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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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 13: Russell Westbrook #0 and Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder watch the action against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 13, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 13: Russell Westbrook #0 and Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder watch the action against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 13, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Key #1 – Win the battle on the boards

Although the Utah Jazz dominated for much of the most recent contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder up until the final period, one area where they struggled immensely was in rebounding. The Thunder thoroughly outmatched Utah on the boards, pulling down 46 compared to Utah’s 35. Despite the fact that Utah led for much of the way, this discrepancy in rebounding ended up being costly once Utah had blown their lead.

And the two guys that hurt the Jazz the most on the boards were Mr. Triple Double, Russell Westbrook himself who had 12, and Steven Adams who had nine. What hurt most about Adams’ boards was that six of them came on the offensive end where Utah simply didn’t have an answer for him.

The rebounding result that the Jazz saw last time they visited OKC has been pretty standard for them this season. The Jazz are just 26th in the league in rebounding at 40.7 per game, 24th in rebound percentage at 48.7 and 24th in the league in rebound differential at -2.2.

Meanwhile, the Thunder aren’t exactly an elite rebounding team themselves, but they’re pretty solid, especially compared to the Jazz. They rank 11th in rebounds per game at 44.2, ninth in rebound percentage at 51.3 and ninth in rebound differential at 2.2.

Therefore, while it will be far from an easy task to flip the script and out-rebound Oklahoma City, it will very much be a necessity nonetheless if Utah hopes to reverse their recent fate and come away with a much-needed win.