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: Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder arrives at the arena before the game against the Indiana Pacers on December 13, 2017 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 13: Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder arrives at the arena before the game against the Indiana Pacers on December 13, 2017 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Key #3 – Hold Steven Adams in check

Even though Russell Westbrook had a mind-blowing game against the Jazz in the two teams’ last meeting, putting up a triple-double of 34 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists, in reality he wasn’t the one that ultimately doomed the Jazz. That title instead belongs to Steven Adams.

Adams was terrific on the night as he put up 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting while adding nine boards, six of which were offensive. Utah couldn’t seem to box him out and simply had no answer for OKC’s underrated big man.

Without Rudy Gobert in the mix, Adams is going to be hard for the Jazz to stop once again. He’s having a terrific season so far with career highs in points (13.7), field goal percentage (63.5), free throw percentage (64.9) and rebounds 8.8, so he even though he isn’t viewed by most as being as daunting of a player as any of OKC’s supposed Big 3, he’s certainly a force to be reckoned with that can’t be overlooked.

If Utah is once again without Derrick Favors, then the task of stopping him will largely fall on the shoulders of Ekpe Udoh. While Udoh is having a terrific season in many ways, it’ll be a tall order for him to prove that he can keep pace with a monster like Adams. Considering how well Adams played last time against the Jazz, having Favors active and productive may very well be the difference in the game.