz and Alex Abrines #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder talk after the game on October 21, 2017 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Utah Jazz are in desperate need of a win as they close out their grueling six-game road trip with a contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Utah Jazz fought hard against the Houston Rockets for nearly the entire contest on Monday night, but were eventually outmatched as the Rockets caught fire in the fourth, outscoring Utah by a count of 41-15 in the final period. Though the loss was largely expected, after leading for a considerable portion of the game, it was disappointing to see it end the way it did.

The loss dropped Utah to 14-17 on the season and was their sixth loss in their last seven games. We all knew that the month of December was going to be rough for the Jazz and their recent downward spiral has clearly evidenced that. Fortunately, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel for them on their grueling six-game road trip, as the final game of the stint will be played on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been a Jekyll and Hyde team this season, to say the least. They without a doubt boast the talent to be one of the best teams in the league, but between poor shooting, a bad bench and worse chemistry, they’ve very much underachieved thus far. They currently sit at 15-15 after a narrow win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, but largely 2017-18 has been a disappointment for them up to this point.

However, they have won three of their last four and seem to be slowly but surely improving. Not to mention, the last time they faced off against the Jazz, OKC used a lock-down fourth quarter defensively to erase a significant deficit and come from behind to earn the win. It was a discouraging loss that would be the first of four straight defeats for the Jazz.

Therefore, if the Jazz are to turn around both their recent woes and the disappointing performance they had previously against the Thunder, they’ll need to play much better in their upcoming contest, and excelling in these three key areas will be vital to doing just that.