NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, October 30th
(All times Eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (0-0) at Utah Jazz (0-0), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder have NBA Championship
The Utah Jazz have Andrew Wiggins aspirations.
The two worlds collide Wednesday night in Salt Lake City as both teams begin
their 2013-14 seasons.
The Thunder finished with the best record in the Western Conference last
season, but their chances at repeating as NBA Finals finalists ended when
Russell Westbrook injured his right knee during the first round of the
Problem was, swelling developed and Westbrook went back under the knife. He
will miss almost four to six weeks of the regular season, but that won't deter
Replacing Westbrook in the starting lineup will be Reggie Jackson, with Derek
Fisher as the primary backup.
It all begins and ends with Kevin Durant for Oklahoma City. He's such a strong
player and leader that he won't allow the Thunder to fall too far down the
"We've put in a lot of work and we're all just excited to start," Durant said.
"We're looking forward to our first game and trying to start this thing off
The Jazz are headed in the opposite direction.
They made the decision to go with youth in the form of Derrick Favors, who
inked a long-term extension on Monday, and Enes Kanter.
Both are high former lottery picks and both looked pretty darn good in limited
action over the years. Utah let Al Jefferson (Charlotte) and Paul Millsap
(Atlanta) walk in free agency.
Another cornerstone for the Jazz was Trey Burke, the national player of the
year at the University of Michigan last season. Unfortunately, Burke broke a
finger, had surgery and will be out four to six weeks.
Jamal Tinsley was brought in to replace Burke until he comes back. When he
does, Burke, Gordon Hayward, Kanter and Favors could form an extremely
And Favors might be the biggest piece. He was acquired in the trade for Deron
Williams and recently signed his extension.
"I bought a house," said Favors. "I'm happy to be here."
The Thunder have won eight of the last 10 against the Jazz, including four of
their last six at EnergySolutions Arena.
10/30 10:27:44 ET